The Constitutional Values in Praxis Programme
Launched in January 2023 by Yakshi in collaboration with the Youth Collective from Sangareddy District, the “Constitutional Values in Praxis Programme” is a three-year initiative tailored to empower young women aged 19 to 35 belonging to Dalit, Muslim, and OBC communities across 17 villages in Sangareddy and Medak districts, Telangana. These women, known as ‘group constitutional fellows’, are expected to become agents of change for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Over the past year, this initiative has organised a series of capacity and perspective-building workshops to equip our fellows with leadership skills and perspectives based on the values of the Constitution of India. These workshops encouraged the fellows to understand their roles in their families, villages, and society and as conscientious citizens within the framework of the Indian Constitution. The workshops also guided the fellows to question the nature of oppressive structures like caste and patriarchy while addressing critical issues like access to resources, education, and exploitation of their labour.
Over the next two years, our fellows will participate in many more capacity-building and peer-learning workshops with the objective of turning them into community leaders. As with every Yakshi programme, our approach to this perspective-building and continuous learning program is grounded in the pedagogy of Popular education.
This pedagogy involves building fellows’ perspectives and skills to facilitate an investigation process of their oppressions and to develop critical analysis towards new realisations and collective actions for transformation with and within their communities. The process is a continuous praxis of reflection and action. It forms the core of our approach for conscientisation towards transformation, wherein the values of the constitution (fraternity, liberty, equality) are practised and are the basis of realising ‘Buen vivir’- or living well where humans live in harmony with one another as also with nature.
Furthermore, recognising the importance of family support and childcare challenges, the program has included the spouses of the fellows in an orientation workshop. The idea is to sensitise the spouses about the challenges these women face while attending the program and the constitutional values it aims to uphold. We have plans to continue conducting more such workshops. Moreover, a creche is maintained during every workshop to ensure that women with young children can participate without hindrance, providing them the freedom to engage in this popular education programme.
Lastly, the program includes five ‘individual fellows’ from Art, Dance, Literature (poetry/writing), Film, and Law. Besides, these individual fellows are expected to collaborate with the community fellows to create cultural spaces within the communities.
This comprehensive approach has set the stage for a transformative journey for these women and their communities.