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History of the Organisation

Ms. D. Sharifa is the founder of the organisation. She belongs to a Muslim orthodox family. While she was 22, she had an opportunity attend the conference the third national conference of women’s movements held at Patna as a translator – from Hindi to Tamil. She had an opportunity to hear the stories of hurt, pain, humiliation, but also of resistance, courage and humor. She determined to herself to work for women who faced discrimination and violence. Soon she found some like minded men and women who want to work for the empowerment of women. Thus the group was christened ‘STEPS’ meaning literally steps for women’s empowerment. Initially STEPS did a lot of work with girl students by offering them self defense course and poster exhibition on violence against women and gender discrimination. STEPS implemented the government programmes like non-formal education with the support of the district administration. As the district Administrator – Ms. Sheela Naire, satisfied by the works of STEPS she provided land for STEPS to construct a women’s centre near Bus Stand. Hence, a short stay home for women in distress was constructed in Pudukottai and victimised women are staying in the women’s centre regularly and make use of it. Community level issues were also addressed by STEPS and justices were sought to the community from the government department. STEPS addresses the issues of women in general and provide family counseling to them and work with the police department. STEPS is generally a space for women in distress.

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