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Cuba to Strengthen the Interactions With Women’s Associations in India

by Raju Vernekar
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By Raju Vernekar
Mumbai, March 1:

Malena Rojas Medina, the new diplomat at the Cuban Embassy in India, recently paid a visit to the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), a women’s organization in Mumbai, and interacted on wide-ranging issues of gender and women’s movement in both the countries.
It was a friendly visit reflecting the long years of solidarity and fraternity between the Cuban people and progressive activists in India. Medina is in-charge of the Press and Cultural Affairs of the embassy in New Delhi.
AIDWA General Secretary Mariam Dhawale and other office bearers- S Punyavathi, Asha Sharma, Maimoona Mollah, Archana Prasad, Sarbani Sarkar, and Ranjini Basu interacted with visiting diplomat. In the meeting, the role of women in the Cuban Revolution was fondly remembered, along with sharing AIDWA’s struggles against gender violence and discrimination.
Speaking to the Imphal Times, Mariam Dhawale said that Medina gave them very interesting information about facilities made available to women in Cuba. She spoke about the institutional support that the Cuban women are provided in the form of public child-care facilities, they are given paid maternity leaves, accessible and round-the-clock public transport is made available to them and are provided a strong redressal system for cases of domestic violence.
The working women are provided a special crèche service from 7 am to 8 pm to take care of their children. The children are provided free education, food, and medicare. There is a 100 percent women’s literacy in Cuba and they are well advanced and hold important positions like doctors, lawyers and some of them are also entrepreneurs.  
Medina highlighted the exemplary role of Cuban women during the pandemic. Women have been in the frontline, including in science to develop indigenous Covid vaccines. Cuba has invented four vaccines and although the pandemic hardly affected the country, the government has ensured 100 percent Covid vaccination.
There is no unemployment in Cuba. The people are given special training to equip them to work on different projects and are absorbed in government service. Medina was surprised when asked whether any unemployment allowance is paid to the unemployed people in Cuba.
Medina expressed a desire to initiate certain measures to strengthen the interactions between Cuba and AIDWA through a series of cultural and other activities. There are plans of showcasing Cuban documentaries and films portraying women. Cuba has a huge collection of pre and post-revolution books and films, which it would like to share with India.
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro and his fellow revolutionaries against the military dictatorship of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista during 1953-1956.
Anganwadi workers
In another development, AIFAWH has began a district-wise agitation to demand settlement of demands of Anganwadi workers including a hike in remuneration, monthly pension and supply of new mobiles, etc. The agitation will be on till March 07. Besides a huge morcha will be organized at Azad Maidan in South Mumbai on March 09, to coincide with the budget session of the Maharashtra Legislature, Shubha Shamim, Vice-President, All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) said. AIFAWH is an affiliate of AIDWA.
Anganwadis are the rural child care centres in India. They were started by the Union government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition. Anganwadi means “courtyard shelter”. There are around 13 lakh Anganwadi workers across India. Of these over one lakh Anganwadi workers are in Maharashtra. However, there is a variation in the remuneration paid to these workers from state to state.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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