If drops of water makes an ocean and an idea changes the world, then compassion changes humanity. The formation of Recognize, Rise and Empower Association (RRAE Association) is one such account of a shared compassion for the greater good.
Our founder Theimipei Raleng felt her first calling towards the women survivors of war/conflict zone in 2014 when she was working on an interview with war widows in Nagaland for her research work. The stories and the ground-reality of her respondents made her realise and sympathize the precarious living conditions of women in conflict zones. Building reasons and formulating ideas over time, it was in April 2017 that she finally formulated a strategy to start an organisation related to women and conflict. There was just one missing piece, she wanted a founding partner who should share her ideas and the passion and compassion. It was during this lookout for passionate committed people that she felt the nudge to present her proposal to Mathanmi Hungyo, a virtual friend at that time.
Mathanmi Hungyo (founder) is equally driven. He has spent a considerable time in Kashmir and worked closely with the families of victims of enforced disappearances in Kashmir through an organization called Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). Additionally, Mathanmi has also worked with Half Widows in Kashmir. Apart from the atrocities from the state/central forces, he also witnessed prejudice, despair and the emotional struggle, and that had left him with a zeal to do something about it. So, when Theimipei approached him with the proposal to start the RRAE Association, it was like reading his own mind.
From Virtual to Real world, our two founders finally met over a cup of coffee (for the first time), to discuss how viable it was and then plan it out further. The initial meeting led to many more such meetings until they finally came to an agreement with organisation structures, goals and action plan.
RRAE Association finally came to being in June 2017, bound by the passion and commitment to bring a positive impact in the lives of women in conflict zones.
Why RRAE Association and Why Women Survivors of War/Conflict Zone?
When we talk about women survivors, we need to consider how these women face atrocities in different forms of violence and injustice, not just from the state/central force but also from the society. These women, they face all forms of sexual violence under such situations. Additionally, they are brutally stigmatized and ostracized on instances of rape, sexual harassment, molestation and forced pregnancy prevail. Owing to this, women subjected to these treatment either succumb to their injury or take their own life; few survives but shun themselves within the four walls of their home; and only a handful live and speak out in the open as survivors.
It was this main concern that was central to the discussions of Mathanmi and Theimipei that eventually led to the formation of RRAE Association to be based in Manipur .
RRAE Association was therefore founded with an aim to recognize women survivors of war as part of the larger society. It is our belief that, in doing so, it will also forge and encourage them to rise up through the process of victimization to empowered survivors. RRAE Association intend to empower them through sustainable development training skills (market and occupational skills) and other areas of work as well.
The journey of RRAE Association has just begun and it is still a continuous process of commitment and deliberation to work better each day in lines of our vision, mission and goals.