A group of activists and organizations in Maharashtra came together in response to the call by Centre for Health and Social Justice, New Delhi to participate in father care campaign in the state to engage with men as fathers in protection of rights of children. Initial meetings held in Pune were attended by SAMYAK’s collaborative partners engaging men in Maharashtra and partners of ‘Samajdar Jodidar’ project.
The group collectively decided to be part of this process of father care campaign with dual purpose of understanding and addressing the issue of fatherhood and contribute towards strengthening the existing state network working with men. The group decided to name itself as “Bapanchi Shala”, as suggested by Anand Pawar that practically means ‘Father’s Schooling’. “Bapanchi Shala” is an idea of inviting men and other key actors in society to be part of the process of understanding social and cultural meaning of fatherhood in the context of various regions of Maharashtra and work with men as fathers to protect rights of the children. The group believes that this campaign is instrumental in helping us act together on issues of fatherhood and child rights in the state but it’s vision is wider to continue beyond the scope and time period of Father Care Campaign to address issues of masculinities, GBV and social justice.