She is vociferous on issues related to women, and does not mince words when she says that we, as a society, are not humane enough. Meet the woman behind the success stories of the Heroes Project in Andhra Pradesh.
She is the state director for the Heroes Project but she does not believe that it is just a job. To her, it is more a life’s calling — a métier she was destined for. Mondira Jaisimha makes you realise that when you talk to her. Her words against the oppression of women are powerful and her emotions for their emancipation, filled with compassion.
Talking about her foray into social work, Mondira tells us: “I have seen the involvement of my family in social work, right from my grandparents. While my maternal grandparents built a temple through which they did a lot of charity, my paternal grandparents started a school and a hospital, and worked for refugees in Bangladesh. It was but natural for me to think of involving myself in social work since my childhood.”
Mondira has been involved in the Heroes Project for the last six years. Talking about her involvement with the project, she animatedly tells us, “The last few years of my life have been soul-satisfying to say the least. When I got the call from the executive director of the project in Mumbai, I was happy doing my teaching job in Oakridge International School. I avoided taking up the job for quite some time, but it was my husband Vivek Jaisimha who urged me to give it a try. And today, I know I could never have been happier.”
On her take on women today, Mondira’s expressions speak more than words: “I believe that when it comes to women, we are not humane enough. There still are families that drive women out of houses if they are HIV+. We are not bad, but we just don’t want to know the realities of life. But at the same time, many urban women, are emancipated and privileged. However, it surprises me that a woman’s health always comes last. Family may be important, but it is time she makes herself and her health as a priority too.”
Mondira is a proud woman when it comes to her family. She believes that the support she gets from her husband Vivek, who is the coach for the Hyderabad Cricket Academy of Excellence, and her children Anirudh and Dhruv enable her to be what she is today. She tells us, “Like me, they are all very respectful to women, and it makes me happy to see that. I do strongly believe that society should not be judgmental and moralistic about people and issues that they are involved in.” Truly, charity begins at home and it is no surprise that her family upholds the values she strongly endorses.
- First Job: Interned with the Bombay Magazine in 1987
- Last book read: Not Like Most Young Girls.
- Last Movie: Tangled
- Motto: Live and let live