Beena Sebastian is the founder and president of the Cultural Academy for Peace (CAP), a NGO committed to the advocacy of women's and children's issues. Among her most creative efforts are gender sensitivity training for police and lawyers and instituting an annual award for public officials who have done the most to prevent violence against women. These efforts have helped break the silence surrounding sexual violence in Kerala. She has also set up a shelter for abused women, providing them with both protection and a friend to accompany them to the police and the courts.
Beena Sebastian (born 1959) has been working toward the empowerment of the poor and marginalized formally and informally since she was a child. It was in the 1990s, though, that she began working in an organized manner toward the issue that most deeply concerns her, the welfare of disempowered women. In the early 1990s, she began classes in life skills for slum women and girls, many of them immigrants from Tamil Nadu, who came to Kerala seeking work. As part of this effort, she also began a successful income generation project, teaching women the nontraditional skill of making motorcycle batteries. Beena founded an NGO, the Cultural Academy for Peace (CAP), which runs a shelter for abused women and their children, provides legal counseling and accompanies women to the police and court. Beena's approach to her work is creative and sensitive. Her gender sensitivity training for police and lawyers, aimed at improving legal services and police protection for women, is a case in point. Another of her major successes has been bringing into the open the issue of sexual violence-an issue that no one was willing to speak about in Kerala. Even parents would hide evidence of their daughters' trauma in order to protect their daughters' "reputation". Beena has instituted an annual public award for public officials who have done the most to prevent violence against women, which has helped break the silence surrounding sexual violence, and led to improved services for rape and domestic-abuse survivors.
Cultural Academy for Peace (CAP) International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFR)