Know All about Warrior Moms—the Firebrand Activists of India’s Climate Movement – Railway Children India

Know All about Warrior Moms—the Firebrand Activists of India’s Climate Movement

Photo – Indian Express 

Currently present in nine Indian states, Warrior Moms is a rapidly burgeoning collective of mothers, who are at the forefront of protecting the basic human right of breathing clean air. This breed of new-age moms strives to safeguard the health of children and spread awareness about our everyday choices that contribute to abysmal Air Quality Index.

Let’s get to know more about this inspiring collective and the extent of their groundbreaking work.

Enough is Enough—a War Cry for Change

September 7 is marked as the International Day for Clean Air. In the year 2020, on this day, a tight-knit group of mothers realized they had had enough of unclean air evidently threatening the wellbeing of their little ones. One of the core members of the group, Anuja Bali Karthikeyan, recalls feeling horrified and helpless at the incessant wheezing attacks of her eight-month-old son. She blamed herself for being a bad mother, but a change of cities from the polluted Gurugram to the tropical Chennai was what it took for the bigger picture to hit home. She came across a pre-existing group of aware and active mothers who had initiated pertinent conversations about debilitating air quality. She joined the then-nascent group, which would go on to redefine climate activism in the country.

The Founding Members

Started in 2020 by five mothers, the extended network of Warrior Moms spans multiple states and districts, comprising hundreds of women. This diverse group has blossomed into a collective fighting for their children’s right to breathe clean air by engaging with sectors of urban mobility, waste management, biomass burning, and biodiversity protection. Their mission, is to ensure the implementation of World Health Organization (WHO) air quality standards across India, while empowering mothers in the nation.

Samita, an MBA who leads campaigns in Punjab.
Nina, a documentary filmmaker, teacher and Chennai’s front-running Warrior Mom.
Sherebanu aka Sherry, an avid environment lover based in Gurugram.
Anuja, a passionate educator, sustainability practitioner and the founder of Itti’s Skill School for Climate Action.
Midhili, a Bengaluru-based proponent of sustainability and Warrior Moms’ project manager and content creator.
Bhavreen, a copywriter by profession, an environmentalist by passion, and leader of many of the collective’s campaigns in Delhi.
Manorama, a passionate activist promoting sustainable, self-reliant living in Lohardaga, Jharkhand
Gargi, Outreach Lead Manager for Bengal Clean Air Network and the co-founder of ACTS & Kolkata Clean Air
Leena, Director of the Nagpur-based Center for Sustainable Development
Rama, an ASHA worker active in spreading awareness about air pollution and the harmful effects of firewood stoves

Trailblazing Campaigns


As a part of this important campaign, Warrior Moms highlight the ill effects of using chulhas and burning biomass to cook and heat food. Presently, 75% of people in India use chulhas set up in small, poorly ventilated homes. In these homes, women and children are particularly exposed to the smoke emanating from continuously from the chulhas. They are in turn exposed to the severe adverse health effects such as incidences of still births, miscarriages, blindness, and lung diseases. Warrior Moms interacted with women from many places in the country and continue to push for subsidized gas cylinders for these families.


In Delhi, a city infamous for its “Very Poor AQI”, and in Chennai, Warrior Moms initiated an important campaign urging citizens to celebrate Diwali without bursting crackers, for smoke-free celebrations. Despite court rulings setting definitive time limits for bursting crackers, many cities across India saw blatant disregard for rules and their fellow citizens’ health. This urged Warrior Moms to launch another campaign called Know Your Rights, which prompted individuals to lodge a complaint if they spot violations and laws being flouted.

Mingling with the Community

Warrior Moms have repeatedly collaborated with Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Self-Help Groups (SHGs). Rama, a core member of the collective and, an ASHA herself, has spoken extensively about the plight of underprivileged migrant families not having enough resources to use an LPG cylinder. To tackle this deep-rooted issue at a bigger scale, the collective collaborated with Centre for Sustainable Development (CFSD) and conducted a survey to identify patterns of usage of cooking fuels and the associated health impacts on women and children. The survey findings were covered extensively in media, urging the policy changes at the grassroots.

The Ultimate Goal—Healthy Future for Children

“We worry about youngsters who will have to struggle to breathe a few years from now. We can see the signs, and they are extremely scary.” These words of co-founder Bhavreen sum up the motivation of Warrior Moms. The urgent need to address and act upon the debilitating climate crisis drives the collectives. Each of these mothers began seeing signs of unclean air affecting their children’s health. For some it began with runny noses all year, for some others it was incessant wheezing; these chronic health effects in the lives of their children drove the Warrior Moms to demand clean air and a sustainable environment.
With their tribe of empowered and aware mothers growing, the collective aims to enable more and more mothers from rural and urban India to join the bandwagon, engage with stakeholders and demand accountability from policy makers.
Warrior Moms have not only left a mark in the country with their trailblazing campaigns, but have also gone on to voice their vision and mission at COP 26, last year.

In the past year, climate change and its overarching effect on children have been in the spotlight. The actions and efforts of Warrior Moms not only further dialogue and discourse but also lead by example in taking the mantle.


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