Centre for Women’s Development and Research Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls Update- February 2014 During the last 3 month the year 2013 ended and 2014 began, lot of things have happened during that period. This project ‘Education to empower Women and Adolescent girls was submitted during 2007, the idea was to educate and empower 300 women and 200 girls. We have exceeded this target; we have helped 500 women and 500 adolescent girls. But still we could not raise the full money we have expected, this had created some constraints in implementing our ideas, like we could not buy computers to continue our computer skill education. Now we could able buy 2 computers with local contribution. Initially we have tried several income generation programmes to help women, finally now we have settled for kitchen gardens. More than 500 have started kitchen gardens in their homes. The community and we are happy to see these tangible results. 15 girls are now going to college, even though it is a small number in the rural area girls mostly do not complete their high school and married early, 15 girls going to college is a big achievement for us. Now we are aiming to help 500 girls to go for university education. That would help them to extend their marriage age. Life skill and sexuality education for adolescents: During this period in addition to our week end life skill and sexuality workshops we also organized a 7 days street theatre and folk art workshop for girls. 25 girls participated in these workshops. After the workshop they performed street plays to educate the people about the importance of girl children’s education, elimination of violence against women and girls. We have also organized 2 days leadership training for rural and city girls, 40 girls participated in this programme. Since the parliament election is nearing and most of the girls aged 18 years of age are going to vote for the first time in this elections, the discussions were also on women in politics, Indian parliament system, women’ rights were also discussed in this workshop. During this period we also have organized life skill and sexuality education workshops in the 2 schools in our working area, nearly 80 girls and 50 boys participated in this workshop. Adolescents were also actively participating in our kitchen garden programmes. 82 girls with their mothers created kitchen gardens in their homes. In 23 villages the local level ‘Snehidhi’ adolescent girls members took up the local issues like demanding public toilets, street lights and drinking water facility, met the local panchayath(village council) member and gave memorandums. Priya is one of the very few girls going to college from our work area, she is one of our ‘Snehidhi’ adolescent girls association member and attended the life skill snd sexuality education programme. In her family all are illiterates. After higher secondary class all the family members wanted her to marry and settled down. Our staff members and other ‘Snehidhi’ members met her family members and convinced them to allow her to continue her education. She wants to become a teacher, she is travelling 120 kilometers up and down each day the college bus to attend her college at Chengalpu, Vidya Sagar arts and science college. She is doing her second year B.A English Literature D.Priya Education and income generation programme for women: Since kitchen garden programme is become popular among women we are focusing on it. Women just taken the kitchen garden programme easily may be because they already have the skills, they do not have to go out of home, more than that the programme itself is suggested by them. In 23 villages 500 families that is women have created kitchen gardens with our help. They have already harvested the vegetables and fruits grown in the kitchen gardens. They consumed most of the vegetables and fruits and they are really happy about that. They are confident that they can improve the kitchen gardens further so that they can increase the yield and sell the vegetables and fruits to earn some money. Our Village level ‘Snehidhi’ adolescent girls association is playing an active role in implementing this programme. They motivate their mothers and the community to raise kitchen gardens. They help their mothers in raising kitchen garden. We have distributed seeds and seedlings of Brinjal, chilies, Tomato, ladies finger, drum stick, local variety beans, some herbal plants, papaya, custard apple, mango seedlings. In addition to that women were trained in organic methods of kitchen garden raising, vermicompost making, health education like nutritional values of different vegetables and fruits. During this period 160 women were trained bio-farming methods and backyard poultry, these one day trainings were organized in our centre and after that the follow up trainings were conducted in the villages. Mrs. Manibals is a member of our local level women’s organization in Nainarkuppam village, it is fishing village and affected during 2004 Tsunami. She is widow, she has boy studying in 12th standard class. She attended our income generation programmes and also received a small loan. Mrs.Manibala with her cows With that loan she could able to buy a cow, now she has 3 cows and earns Rs.3000-5000 per month. She has also created a kitchen garden. She is yet to get some income from the kitchen garden, but she is happy to get vegetables from her kitchen garden. She is also happy to give the extra vegetables to the relatives and guests who visit her home.
Centre for Women’s Development and Research Life Skill and Sexuality Education for 1000 Girls (14480) Update- February 2014 Based on the learning from our past experience of providing life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls we have made some changes for this new project, that comes under ‘Close the Divide’ Microsoft YouthSpeak. Earlier our focus was just to provide life skill and sexuality education to adolescent girls that are not given in the schools. Now we have also added supplementary education support along with life skill and sexuality education, because we wish to help these girls to become university graduates. This would help them to extend their marriage age, and also help them find good jobs with good salaries. If a girl fails in the high school usually parents think about her marriage, so the supplementary education would also help them to pass the high school examinations. In addition to that we are also providing sexuality education for adolescent boys, we believe that would help to change their attitude towards girls and help to reduce the violence against girls and women. India has the largest youth population, one third of the India’s total population of 1.237 billion are below 18 years. The future of India depends of this population, so this project is very important for us. We are providing life skill and sexuality education in our two recreational learning centres one in the village and the another one in the city centre. Regular weekend workshops were conducted in these centre. In addition to that in the city centre girls also come every day between 4 and 6 p.m to learn computer skills and spoken English. In the last 4 months 200 girls benefitted from these programmes. In addition to that we have been organizing sexuality education classes in the schools in our working area, nearly 300 girls, 280 boys and 54 school teachers benefitted from these programmes. Our field staff are also organizing regular monthly local meetings/trainings for adolescent girls to help them continue their learnings. We have organized two one week street theater and folk arts workshops and 42 girls participated in these workshops. During the workshop they developed plays regarding the elimination of violence against girls and women. During the 16 days campaign to eliminate violence against women they performed these plays in different villages and different public places in the city. This campaign was organized from 25th November the international day for the elimination of the violence against women to 10th December International human rights day. Nearly 15,000 people witnessed these plays and also participated in the discussions after the plays. It was a great learning experiences of the adolescent girls. During this period we could also raise Rs.75,000 locally and this money was distributed among 75 girls who are in high schools as motivational scholarships, all these girls are daughters of single women (widows and destitute women). We have also introduced educational DVDs to provide supplementary education support for 10th, 11th and 12th standard girls. They use it in our computer centres. In collaboration with iwid-Initiatives Women In Development we have organized two days workshop on model Women’s Parliament. 35 Snehidhi members 20 from the villages and 15 from the city area participated in that workshop. They learned about the functioning of parliament, policy making, budget, and women in parliament. This also helped them to learn about leadership skills. This also provided an opportunity for the city and village girls come together and learn from each other. In general the last 3 months were very active and useful period for us. Because the increasing incidents of violence against women and girls and media coverage, the mothers are also supporting our programme and encouraging girls to attend the life skill and sexuality education classes.
Centre for Women’s Development and Research
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update- November 2013
Last 3 months that is from September 2013 we have been involved in local fund raising activities. We have participated in Joy of Giving, Seva Mela and Giveindia programmes. Even though we could not raise much money we could able to meet thousands of people both personally and through emails and explained the problems of women and girl children and also shared our work with them. This is the first time we are involved in such activities and it is a rich experience for us. In addition to fund raising as part of joy of giving week we have also organized a story telling session for the slum children, we also kept a wish tree in a preschool requesting toys and learning materials for the slum children. That is also a good experience for us and the children. The preparation of promotional materials for the events helped us to understand the importance of our work and educating the general public about it. We have also used emails and facebook for the fundraising that is another experience for our staff team.
Our Stall in Seva Mela Fundraising exhibition
Life skill and sexuality education for adolescents: One thing we are happy about is all the girls we are working with are continuing their education; the dropout rate is actually nil. Earlier girls used to drop out once they reach puberty that is when are in 7th or 8th standard, now they continue their education at least up to 10th standard. After that if they fail usually they discontinue their education, if they pass most of them will continue upto 12th standard. After 12th standard most of the rural girls will not continue their education, one of the reasons is that there is no college nearby. Once they leave schools at 16 or 18 years of age, parents usually start thinking about their marriage and finish it soon. We want the girls to marry after 21 years, so one of the things we wish to do is help these girls to continue their education up to degree level, that is another 3 years after 12 standard. So we have initiated a new project ‘G2G-Girls to Graduates’ and in all our local fund raising activities we promoted this project. Now in our life skill and sexuality education activities we have also included supplementary education for high school girls, so they pass their high school and higher secondary examinations and continue their education upto 21 years of age. We are continuing our weekend life skill and sexuality education and 208 girls benefitted from it. In the urban centre we could able to get an volunteer to conduct spoken English classes and 23 girls are attending this evening course.
Sexuality Education Class in School conducted by our Staff
We have also organized two sexuality education workshops in 2 schools and nearly 200 girl students benefitted from these programmes. In addition to that we have also organised 2 gender sensitization workshops for boys one in the rural area and one in urban area, 78 boys participated in these workshops. The rural boys have suggested organise some sports events/tournaments for boys so that many boys will join the ‘Nanban’ adolescent boys association. So we are planning to organize some sports events during school holidays that are December or May months.
Education and income generation programme for women: During this period Dr.Josphine from Christian College Chennai conducted 2 workshops on Bio-farming and livelihood sources for women. 78 women have participated in these workshops. They have planned to initiate vermi-composte making as a commercial activity and sell vermin-compost to earn additional income. 10 women also attended worshops on backyard poultry, kitchen garden raising organized by the Tamilnadu Agricultural University extension centre. In addition to that our staff members are conducting regular meetings in the villages. They also monitor the kitchen gardens raised by women and provide seeds, seedlings and suggestions. Since women have already harvested vegetables 2-3 times they are happy and want further help. We are also motivating them to expand the area so that they can produce more and sell the vegetables. We are also motivating them to have backyard poultry, or rear goats or cows. But these activities need more investment they are requesting us for help to build chicken houses or to buy goats and cows. We are looking for ways of getting some loans for them.
Village level Women’s Meeting
We have also organised three meetings for women to discuss about the producers company idea, 125 women participated in that meeting. We are planning visit some successful producers company to understand it further. The hand made soap making unit is also continuing their activity. During fund raising activities we could able to sell lot of our handmade soaps. It was encouraging for us and the women who are involved in making it. Because of this idea of selling soaps in exhibitions and fund raising activities we have organized one more workshop on handmade soap making and 16 women participated in that.
In general it was an important period for us, we could able to learn a lot about local fund raising, we could also able to continue our work boys. Our staff members also attended training programmes organized by other organizations.