CENTRE FOR WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update – July 2011
April to June is an important period for us because it is the summer holidays for school going children. During this period we can organize trainings for school going girl children. This year our focus was on community development programmes for adolescent girls. The idea is to motivate girls to involve in their community level issues and also motivate them to volunteer for our field level activities. Today’s girls are tomorrows women’ so we also believe that any change we bring in among girl children would reflect in their womanhood. Most of these girls are first generation school goers and they are open for new ideas and changes. We have also improved our hand made soap making unit and soon we will be launching it for commercial sales among villagers and in the city.
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: We have been continuing our life skill and sexuality education workshops during weekends and holidays for adolescent girls and boys. During this period 80 girls attended these workshops. We could not organize any workshops for boys. Actually this year we have planned for combined community development training for boys and girls but we could not do it. Still there is some reservation among parents about conducting combined programmes for adolescent girls and boys.
This year during summer holidays that is during May we have organized a 15 days community development programme for adolescent girls. 30 girls participated in this programme. The programme is organized in Chennai and Paniyur Centre 15 girls from Paniyur area and 15 from Chennai city. During these training they learned about themselves, women’s issues, community development activities, leadership skills, songs, dance and acting. The rural area girls, that is from Paniyur area the girls have visited Pondicherry aurovillae and also our organization in Chennai city. The city girls visited Panaiyur rural area for an exposure. In addition to that 25 girls who have completed their 12th Standard Education from the city area were sent for computer and spoken English classes. Out of that we found placements for 6 girls, in BPO centers and now they are earning Rs.5000-6000 per month. Finding employment for rural girl is still a challenge for us. We are thinking of initiating some rural BPOs and looking for help, particularly volunteers who can help us in setting up this unit. In Thiruvanmiyur area we have also initiated an outdoor sports activity net ball for girls. Nowadays girls completely miss sports activities both in schools and community. Parents never allow girls to play games; if at all there is free time girls are expected to help their mothers in household work. In collaboration with another organization we have introduced net ball game to girls. 20-25 girls are attending this during weekends.
With the help of two volunteers Ms.Kimberlin, student from Columbia University and Elizabeth we have organized evening spoken English classes in our Chennai office 20-25 girls participated in this programme.
Education and Income Generation programme for Women:
Regular meetings and trainings were organized at the village level for women’s groups. We have organized 8-weekend leadership skill training for women nearly 140 women participated in these programmes. We have also organized an EDP- Entrepreneurship Development programme for Single women, 25 women participated in this programme. Since we are planning to sell soaps commercially most of the time was spent on that. Ms.Kimberly Rogovin, a volunteer conducted a study on marketing soap and designed labels and packing for the soaps. The handmade soap ‘Maithri’ will be sold in the local market area and Chennai city. This would create employment for 5 women in initial stage. The local level single women’s groups are continuing their credit and savings programme and during this period 22 women given loans to strengthen their business activities like selling fish, vegetables, fruits, making thatch roof, making flower garlands.
In general it was a busy and fruitful period for us. The only thing is we could not generate enough employment opportunities for educated girls in rural areas. We are looking for ways of doing it, like opening a rural BPO or initiating a community college.
Volunteer Ms.Elizabeth with girls in spoken English Class
Update – April 2011
We have been continuing our regular activities to educate women and adolescent girls. Our work with women is strengthened, apart from increasing their income and self esteem now they are raising their voices against violence against women and other gender discrimination in the family and community. Our work with adolescent girls and boys are also continued. Most of the girls who attend our programme wants to continue their education and also wants to marry only after 21 years of age. All these things are motivating us to continue our work. Recently the government had announced their plan to set up a coal based power plant in this area, this would again take up lands so most of the local people are opposing this power plant proposal. Our target women and adolescent girls are also participated in the protest activities. One more thing happened during this time two volunteers from Belgium Mr.Sylwyan a magician and Mr.Paul a clown stayed with us for a month. They went around schools and villages performing for the children.
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: We have been organizing regular life skill and sexuality education workshops during weekends and holiday for adolescent girls and boys. During this period 90 girls and 30 boys attended these workshops. After attending the programme, all the girls understand the reproductive health and their rights . Their confidence level also increased, they now ask their doubts and also discuss issues openly. They also participate in the decision making process in their families, and community particularly matter related to their career and marriage. In addition to that girls also learned computer skills, dress making and folk arts like dancing, singing and using musical instruments. Since high school examinations are nearing we have also organize supplementary education classes particularly in English and Maths for high school students. 150 girls benefitted from these programme. During this period two volunteers from Belgium Mr.Sylwyan a magician and Mr.Paul a clown stayed with us for a month. They went around schools and villages performing for the children. Children really enjoyed these programmes. The best part is the programmes are conducted in English and children could able to understand and communicate with the magician and clown. One of the things nowadays children miss is the recreational activities, because most of the parents want their children study all the time. After seeing this now we have introduced some outdoor games like net ball, throw ball particularly for girls.
We have been continuing our training and meeting with women’s groups. We have organized 10 leadership skill training programmes during this period and nearly 180 women were participated . Now women particularly women from fishing villages play an active role community level activities. They also understand and discuss about gender issues. As usual one of the major issues discussed is about livelihood issues. During this term we provide loan to 72 women worth of Rs.1, 20,000. We also provide EDP training for 25 women. We organized two training programme for mushroom cultivation and mushroom seed-making. We also provide soap making training to rural women. We also arranged the exposure visit to mushroom farm in Kanathur. 20 women were participated. We are educating the women to initiate a cooperative unit like coir making; palm leaves products. It would take some time for them to work as a collective. During February a group of 15 women visited Industree organization Bangalore to learn about the income generation programmes. I t was a rich learning experience for them. They visited garment making unit, leather goods making unit, bags making unit, jewelry making unit. They also visited ‘Mother Earth’ shop which sells the eco-friendly products made by Industree and other organizations. UN Millennium Development Goals Review Summit says ‘Women and girls are the answer to global development’ we also strongly believe in that and continue our work with them.
Future Plan: As mentioned earlier We have to build new building to expand out computer skill trainings in Panaiyur village. We are also thinking of initiating a rural BPO centre to provide employment for girls trained in our computer training centre. We are looking for help to build this centre also looking for volunteers to help us to initiate a rural BPO.
Trainings for Adolescent girls
Soap Making training for women
Exposure visit to garment making unit
Clown and Magician volunteers performing for children
Women’s Rights are Human Rights
Let’s Together Make it a Reality
Update – December 2010
We have been continuing our education and income generation programme for women and life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls. During this period the focus was on making handmade soaps and 16 days activism from 25th November that is International day to eliminate violence against women to 10th December that is International Human Rights Day. These 16 days were spent on campaigning activities to eliminate violence against women. Adolescent girls and women were preparing themselves by developing scripts for street plays, training themselves in street play techniques and also preparing campaigning materials.
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: We have been regularly organizing weekend lifeskill and sexuality education workshops for girls and also for boys. During this period nearly 125 girls and 24 boys benefitted from these programmes. During this period we had planned to conduct combined workshops for boys and girls but we did not organize combined workshops, because of some objections from parents particularly parents of adolescent girls. From our experience we have learned it would take some more time the community people are also not supporting this. We have also organized lifeskill and sexuality education workshops in schools in our working area. Nearly 250 high school students benefited from this programme.
In addition to that we are also providing computer skill training for adolescent girls. 40 girls were trained in basic computer skills. During this period we have also received 8 refurbished computers from Infosys company. This would help us to train more girls.
Art, Music, Dance and Drama workshops for girls: During this period we have also organized workshops on drawing and painting. In addition to that to prepare for the 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women we have organized music, dance and drama workshop for 25 girls. After the training these girls and our staff members performed street plays in different places to educate the public about the importance of eliminating violence against women. During 16 days they have performed in 30 places and more than 10,000 people watched these plays and exhibitions and also participated in the discussions.
We have also organized soap making, embroidery and jewels making training for adolescent girls. 35 girls benefitted from these programmes.
We have been organizing regular leadership skill training for local level women’s organizations. We have also organized hand made soap making training and Tailoring training for women. More than 80 women benefitted from these trainings. As part of soap making and using it we have also organized health education programmes for local level women’s group members. In all these programmes single women were given preferences. In our 12 fishing villages we have initiated 12 single women’s SHGs_Self Help Groups. There are more than 250 single women members in these groups. They were given entrepreneur skill training and loans to start their own small business activities. 50 women were given loans during this period.
Future Plan: We have to build new building to expand out computer skill trainings in Panaiyur village. We are also thinking of initiating a rural BPO centre to provide employment for girls trained in our computer training centre. We are looking for help to build this centre also looking for volunteers to help us to initiate a rural BPO.