Centre for Women’s Development and Research
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update- August 2012
Most of the last three months was spent on repairing the damaged roof at Paniyur village. This also affected our regular vocational trainings for adolescent girls and trainings for women. During this period mostly we organized follow up meetings and trainings at the village level. Since it was the beginning of academic period most of the adolescent girls were busy in their new academic year, so we did not organize many trainings for them.
New Roof in Maithri Resource centre at Paniyur village
Maithri Resource centre at Paniyur village: Most of our trainings are organized in this centre and the roofs were damaged during the Thane cyclone during December 2011. We have been ;using centre as it is till June 2012 one of the reasons is we did not have enough funds to repair it. But after some rains it damaged further. So with little funds we have started the roof repair work and completed 60-70% of the work. Still we have to complete some portion. We have removed the Thatch and grass roof and put “Madras” roof, this is traditional roofing system done with brick and cement. Actually now no one goes for it, mostly they go for RCC roofing. We did Madras roof because it saves money and also reduces the use of cement and steel. Now the centre is ready and we are continuing our training programmes there. We have also raised a nursery of 500 drumstick tree(Murungai keerai in Tamil) seedlings to distribute to women. Drumstick is a small tree and people use its seeds and leaves as vegetable that is rich in Vitamin A and C and calcium. With the removed thatch we have built a small shade for our vermin-compost pit. Still we need Rs.300,000 (US $ 6000) to complete the work and looking for donations.
Adolescent girls performing ‘Thappattam” (Folk dance)
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: During this period we have organised follow up trainings of lifeskill, sexuality and vocational skill trainings for adolescent girls. During the last months we have organized 10 weekend workshops, and nearly 125 adolescent girls in these workshops. Since it is the period of summer holidays and beginning of academic year, future and career guidance was given lot of importance. During this period we also organized one week training in folk dance and music. 20 girls participated in this training. After the training the girls performed in different villages and also in Paniyur centre. We have also provided orientation on collecting village data and preparing village level development plan. One of the encouraging development is all most all the girl children in our working area are attending school. Now most of them even want to go for college education.
Education and income generation programme for women:
We have organised village level meetings and leadership trainings for women in 23 villages and more than 500 women participated in these meetings. We have also distributed seedlings for their kitchen garden. In most of the meetings Kitchen garden and its advantages were discussed. Since women already have the skill and knowledge in agriculture the idea of kitchen garden easily understood and adopted by them. One of the important development is the women from our working area suggested to campaign for ‘Equal Wages for Equal Work”. So the women’s group members and our staff members are educating the public about the gender disparities in labour and wages and demanding for equal wages. This campaign we are planning to expand it to other areas and also network with other state level networks.
Murungai Keerai (Drumstick Tree) Seedlings
Update – May 2012
After 7 years of work in this area, when we reviewed our programme one of the significant tangible results we found was the trees we planted in this area. We were also reading and analyzing the UNICEF’s report on Malnutrition in India, which says one in every malnourished children of the world lives in India, 50% of childhood deaths are because of malnourishment. 90% of the adolescent girls are Anemic. So like reinventing the wheel we have decided to introduce kitchen gardens that would help them to earn an income and also to solve the malnourishment.
Computer skill Training for girls
Life skill and Sexuality and vocational skill Training for adolescent girls: We are continuing our Lifeskill, sexuality and vocational skill training for adolescent girls. Since most of the girls in our working area had already attended these programmes we have changed the modules during this period. We wanted the adolescent girls to participate in their own and community developments. We have organized 5 days leadership training for 20 girls from different villages. After the training along with our staff members they visited the villages and collected data about the village particularly about women and girl children. These data were later analyzed to understand the village situation. In addition to that we have also organized weekend trainings in folk arts, street plays. We are also continuing our computer skill training. 85 girls benefitted from these programmes.
Planting seedlings in Kitchen garden
Education and income generation programme for women : Our staff members organized regular monthly meetings of women and single women. During this period they along with a team of adolescent girls visited a nearby farm to learn about nursery raising, vermin-composte making, cattle rearing. We have distributed vegetable ( chillies, brinjal, ladies fingur, drum stick) and fruit seedlings (papaya) to 100 families. We have also organized trainings on backyard poultry. 40 women participated in this programme.
Roof repair work after Thane cyclone
‘Maithri’ resource centre: We have initiated works of model kitchen garden, vermi compost making in the centre. We have also started the repair works of the roof damaged during the Thane cyclone during 29-30th December 2011.
Staff team: We have organized 5 days training for staff members to orient them in our new perspectives and activities like introducing kitchen garden, backyard poultry, cattle rearing. Tackling malnourishment among children particularly girl children.
Update – February 2012
The important event during this period is the ‘Thane’ cyclone that hit Tamilnadu and Pondicherry on 30th December 2011. 33 people dies and thousands if people lost their homes and livelihood sources like trees and crops. Our working area is not affected much only the nearby Pondicherry and Cuddalore district was affected. But our building in Panaiyur centre was damaged further, in our last report we mentioned about the condition of the roofs that is made of grass (Vizhal in Tamil), branches of the two jack fruit trees in the campus was also broken by the cyclone. All this affected our computer skill training programmes for adolescent girls and entrepreneurship skill women, these trainings are conducted in the campus. Otherwise we have been continuing our activities as usual. We have been continuing our life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls and education programmes for women.
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: We have been continuing our life skill, sexuality and vocational skill trainings for adolescent girls. During the last 4 months we have organized 12 weekend workshops, and nearly 65 adolescent girls and 18 boys participated in these workshops. During this period we have also distributed scholarships for 30 girls who are daughters of single women. One of the encouraging aspect of single women are all most all them wants to provide a good education for their children particularly girl children.
Mr.Bala from Singapore distributes the scholarship
We have selected 30 girls from class 8th to 11th and distributed Rs.1000 each as an incentive, to encourage them to continue their education. Most of the girls drop out when they reach puberty that is usually when they reach 8th standard, or drop out when they fail in their 10th standard board examination. Actually in the coming years we are planning to initiate project g2g-Girls to Graduates and make 1000 girls from 10th standard complete their university degree. In the city area we are continuing our netball programme. It is really encouraging for us, to see girls playing, so we have decided to extend it to our rural area also. We are also continuing our sexuality education programme in schools during this period we have organised in 3 schools and more than 200 girls benefited from this programme. Our computer skill training helped 45 girls during this period. The new state government had promised free laptops for students studying in 12th standard in government schools. This would help the girls who are trained in our centres.
Life skill Sexuality education programme in Chennai city
Since most of the girls in rural area have already attended our lifeskill and sexuality education we have made some changes in the follow up training. To motivate adolescent girls in their village development we have organised training programmes on making village development plans. Initially we have trained 25 girls from Paniyur area. In that 3 days trainings they learned the planning skills, they also developed a questionnaire to take survey in the villages. They are in the process of making village profiles. The idea is to create village development plans particularly to improve the health and education of children.
During this period we have also organised one week training on street plays, songs and dance. The trained girls were involved in the 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women. The campaign was organised from 25th November, the international day against violence against women and ended on 10th December the International Human Rights day. The girls performed street plays, distributed documents to educate public about the importance of eliminating violence against women. In 16 days they organised the programme in 32 places and more than 10,000 people participated in these events.
Education and Income Generation programme for Women: During this period we have organised 3 days training on plastic and palm leaf bag and mat making training. 20 women participated in that training. We are also continuing our entrepreneurship skill training for women. 18 single women participated in that programme. During this period we have appointed a horticulturist to introduce kitchen garden, backyard poultry, livestock rearing, to the women to increase their income. This would also help them to improve their nutrition. We are also organizing regular village level meetings for women. Nearly 150 women participated in these meetings.
Palm leaf product making training
As mentioned in our previous report and in the present report we need at least US$ 8000 to replace the roofs of our present training centre. The center also accommodates staff and volunteers. In future we will focus on farm based activities to improve the income of women. This would also help to improve the environment.