CENTRE FOR WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update – September 2010
During this period we were able to build good rapport with people in our new working area and continued our activities in all the 30 villages. One of girls Anamika who attended our computer centre and was given some help in her 10th standard class scored 472/500 in 10th standard board examinations the highest in her school, she scored above 90% in all subjects, She scored 98% in Mathematics and 98% in social studies. Her mother is a widow and that is why we have helped her, we are very happy about her achievement. Another thing is with the help of Ms.Ingyborg, a volunteer from Netherlands, we have completed a building for soap making and also installed oil extraction unit for soap making. We have appointed a staff member to look after the soap making unit. People are slowly coming out of Tsunami rehabilitation dependency, but of course there are issues like less catching in the sea, there are no drainage facilities in the new housing colonies, livelihood issues because of less fish catch. In non fishing villages again livelihood issue is a major issue because the traditional agriculture work is changing because most of the lands are sold out and very few people are involved in agriculture. Men as usual are migrating to cities mostly to work in construction industry, women and children are left in the villages to fend for themselves.
Anamika in Paniyur Centre
Soap making unit in Paniyur Centre
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops:
We are continuing life skill and sexuality education among boys and girls. Nearly 700 girls and 150 boys benefitted from these programmes. We are also continuing our computer skill training and tailoring trainings. We have also organized handicrafts training like toys making, jewelry making, palm leaf products. We have also organized weekend arts classes in Paniyur centre. Nearly 200 girls benefitted from these programmes. During this nearly 90% of the girls who attended our programmes passed their 10th and 12th standard board examinations. We have organized career guidance programme for them.
We have also organized dance, drama and music classes during weekends. Nearly 120 girls benefitted from these programmes. As usual these trained girls participated in the 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women. Finding employment for educated girls is still a programme in our rural area, there are no colleges nearby. So parents usually think about marriages for the girls after 12th standard. We have to find some ways to help them to continue their education or find some employment. We are thinking of initiating a community college, where girls can learn some skills and also earn a degree.
During this period a volunteer from Ms.Janna Vogl, a sociology student from University of Potsdam stayed with us for 4 months and she organized Participatory video training for adolescent girls in Neelangarai and Paniyur centre.
Ms.Janna Vogl conducting Video Workshop
A group of 15 adolescent girls also visited DHAN foundation’s community Radio centre at Nagapattinam.
Life skill and sexuality education workshop
Community Development Training
This year during summer holidays that is during May/June we have organized a 15 days community development programme for adolescent girls. Actually this year we have planned for a combined training for boys and girls but we could not do it. 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. The second week of the programme is organized in Chennai for both the groups together. These girls visited different NGOs and other vocational training institutes. During these training they learned about themselves, women’s issues, community development activities and leadership skills.
Education and Income Generation programme for Women:
We have been organizing regular trainings and meetings for women’s groups. We have organized 20 leadership training programmes for women and 510 women participated in these trainings. That also includes single women. One of the important issue discussed is improving their income. Since we are providing loans and entrepreneurship skill training only to single women, they also want these kinds of activities. We have been exploring the possibilities of creating employment activities for them. Women also participated advocacy and campaign activities in pressuring the government not to implement the elevated express way along the Chennai beach area because that would affect their livelihood sources.
Our focus is more on single women and we are continuing our entrepreneurship skill trainings and regular meetings in the villages. We have organized trainings on jewels making, coir making, soap making, Cleaning solution making and Food process (Masala Powder making). 120 single women participated in these trainings. Single women who received loans during first year started repaying the loans, but because of the delay in repaying these loans during this period no new loans were given.
As mentioned in our previous update we are looking for help in strengthening our income generation activities for women, we need volunteers, money and also suggestions to strengthen our income generation activities, we request your support in this regard, if you are interested in helping us please contact us.
CENTRE FOR WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update – May 2010
This is an important period for us, we have extended our activities to 24 villages of Edaikazhinadu Panchayath, that is 18 new villages and 6 fishing villages where we have been implementing Tsunami rehabilitation activities. In the city area we have been continuing our activities in the same 6 fishing villages. In the fishing villages women know that we are continuing our work there beyond Tsunami rehabilitation work so there is good relationship with the women in these villages. This is just not an extension of working area the focus is also switched over from Tsunami rehabilitation to women’s development. It is during our Tsunami rehabilitation work we have realized the issues of single women and in our new working area the focus is more on the issues of single women. In all our activities like trainings and income generation activities single women are given preference. We are also continuing our life skill and sexuality education among adolescent girls.
Education and Income Generation programme for Women: Our initial task was to explain our work to the women and villagers of new villages because they were expecting us to implement activities like Tsunami rehabilitation work. Initially our staff members organized village level meetings and also conducted village surveys using PRA-Participatory Rural Appraisal methods. But Edaikazhinadu Panchayath is an unique area because here the houses are scattered and not crowed or houses arranged in lanes. So gathering people is slightly difficult so our field workers walked long distances to meet people to explain our work and also to get information from them. We already had sent you the details of Edaikazhinadu area. One of the advantages in this area is because the houses are scattered each house has few trees like coconut, jack fruit, mango, neem etc.
We have organized weekend leadership training programmes for women We have organized 10 such trainings and each training is attended by 20-25 omen. The impact of these trainings are tangible now, in the fishing villages women are given importance in community matters, they started telling their opinions, they also go to government offices, bank and other places. Earlier women were not allowed to go for any meetings, women also tell that they have to look after husband and children, but now they are attending the meetings. So now the family members have to make small adjustments like may be they have serve their food, clean the vessels, bring children from schools, bring water. Even though these are small changes, women are getting their own time and space to discuss about their issues. They also make decisions about their children’s education and marriage. We have also organized men’s meeting in these villages and issues like violence against women, girls children’s education, marriage age and dowry systems were discussed. Still there is some resistance among men but still they understand that they are the problem and solution for women’s issues, most of them are now willing to educate their girl children. Changes in dowry system and marriage age will take time.
We have been continuing our income generation programme for women. During this period we have organized entrepreneurship skill training and also training in different income generation activities like food processing, palm leaf product making, nursery raising, handicrafts and jewellary making. Nearly 160 women participated in these trainings and out of which 140 are single women (widows and destitute women). All these women were also given loans through their SHG-Self help groups to initiate their own business or to strengthen their business activities.
A single women beneficiary selling fruits
Life skill and Sexuality Education for Adolescent girls: We have organized regular weekend workshops, these workshops are organized during Saturdays and Sundays. Nearly 300 girls and 50 boys participated in these programmes. After this programme the girls are motivated to initiate ‘Snehidhi’ an association for adolescent girls in their villages. Working with boys is a new experience for us, it is also encouraging. Actually we have planned some combined workshop for girls and boys but after organizing two workshops we realized we are not ready for it, the adolescents are also not ready for it. We also conducted sexuality education in 8 schools – 3 in Chennai and 5 Edaikazhinadu panchayat
Adolescent girls learning folk dance
We are providing computer skill training and dress making training in our Paniyur and Neelangarai centres. In addition to that trainings on handicrafts like basket making, jewels making were also organized. We found out that these kinds of short term trainings also helps the school going children, that gives a discipline of mind, helps to bring out their creative skills and that helps in their studies. Career guidance meetings are also organized where they learned the options available for them after 10th and 12th standard like the short term training courses like home nursing, beautician, computer hardware service, cell phone service, sales girls, IT enabled services, apprenticeships and open university courses. But most of these things are actually helpful for the city girls for the village girls they get the information but the real opportunities of training and employment is not available in their villages.
Exposure visit to a soap making unit
Most of the adolescents expressed a need of supplementary education particularly in Mathematics, science and English. We have books guides for students above 8th standard we also have DVDs in those subjects, that they can use it and learn it. In addition to that our coordinators also help individual basis to prepare and pass their high school examinations so that they will not drop out of schools and end of in marriage. Adolescent girls also went for exposure visits, the village girls visited Pondicherry and also Chennai to get some idea about different careers. Chennai city girls also visited Industrial estate and different polytechnics.
We take this opportunity to thank all our donors, volunteers and wellwishers, who supported in our attempt to educate and empower women and adolescent girls. We are looking for help in strengthening our income generation activities for women, we need volunteers, money and also suggestions to strengthen our income generation activities, we request your support in this regard, if you are interested in helping us please contact us.
Centre for Women’s Development and Research
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update – October 2009
Nearly five years have gone after the Tsunami Disaster, in fact outside people have forgotten the Tsunami disaster. When comparing to the destruction of Tsunami disaster we wonder how people could able to rebuild their lives soon, it is all because people from around the world who supported the affected people, telling them they are concerned about them and they are not alone. It is the support from concerned people around the world gives us lot of hope and confidence to carry on our work. In the process of rehabilitation work the best thing happened is women got visibility and recognition in the fishing community, otherwise they are not consulted for anything. Now women’s groups in the villages plan an active role in the village development, most of their children particularly girl children attend schools. Now we are focusing more on women’s issues in the villages.
During 2009 we continued our income generation programme for women, and lifeskill and sexuality education for adolescent girls.
Income generation programme for Women: During this period we have provided income generation activities training in palm leaf product making, nursery raising, vermi-composte making, food processing and soap and cleaning solution making. Nearly 200 women participated in these trainings, out of which 160 are single women (Widows and destitute women). Single women’s SHG-Self help groups were formed in 12 villages and 150 women were given loans to start their own business or to strengthen their present business activities like selling fish, vegetables and fruit, cloth selling, Eatables selling. These self help groups also serves as a forum to share their experiences and feelings. We still have to provide further training to improve the quality of the products and also help them in marketing. We are looking for some volunteers with business management background to help us in this regard.
We have installed solar power system in our training centre to tackle the power cut in our state. This also serves as a model for village people to understand the environmental issues, global warming and alternative sources of power.
Life skill and sexuality education for adolescents: We are continuing our life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls, during this period we have also started working with adolescent boys. We conducted regular weekend workshops for adolescent girls nearly 250 adolesent girls and 60 boys benefitted from these programmes. In addition to that we are also conducting regular computer skill training and tailoring training. School going girls get supplementary education support. We have also organized classes in dance, music and street play.
Future plan: We are happy about our achievements, but at the same time we still have to go miles to achieve women’s equality. Another area we wish to concentrate is the income generation activities. In the present set up they earn between Rs.1000-2000 per month it is not enough. We have to expand the business activities make it an enterprise where women earn more. For that we have to improve the quality of the product we also have to expand he scale of the business. We need more capital money and also people to initiate and strengthen these business. We are planning to start palm product making- There is lot of palm trees in this area, food processing- there is also lot of fruit trees like Mango, jack fruit and cashew nut trees and soap making. We are also planning to start a community college for adolescents to continue our vocational skill training activities.
Women’s Rights are Human Rights
Let’s Together Make it a Reality