Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent girls
One of the major changes happened in the fishing communities after Tsunami is women could able to come out and talk, even though it is a small change it is big beginning for women’s empowerment. Men realize the important role played by women after Tsunami in running the families and also in rebuilding the communities, but there is resistance to include women in the traditional Panchayath (village councils). After nearly three years most of the rehabilitation works are over not many International donors or government official are visiting, now it is the right time to talk about gender disparities in the community. Recently Government of India Ministry of Environment had announced a proposed new CZM-Coastal Zone Management plan, already the fishing community is opposing this saying that would affect the traditional fishing and deny their livelihood sources. So now it is become more important to find sustainable alternative income sources for the fishing community particularly for the women.
Herewith we enclose the update document about our programmes and with pictures!
Renuka received her undergraduate degree from Ghandi Grameen University and got married soon after. By 1993, Renuka was one of three women activists in Chennai working with women in city slums and the surrounding coastal areas. Only 2% of organizations in India were run by women at the time and Human Rights organizations were very rare.
CWDR – the program that Renuka established in Chennai – works directly with women through four main programs: Training and loans, Human rights and gender issues, Income generation, and Computer training.
This project – 250 tsunami affected women and adolescent girls – was created just after the 2004 tsunami. When natural disaster strikes families living in precarious conditions find recovery very difficult. In small fishing villages in India, families survive on as little as 50 rupees per day (roughly $1.05). After the tsunami devastated many coastal regions of India, women in these fishing communities who were already struggling were forced to provide for their families with no income at all. Initially, CWDR tried to collect and distribute food, clothes and medicine to the affected villages. GlobalGiving funds were used to purchase school materials for children, thereby establishing credibility in the area.
When six months had passed and the village men were still not bringing home and income, the women of these villages became income earners of their own. CWDR’s goal is to equip these women with revenue earning skills so that they can feed their families and gain independence from their unreliable husbands. Specific skills include palm frond weaving, shoe making, soap making, silk screening, tailoring and fishing net weaving.
CWDR helped create seven self-help groups with 10 members each in Chennai. There are 20-25 women in each of the 13 groups in tsunami-affected areas and the six groups in other coastal villages. GlobalGiving provided these women with loans to build their own craft shops.
It is really astonishing to see Tsunami affected villages returning to normal life within a period of two years, particularly comparing to the devastation. Fishing is going on as usual of course there are complaints that now the catch is reduced. The major change happened in the process of rehabilitation work is women from fishing community got visibility and importance in their community. They have been consulted by NGOs and Government, they were meeting often to discuss about their issues and development of the community. Women themselves have proven that they have an important role in disaster management and rebuilding families. We are happy that we are part of this process of rebuilding with your support. Still there is a long way to achieve women’s equality in the fishing community, but definitely the process is initiated. On behalf of the women and our organization our sincere Thanks to Globalgiving for helping us in our attempt to rebuild the lives of fishing community and in the process empowering women. In India in the Vedic teachings there is a saying in Sanskrit “Vasudhaiv Ktumbikam” that means the world is one family. In this conflict ridden world only during Tsunami rehabilitation work through the help we received from different corners of the world we felt that the world is one family. We thank each and every individual who supported us through Globalgiving.