Centre for Women’s Development and ResearchEducation to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls Update- August 2014Last three months is an important period for us and India, a new BJP party government was formed, after a long time a single with majority had come, people voted for change and stability. We have to wait and see how it is going to affect poor people. In Tamilnadu the ruling party AIADMK had won 37 seats out of 39 seats. It is also summer holidays, examinations results for adolescent girls, all these happenings kept us busy during the last 3 months. All the girls who are part of ‘Snehidhi’ adolescent girls association have passed their examinations, particularly those appeared for their 10th standard and 12th standard board examinations. Ms.Neeharika Tummala, a representative from GlobalGiving visited the villages where we work on 4th July 2014. It was encouraging for us. Ms.Neha GlobalGiving visits our villageComputer skill training and life skill training for adolescent girls: During this period we got 4 computers from CTS-Cognizant Technology Solutions and that helped us to continue our computer skill training, earlier because most of the computers were out of order we could not provide computer skill training. During this period 32 girls were given computer skill training, out of that 6 girls were also completed the online retails management course provided by Brisscc. We are also happy that all the girls have passed their examinations and continuing their education, no drop outs. Parents particularly mothers were very happy about that, this year 5 girls have applied for colleges, that is far away from their villages. We have been also continuing our life skill and sexuality education follow up weekend trainings. 120 girls and 30 boys participated in these programmes. Since it is holidays for the adolescents we have organized 10 days community development programmes and 10 days street plays and folk arts programme. 48 girls benefitted from this programme. We have also organized 2 days bio-farming methods for adolescent girls and 24 girls participated in this programme. Adolescent girls meetingEducation and income generation programme for women: We are regularly organizing village level meetings and training for women. In the rural area the kitchen garden programme become popular and women are actively involved in that. Nearly 500 families have kitchen gardens in our working villages. Now we are discussing the possibilities of increasing the area and yield so that they can sell their produce to earn some income. For that we are also discussing about forming a Producers company with women as shareholders. In collaboration with Madras Christian College, Bio-technology department we have organized 2 days vermin-composte making training and 80 women participated in that programme. Out of that 20 women were given help to set up the vermin-compost units, once the compost is produced they can sell it in the market, actually Madras Christian College is willing to buy back. We are also continuing our dress making training for women 20 women benefitted from this programme. Our handmade soap unit is also picking up, we could able to sell the soaps to the villagers, even though we are making any profit, marketing it in the local market gives us hope to increase the production and market it. 5 women will benefit from this programme. Ms.Sareswathidevi in her kitchen gardenSareswathidevi is a single woman, Widow. She is 48 years old, she is from Karnataka state and married and came to her husband’s home in Othiyur village, Tamilnadu. Her husband died in an accident, 8 years ago. She has 2 daughters and 2 sons. After the death of her husband she was sent out of her husband’s home and her husband’s brother took all the family property. Her elder son had completed his higher secondary school and going for some odd jobs, the youngest son is studying in 9th standard. Her elder daughter is studying 1st year B.B.A, her younger daughter is studying in 11th standard, both of them ‘Snehidhi’ members and also received some financial support like Rs.1000 per year for their studies. Sareswathidevi is an active member of our local level single women’s group ‘Maithri’. She borrowed Rs.2000 to buy some hens, after attending the kitchen garden training she also created a kitchen garden. She could able to provide good education to her children
Centre for Women’s Development and Research Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls Update- May 2014Last 3 months is an important period for us and the people. For adolescent girls it is annual examination time, for people it is parliamentary elections time. All these kept us very busy during the last 3 months. We have also received support from Cognizant Discover to buy 4 new computers for our computer skill training. So we could able to give computer skill trainings for adolescent girls during this summer holidays. Computer skill Training for adolescent gilrsLife skill and sexuality education for adolescents: Since it was examination time most of the time was spent on providing supplementary education for adolescent girls, particularly 10th and 12th standard students. We have also started using the computers and DVDs to educate them particularly for Mathematics and Science subjects. It is really encouraging for us because one of the problem we always face in rural areas is not getting the resource people to conduct these classes and DVDs were of great support for girls. 54 adolescent girls benefitted from this programme. We also have been continuing our life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls and boys. These programmes are organized during weekends. Nearly 140 girls and 45 boys participated in these progrmmes. We have also organized Lifeskill and sexuality education classes in 2 schools and nearly 300 girls and boys benefitted from this programme. In addition to that we have also organized 2 days training on Kitchen garden raising for adolescent girls. 48 adolescent girls participated in this programme. Many of them also crated kitchen gardens in their homes or helped their mothers in maintaining the kitchen gardens. Some of the girls who are aged 18 years are going to vote for the first time, so we have oriented a one day programme on Voting elections and parliament system 60 girls participated in this programme. As a trail In collaboration with BRISC international, a Canada based online training organization we have provided Retail salesmanship online training for 5 girls and they successfully completed it and certificates were distributed to them. In Future we want to expand this programme to other girls and boys. Kitchen garden training Girls with online course CertificatesEducation and income generation programme for women: During this period the focus of meetings and trainings were the parliament elections that was held during 24th April 2014. From the discussions and meetings the women’s group had collected all the demands of them and it was printed as a booklet and was given to the party candidates when they visited the villages for vote canvassing. Women told the candidates that if they vote only if they promise to fulfill their demands. Some of the demands were: - To support women’s reservation bill in the parliament - To create detailed action-plan to implement laws to end violence against women, and allocate enough funds for its implementation.- To provide reservations for single women in all women’s development schemes.- To create policies for the development of single women. - To ensure dignified, remunerative employment for women, pay equal pay for equal work, provide crèches, toilet, and drinking water facilities.- To provide free quality education for all children upto the age of 18 years.It was rich learning experience for the women and for us. Vermi-composte making training In addition to that we have also organize 2 oneday training programme on Bio-kitchen gardening, they also learned vermin-compost making and bee keeping. 62 women participated in those programmes. We are also continuing our tailoring and dress making trainings, 24 women participated in these trainings.
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
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.
Update- August 2013
During this period that is from May 2013 to August 2013 the emphasis was on providing career guidance for ‘Snehdihi’ members because the high school public examination results were out and it was admission time. Rainy season also started during this time so we also become active in our kitchen garden extension programme. We also raised some local money by selling vegetables from our model farm and by selling handmade soaps to local people. We have also continued our work with boys and men particularly to discuss about the elimination of violence against women.
Life skill and sexuality education for adolescents: We are continuing our life skill and sexuality education for girls. During this period we have given lot of importance of life skill and sexuality education for adolescent boys and 90 boys and young men participated in the 3 trainings organized both in rural and urban areas.
Boys training in the city
It was an eye opener for us, even in city educated boys have the most traditional perspective on women. Most of them said rape is actually invited by women because of their dress and behavior. Everyone is protective about the from their homes that is their sisters, mother but not realized that all the women are sisters and mothers of someone like them. It was decided to initiate a boys organization ‘Nanaban’(Friend) to address these issues. As mentioned earlier lot of time was spent on career guidance and college admissions for those who passed their high school and higher secondary school examinations. . From our working area 180 girls passed their high school that is 10th standard public examinations and 87 girls passed their higher secondary public examination that is 12th standard. In the rural areas the problem is after 10th standard they have to go to a different place mostly nearby towns to continue their higher secondary class, these higher secondary classes are coeducational; so most of the parents hesitate to send their girl children for higher secondary course. For higher secondary class passed girls the problem is there is no college in the area the nearest college is 40 kilometers away. It was opened only two years back, so there is no hostel facility in the they also offer only two B.A courses. The problem is if girls stop their education at 16 or 18 years, their parents will immediately think about their marriage. To address this issue we have launched a new programme G2G-Girls to Graduates, that is helping high schools girls to complete their education upto graduate level, that is up to their 21 years of age. We have been discussing about this with the girls, parents, and school teachers, we are also in the process of raising funds for this purpose. We are also thinking of providing support for girls who wants to take of distance education programme to complete their undergraduate courses. During this period 300 girls and 90 boys benefitted from our life skill, sexuality education and career guidance programmes.
One of the major problems we faced is all our 8 computers in the rural centre become obsolete and not working, all are more than 6 years old, because of that we could not continue our computer skill programme in the rural area and looking for ways of buying new computers. We bought 2 new computers and managing with that.
Education and income generation programme for women: Our field workers are regularly organizing village level meetings and training for women. In the rural area the kitchen garden extension programme become popular and women are actively involved in that. Since the rainy season has started in our area, we have distributed seeds to women. Nearly 400 women received vegetable seeds. We have also organized trainings on kitchen garden, water management, waste management(manure making) for women, 380 women participated in these trainings. In our model farm by selling vegetables and soaps we raised Rs. 5000, even though it is a small amount it is raised from local women and we are happy about that. This also motivate the local women grow more vegetables so that they can also sell the extra vegetables. We are also in the process of creating a Producers company to market the produces like vegetables, fruits, coconut etc. We discussing and educating women about the producers company, because they have to pay money and become share holders of the company. We are also discussing it with our auditors and other people who are running the producers company to develop our own bye laws for the producers company. All these programmes were attended by more than 500 women, we are planning to motivate these 500 women as initial share holders of the producers company.
Woman showing the Pumpkin in her kitchen garden
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