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
Update- May 2013
We have been continuing our activities with women and adolescent girls that are Education and empowerment of women and lifeskill and sexuality education for adolescent girls. This period is examination and holidays for adolescent girl so concentration was more on adolescent girls. During this period Ms. Katharina and Ms.Daniela of Comtour Germany visited our project area to explore the possibilities of community based ecotourism. We hope that will open new possibilities for the community and our organization.
Lifeskill and sexuality education for adolescent girls: We have been continuing the life skill and sexuality education, actually it is integrated in all our activities with adolescent girls. Because of severe power cut and infra structure repairs(old computers, building) we could not continue our computer skill activities in full scale. The government is also not distributed free laptops to higher secondary school students in our working area. We have been organizing weekend trainings on life skill and sexuality education. 145 girls participated in these trainings. We have also organised life skill and sexuality education for boys. Nearly 80 boys participated in these trainings. We have also conducted lifeskill and sexuality education and environment education in 3 schools in our working area, that helped more than 400 students both boys and girls.
Folk Arts Training for Adolescent Girls
The increasing incidents of violence against women in India made us think seriously about our work with boys. Snihidhi members both in the city and villages discussed the issue of rape in Delhi on 16th December and participated in several protests, they also discussed the issue of the brutal acid attack and death of Vinodhini from Tamilnadu. The recent rape incident of a 5 year girl in Delhi also made the adolescent girls discuss about this issue. Discussion with our staff, girls, women and boys also helped us to relook into this matter and we have decided in the coming years we would intensify and give equal importance to our work with boys. We strongly feel that without the involvement of men and boys it is difficult to reduce or eliminate violence against women. In the coming years we will increase the number of boys we are working and also focus on boys in the schools, at lease organise one fathers meeting of Adolescent girls. Since it was examination time, we have organized supplementary education classes particularly for 10th and 12th standard girls. Passing these examinations are very important for these girls. If they fail; parents will automatically think about the marriage of the girls. Many of these girls now want to have a career and want to marry only after 21 years of age. That is a very positive thing and we are happy about our work. After the examinations from 1st My onwards we have organized 10 days community development programme for adolescent girls. 30 girls participated in that programme. The idea is motivate these girls to participate in their own development, this would also help to sustain the development activities initiated by us. That would help us to have a set of volunteers to help us in our activities. This would also open them a new career option of community development worker. If they are interested they can also go for higher studies in Social Work.
Training for Women
Education and income generation programme for women: We have been facilitating regular village level meetings and trainings. Nearly 300 women participated in these trainings. The recent rape incidents in Delhi and Acid attacks on women in Tamilnadu is also discussed in the meetings, because it is become popular because of the Media and even rural women want to do something about it. We have also conducted trainings in Kitchen garden and nursery rising, 120 women participated in these trainings. After seeing the success of the kitchen garden programme now we are thinking of initiating a Producers company with women as share holders. This would help them increase their yield and earnings. Our farm coordinator attended three days training programme on backyard poultry conducted by Tamilnadu Veterinary and Animal Science University extension centre Kancheepuram. In the coming months we are planning to introduce backyard poultry, goat and cow rearing trainings. We have kept a bee box in our centre and also educating about apiculture for those women who visit our centre. We have been contacting several organizations in this regard and will introduce in the coming year.
Ms.Kathrina and Ms.Daniela in a Kitchen garden
Another important thing happed is Ms.Katharina and Ms.Daniela visited the village to explore the possibilities of community based ecotourism. They visited villages and has discussions with the women to find out the possibilities. Actually the area is beautiful with lot of greenery and Bay of Bengal on the East side. The national highway ECR-East Coast Road was developed to develop this area as tourist area. They also visited the Alambarai and Kadapakkam our target villages and visited the Alambarai fort a historical place and the point where Buckingham canal joins with the bay of Bengal. If everything goes well soon we may start the community based ecotourism in these villages this would help the villagers earn some income from tourism related activities. Tourist will also learn about the villages.
During this period we have organized the second phase of RBM-Result Management Training and filed visits in rural area. Both our rural and urban area project staff attended this 3 days training programme.
Update- February 2013
We started the year 2012 with ‘Thane’ cyclone, which damaged our buildings and trees in our training centre, we also faced another cyclone ‘Nilam’ during October 2012. We needed additional money to repair the roofs of our buildings because we have never expected that our building roofs will be affected by cyclones. There was funding crunch and it’s become difficult for NGOs to raise funds. There were additional restrictions on NGOs by the government. There was also staff turnover. So 2012 is a tough year for us. But towards the end when we look back we are happy about our decision of introducing kitchen gardens in our working area. Seeing the seeds grow and provide fruits and vegetables gives lot of hope and motivation for us and the people. We could also able to build roofs for 50% of the building. We also provided scholarships for 50 adolescent girls with local funds.
Scholarship distribution (photo)
Life skill and sexuality Education for Adolescent girls: The important happenings during the last three months (November-January) are the 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women during 25th November to December 10th 2012. It started on 25 November is the International day for the Elimination of Violence Against women and concluded on 10th December, The International Human Rights Day. 20 girls were trained in street plays, folk dance and songs. During the training they developed plays related to violence against women and sexual abuse of girl children, these plays were performed in 20 villages and nearly 8000 people seen the plays and participated in the discussion about women’s rights after the play. We are also continuing weekend workshops on life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls. 128 girls participated in these workshops. During this period the village level adolescent girl group ‘Snehidhi’ members prepared their village plans and it is reviewed for further improvement. On 29th December we have distributed Rs,1000 as motivation scholarship for 50 girls of single women. In the coming years we want to help 1000 adolescent girls from high school to complete their university degrees. We have developed a project G2G-Girls to Graduates; the idea is to help girls in 9th standard for six years to complete their university degree. Even now all most all the girls are first generation learners they are the first generation entering schools. Since there is 14 hours power cut we could not provide computer skill training, so we started giving kitchen garden training for adolescent girls. We use laptops to provide computer skills training to save power. We do not have enough laptops. We are expecting the government to distribute free laptops to class 11 and 12 students, as they promised during the elections.
16 days activism to eliminate violence against women (photo
Education and income generation programme for women: We are really happy about our decision of introducing kitchen garden in our working area. We have distributed seeds and seedlings to 500 women and most of them are yielding vegetables and fruits now. Our field workers are most welcomed in the villages now, our field workers are also happy to see the tangible results of their work. We have created a model kitchen garden in our ‘Maithri’ training centre, trainings on organic farming and kitchen garden is organised continuously. 240 women were trained during this period and also given seeds and seedlings. They have also learned about solid waste and water management related to kitchen garden. We hope that within one year these women can grow additional vegetables and fruits to market and earn some money. We are also planning to introduce backyard poultry, goat, cow and buffalo raising.
Kitchen garden training(photo)
During this period the staff members also participated in the second phase of RBM-Result based Management at Chennai during 21-26 January 2013. We are happy about achievement during last year and also for the last 3 months. In the coming months we are planning to complete the roofing work and also develop the G2G-Girls to Graduates project further and finalize it by discussing with the girls and parents.
Update- November 2012
We have been continuing our life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls and education for women’s groups. Since our training centre ‘Maithri’ repair was not over most of the trainings and meetings were organized in the villages itself. Our kitchen garden programme finally got off, 500 women have received seeds and seedlings and created kitchen garden in their homes. During this period ‘Snehidhi’ adolescent girls association members and staff team visited Chennai city, they also participated in the Eliminating Violence against Women campaign in Chennai city.
Life skill and sexuality Education for Adolescent girls: We have been continuing our weekend life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls. 140 girls participated in these programmes. We are trying to involve adolescent girls in their and their village development. As part of this we have been organizing village level trainings for adolescent girls. The focus of the training is preparing village level development plans. After the training they are expected to prepare their village development plans. Our computer skill training is affected by 14 hours power cut in Tamilnadu, because of that not many girls are coming for the computer skill training. We have solar system but that hardly supports 2 computer for an hour. We are looking for ways of solving this problem. The girls who were trained in ‘Thappattam’ (Folk dance) visited Chennai during October month and they performed Thappattam in 3 slums as part of educating women’s rights for public. The girls and staff team also performed street plays on eliminating violence against women. They also had discussions with their counter parts ‘Snehidhi’ members from our City area.
Education and income generation programme for women: We have been organizing regular leadership skill training for local level women’s organizations. During this period our village level meetings for women served as training programme on ‘Kitchen Gardens’. More than 500 women participated in the village meetings in 23 villages. We have also distributed seeds and seedlings during these meetings/trainings. There is a good response for kitchen gardens from women, may be because they already have the knowledge and skills for growing plants. We have also selected 3-5 women from each villages as resource persons they will be trained as trainers in promoting kitchen gardens in their villages. Already 20 these women visited the nearby farm training centre to learn about nursery raising and kitchen garden.
We could not complete the the repair work of “Maithri” training centre because of the financial reasons. We could able to complete 50 percent of the work. That is our tailoring training hall and small meeting hall still has damaged thatch roof. During this period we have added a bio-gas plant in this centre. Our farm extension coordinator also prepared ‘Panchagavya’ it is concoction prepared by mixing five products of cow – dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee and it fermented using yeast. This is a potent organic pesticide and growth promoter. As part of promoting organic farming methods particularly in kitchen gardens we promote, we have educated women about the ‘Panchagavya’ and also distributed them. Organic farming and kitchen garden is a new area for us and local women, so we are learning a lot from this experience. During this period the staff team also participated in a 5 days training on RBM-Result Based Management at Chennai.
Snehidhi members performing Thappattam in a Chennai slum
Street play on Eliminating Violence Against women
Women’s meeting in the Centre
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