Centre for Women’s Development and Research- CWDR
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent girls
Update May - December 2008
This is an important period for us in our attempt educate and empower women and adolescent girls from Tsunami affected area. We could able to achieve our objectives in spite of the hardships like getting enough funding support to continue our work. During this period there was a shifting of focus from rehabilitation work to more of gender issues, women’s development, girl children’s education. In general we are happy about our achievements. 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. We are really happy that we have also contributed in that rebuilding process. Women themselves have proven that they have an important role in disaster management and rebuilding families and communities. During this period 150 women, out of that 100 are single women(widows and destitute women), and 200 adolescent girls benefitted from our activities.
Income generation programme for women: We have organized income generation programmes for women. We have organized trainings in mushroom growing, nursery raising, food processing and entrepreneurship skills. 150 women participated in these trainings, out of which 100 single were given seed money loans to start their own business or to strengthen their present business like selling fish, food items, vegetable. In addition to that we have also organized leadership skill trainings in all our 12 fishing villages, 160 women participated in these trainings. We have also organized health camps and health education of programmes for women in 12 villages.
Lifeskill, sexuality and vocation skill trainings for adolescent
One of the neglected group in Tsunami rehabilitation work is adolescent girls, Not many NGOs and other international agencies were focusing on adolescent girls, so our contribution was unique and helpful for the girls. Through our weekend workshops we could able to reach out to nearly 200 adolescent girls. Now they openly discuss about sexuality and reproductive health in our meetings, among themselves and with their others. But of course the marriage below 21 years is common and another major issue is the dowry system in the fishing community. These decisions are made by their parents and may we have to educate the parents, in the coming years.
We have been providing vocational skill training for adolescent girls, Computer skill training and tailoring is given ongoing in our Paniyur and Thiruvanmiyur centres. In addition to that we have also organized short term vocational skill trainings in paper and jute product making, embroidery, fancy jewel making, palm leaf product making. In addition to they were given information about different short term skill trainings organized by other organizations, information about Open University courses. They were also taken for exposure visits to learn about different vocations. Nearly 200 girls benefitted from these programmes. All most all the girls who attended these programmes continue their education without discontinuing. Actually it is through vocational skill training we get girls for our lifeskill and sexuality education. During this period we have also organized trainings in folk dance, music and street plays. A group of girls were trained in street play and they were involved in 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women from 25th November to 10th December. They performed street plays, distributed hand bills, organized signature campaigns to educate the public about the importance of eliminating violence against women.
Constraints and future plan:
Apart from funding problems to implement our programmes we also face acute power shortage to run the computer training centre because of the power cut announced by the government. Officially there is a power cut of two hours in the city and 4 hours in the villages. So it is become very difficult to run the computer training centre. According to government announcements the situation will change only during 2010. So we are planning to install solar power system to run the computer training centre at Paniyur village, we need Rs.150,000 (US $ 3333) to run 2 computers, a printer, two fans and two lights. We request the support of friends, well wishers, philanthropists, those who are concerned about girl children’s education, environment to support us in this regard. In the coming months we are also planning to work with the men and boys to educate them about he gender issues and how they can help in creating gender just society.
Women’s Rights are Human Rights
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