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.
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