Shilpa's Story - aged 20 years
Once there was a survey in my community. Through that survey I have came to know about this class. I have decided to join the class and to learn the sewing skills. I left the school in 6th STD and after that did not join any course. But now I have completed the course successfully. The course has build confidence in me. I learn different types of blouse and Panjabi suits. I have started taking orders from outside and earn money from it. My brother gave me money to buy a secondhand machine. I am very happy now. After my marriage also I will keep on stitching the blouse and dresses.
I am very thankful to your project and giving me the skills and confidence to be independent.
A reminder of what this project is trying to do. More details can be found on Karuna's website:
The average time a women in South Asia will attend school is 1.8 years.
Recent research in India suggests that two thirds of women who lives in slums have anaemia and vitamin A deficiency due to poor nutrition.
India has the highest malnutrition rate in the world- it affects a quarter of the population.
The Vishrantwadi project is a health education project; it is working to reverse the current trends and improve the lack of adequate health and education provision for women. The Vishrantwadi Project was setup and is run and managed by women for the advancement of women, it was the first project setup by the Women’s Social and Dhamma project. The aim of the project is to improve the lives of women by addressing some of the most common problems such as- reducing malnutrition, promoting self-confidence, eradicating incidents of domestic violence and increasing the autonomy of women.
The project works in 10 slums in the Pune area; it has set up a women’s committee in each slum. The slum committees work together with the Vishrantwadi project to improve awareness and access to healthcare. In recent years, the committees have run a number of health camps and nutrition awareness sessions which offer practical solutions to local health issues such as sanitation, clean water, pollution and sexual health. The results have been very encouraging; women are now taking a greater responsibility for health issues within their families. By becoming more health and hygiene conscious communities are able to reduce the prevalence of disease and vermin.
The other major undertaking of the Vishrantwadi project is a one year education course that is offered to girls in the slums. There are many financial and social reasons which explain why women in India are prevented from finishing school- the Vishrantwadi education project is offering girls a second chance. The project takes a practical approach to education- one of the major focus of the project is the health awareness programme, there is an acceptance that most of the girls will have families at a young age; girls are therefore given practical lessons on caring for a family in the slums. This includes basic hygiene, nutrition, first aid, sexual health lessons as well as pre and post-natal advice.
The education programme has a varied syllabus; it addresses and prepares girls with skills that they are likely to use in life such as- household budgeting, negotiation, self-esteem and legal rights specifically regarding domestic violence and caste prejudice. Finally, the programme works with local training centres and employers to give girls vocational training and work experience. Women benefit from lessons in sewing, computer training (in association with the Karuna Computer Education Centre), entrepreneurship and accountancy.
Shilpa Pawale shares her feelings about how the project has impacted on her life;
“I am Shilpa, living with one family for domestic work. I don’t have father and my mother is staying far away from me for her job purpose she is also doing daily wages work. Where I stay with family there I do all household activity such as washing clothes, cleaning house cooking, everything I do. Somebody told me about this class and I came to learn stitching clothes. Before I could not even talk in group and use to feel shy to interact with people. I have very low confidence within me but now I feel have very bright future. I got confidence that now I can earn by stitching cloth by my own business, no need of doing domestic work.”
Recent research by UNICEF verifies how girls in India face a rough deal when compared to boys. Here are some key findings from a recent uncef report -
"Almost 47 percent of the girls in the age group of 11 to 19 years are underweight in India, which is the highest in the world," says the report which considered three criteria -health, nutrition and education - to comment on the state of adolescents globally.“This is of concern as anemic girls being undernourished are the first to drop out of school and are married off early,” - Karin Hulsof of Unicef India.“The adolescent birth rate also stands at 45 - the number of births per thousand women between the ages of 15 and 19 years,” according to the report titled ‘State of the World's Children 2011’.
“About 57 per cent of the poorest children in India are underweight compared to 20 per cent of the richest.”
I came across some insightful information on a UNICEF blog about adolescents in India. Here are some interesting facts from that blog:
* India has the highest adolescent population in the world
* It is still the case that boys enjoy a higher quality of adolescence than girls
* The biggest health problem for Indian female adolescents is Anemia - about 50% of girls aged between 15-19 in India are anemic.
* The risk of HIV is significantly higher amongst adolescent females than adolescent males
Karin Hulshof, UNICEF India Representative concluded that -
The available data shows that maximum adolescence today, do not get to enjoy or have access to quality education, basic sexual reproductive health care, support for mental health issue and disability and protection from violence, abuse and exploitation and a forum for their participation.
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