Centre for Women’s Development and Research
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update – February 2012
The important event during this period is the ‘Thane’ cyclone that hit Tamilnadu and Pondicherry on 30th December 2011. 33 people dies and thousands if people lost their homes and livelihood sources like trees and crops. Our working area is not affected much only the nearby Pondicherry and Cuddalore district was affected. But our building in Panaiyur centre was damaged further, in our last report we mentioned about the condition of the roofs that is made of grass (Vizhal in Tamil), branches of the two jack fruit trees in the campus was also broken by the cyclone. All this affected our computer skill training programmes for adolescent girls and entrepreneurship skill women, these trainings are conducted in the campus. Otherwise we have been continuing our activities as usual. We have been continuing our life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls and education programmes for women.
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: We have been continuing our life skill, sexuality and vocational skill trainings for adolescent girls. During the last 4 months we have organized 12 weekend workshops, and nearly 65 adolescent girls and 18 boys participated in these workshops. During this period we have also distributed scholarships for 30 girls who are daughters of single women. One of the encouraging aspect of single women are all most all them wants to provide a good education for their children particularly girl children.
Mr.Bala from Singapore distributes the scholarship
We have selected 30 girls from class 8th to 11th and distributed Rs.1000 each as an incentive, to encourage them to continue their education. Most of the girls drop out when they reach puberty that is usually when they reach 8th standard, or drop out when they fail in their 10th standard board examination. Actually in the coming years we are planning to initiate project g2g-Girls to Graduates and make 1000 girls from 10th standard complete their university degree. In the city area we are continuing our netball programme. It is really encouraging for us, to see girls playing, so we have decided to extend it to our rural area also. We are also continuing our sexuality education programme in schools during this period we have organised in 3 schools and more than 200 girls benefited from this programme. Our computer skill training helped 45 girls during this period. The new state government had promised free laptops for students studying in 12th standard in government schools. This would help the girls who are trained in our centres.
Life skill Sexuality education programme in Chennai city
Since most of the girls in rural area have already attended our lifeskill and sexuality education we have made some changes in the follow up training. To motivate adolescent girls in their village development we have organised training programmes on making village development plans. Initially we have trained 25 girls from Paniyur area. In that 3 days trainings they learned the planning skills, they also developed a questionnaire to take survey in the villages. They are in the process of making village profiles. The idea is to create village development plans particularly to improve the health and education of children.
During this period we have also organised one week training on street plays, songs and dance. The trained girls were involved in the 16 days activism to eliminate violence against women. The campaign was organised from 25th November, the international day against violence against women and ended on 10th December the International Human Rights day. The girls performed street plays, distributed documents to educate public about the importance of eliminating violence against women. In 16 days they organised the programme in 32 places and more than 10,000 people participated in these events.
Education and Income Generation programme for Women: During this period we have organised 3 days training on plastic and palm leaf bag and mat making training. 20 women participated in that training. We are also continuing our entrepreneurship skill training for women. 18 single women participated in that programme. During this period we have appointed a horticulturist to introduce kitchen garden, backyard poultry, livestock rearing, to the women to increase their income. This would also help them to improve their nutrition. We are also organizing regular village level meetings for women. Nearly 150 women participated in these meetings.
Palm leaf product making training
As mentioned in our previous report and in the present report we need at least US$ 8000 to replace the roofs of our present training centre. The center also accommodates staff and volunteers. In future we will focus on farm based activities to improve the income of women. This would also help to improve the environment.
Update – October 2011
We are continuing our ‘Life skill and sexuality education for adolescent girls’ and ‘Education and income generation programme for women. One of the major changes happened in our working area is that all girls now continue their education upto Higher secondary class. Since there is no colleges in this area girls even if they pass with very good marks do not go to colleges. So if they stop their education marriage follows immediately. This year the new state government had opened a new college near Pattipulam village, even though it is 45 kilometers away from Edikazhinadu Panchayath, students can come by bus within one hour. In addition to that the new government had announced lot of free schemes like 20 kilograms of free rice, grinders for the kitchen, free laptops for higher secondary school students and college students, free goats/sheeps and cows for families below poverty line. All these are affecting our programmes directly or indirectly. Based on these new developments we are planning to change our future activities.
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: We are continuing our lifeskill, sexuality and vocational skill trainings for adolescent girls. During the last 3 months we have organized 18 weekend workshops, and nearly 85 adolescent girls and 28 boys participated in these workshops. These workshops were follow up workshops because most of the girls have already attended our earlier lifeskill and sexuality workshops. After attending these programmes all the girls understand reproductive health and their rights. Their confidence level is also increased, they now ask doubts and also discuss the sex and sexuality issues openly. We are also continuing our computer skill training for adolescent girls in our Paniyur centre. 48 girls benefitted from these trainings. In the city area we have introduced netball game for girls and 15-20 girls participate in these during Saturdays. In addition to that we are also providing supplementary education support for the girls particularly in 10th and 12th standard. We have also organised workshops in singing, dancing, drama, drawing and musical instruments. This is one programme the girls enjoyed most and nearly 50 girls benefitted from these programmes.
During this period we have conducted review meetings in the villages find out the impact of our work and also to plan future strategies. Mostly adolescent girls attend the training and education programmes to strengthen their academic and employment skills. That is the first step, actually by using this opportunities we have been trying to educate them on different issues related to adolescent girls and women. We have to continuously emphasis the purpose that is realizing their collective potential to solve adolescent girls issues and achieving gender justice. Today’s girls are tomorrow’s women so we strongly believe that if we educate and create awareness among adolescent girls that will initiate a process of achieving gender justice. So in the coming years we wish to involve adolescent girls in all our programmes that is motivate them to participate in all community level activities.
Education and Income Generation programme for Women: We have been organizing regular meetings/trainings for women and single women in the villages. Nearly 120 women participated in these meetings/trainings. We have also organised two days weekend EDP-Entrepreneurship Development programme for single women. 20 single women participated in this programme. During this period we also organized an eye camp and 98 people benefitted form this programme. People who need cataract surgery were referred to Shankar Nethralaya Eye hospital for free surgery. So far loans worth Rs.250,000 were given to 25 SHgs-Self Help Groups benefitting nearly 500 women. Our women also participated in meetings, rallies and human chain to oppose the new elevated highway in Chennai city which would affect the coastal eco-system. In Edaikazhinadu area the government had announces for a coal based power plant, now people have send memorandum to government to stop this because it would pollute the area and their agricultural lands will also be affected. The new government had postponed all these projects.
After our review meeting with the women particularly about the income generation activities we have decided to go back to farm based activities that they are familiar with like kitchen garden, backyard poultry, and livestock. We also want to try Apiculture that is new to the area but useful for the crops.
The building that has the computer and tailoring training centre and volunteer accommodation at ‘Maithri’ in Paniyur village needs some maintenance. The roof of this building is made of ‘Vizhal’ a variety of grass. It is already 6 years old and needs replacement. We have decided to put RCC roof with tile fillers. It needs nearly 8000 US $.
Future plan: We will continue our present activities, the income generation activities will be farm based activities and we are planning to introduce apiculture in this area.
Lifeskill Sexuality education for Adolescent girls & Boys
CENTRE FOR WOMEN’S DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH
Education to Empower 500 Women and Adolescent Girls
Update – July 2011
April to June is an important period for us because it is the summer holidays for school going children. During this period we can organize trainings for school going girl children. This year our focus was on community development programmes for adolescent girls. The idea is to motivate girls to involve in their community level issues and also motivate them to volunteer for our field level activities. Today’s girls are tomorrows women’ so we also believe that any change we bring in among girl children would reflect in their womanhood. Most of these girls are first generation school goers and they are open for new ideas and changes. We have also improved our hand made soap making unit and soon we will be launching it for commercial sales among villagers and in the city.
Life Skill and Sexuality Education Workshops for adolescents: We have been continuing our life skill and sexuality education workshops during weekends and holidays for adolescent girls and boys. During this period 80 girls attended these workshops. We could not organize any workshops for boys. Actually this year we have planned for combined community development training for boys and girls but we could not do it. Still there is some reservation among parents about conducting combined programmes for adolescent girls and boys.
This year during summer holidays that is during May we have organized a 15 days community development programme for adolescent girls. 30 girls participated in this programme. The programme is organized in Chennai and Paniyur Centre 15 girls from Paniyur area and 15 from Chennai city. During these training they learned about themselves, women’s issues, community development activities, leadership skills, songs, dance and acting. The rural area girls, that is from Paniyur area the girls have visited Pondicherry aurovillae and also our organization in Chennai city. The city girls visited Panaiyur rural area for an exposure. In addition to that 25 girls who have completed their 12th Standard Education from the city area were sent for computer and spoken English classes. Out of that we found placements for 6 girls, in BPO centers and now they are earning Rs.5000-6000 per month. Finding employment for rural girl is still a challenge for us. We are thinking of initiating some rural BPOs and looking for help, particularly volunteers who can help us in setting up this unit. In Thiruvanmiyur area we have also initiated an outdoor sports activity net ball for girls. Nowadays girls completely miss sports activities both in schools and community. Parents never allow girls to play games; if at all there is free time girls are expected to help their mothers in household work. In collaboration with another organization we have introduced net ball game to girls. 20-25 girls are attending this during weekends.
With the help of two volunteers Ms.Kimberlin, student from Columbia University and Elizabeth we have organized evening spoken English classes in our Chennai office 20-25 girls participated in this programme.
Education and Income Generation programme for Women:
Regular meetings and trainings were organized at the village level for women’s groups. We have organized 8-weekend leadership skill training for women nearly 140 women participated in these programmes. We have also organized an EDP- Entrepreneurship Development programme for Single women, 25 women participated in this programme. Since we are planning to sell soaps commercially most of the time was spent on that. Ms.Kimberly Rogovin, a volunteer conducted a study on marketing soap and designed labels and packing for the soaps. The handmade soap ‘Maithri’ will be sold in the local market area and Chennai city. This would create employment for 5 women in initial stage. The local level single women’s groups are continuing their credit and savings programme and during this period 22 women given loans to strengthen their business activities like selling fish, vegetables, fruits, making thatch roof, making flower garlands.
In general it was a busy and fruitful period for us. The only thing is we could not generate enough employment opportunities for educated girls in rural areas. We are looking for ways of doing it, like opening a rural BPO or initiating a community college.
Volunteer Ms.Elizabeth with girls in spoken English Class