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