I am very pleased to report that thanks to your generosity, we have now raised over $1,000 for girls living in very difficult circumstances in slums in Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Please be assured that your donation is having a dramatic impact. It would not be an overstatement to say that this project is life changing for the girls who come into contact with it.
One such girl is Archana, who tells us her story:
“I am Archana staying at Burma cell (slum in Pune). I have 3 sisters and 4 brothers.
My father is a farmer. We have chili machine, mother look after that machine. She grinds chili and prepares gravy masala (spice) and is earning money.
After my tenth (aged 16) mother asked me not to go for school. I was told to be at home and learn household activity. Parents were worried about my marriage.
One day guests came to see me. They proposed me for marriage. In our community girls are not allowed to see bridegroom. Quietly I greed all that told by parents. And I got engagement with him. He was 8th pass (aged 14) and was at home. I was realizing my future is blank. I was so sad to whom to concern, to whom to ask? One day I went for women`s empowerment life skill class.
On this day Manisha Tai and Smita Tai (project community workers) were discussing on topic of decision making with girls. I got struck. I did not sleep whole night.
Next morning as soon as Manisha entered in our community I rushed to her and told about my tragedy. She gave me emotional support.
I got a kind of daring within me. Finally I dare to break my engagement with whom I was not at all happy. I got relief. Now I am happy. I have finished my sewing machine class and have join computer class. I thank to you all and to Dr. Manda Mune (project leader) and to all women`s empowerment project staff and wish my best luck.”
Thank you for your generous and ongoing support. I hope you find this partnership valuable and worthwhile. I know the economy is tough, so thank you for investing your hard-earned money on our cause.
Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. You know your friends and family best so use your own words - tell them why you chose our project and what it means to you.
If you have any feedback I would love to hear from you. In the meantime I will continue to send stories from the girls whose lives you are helping to improve. Thank you again for all you have done to help this cause.
I am writing to say thanks so much for all your support in allowing this project to go ahead. Your generosity is helping adolescent girls have a voice, gain confidence and escape the poverty of slums in Pune, Maharashtra. Contrary to popular perception, Maharashtra is one of India’s poorest states, behind only Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. An Economic survey (2004-05) released by the Maharashtra Planning Commission revealed the poverty ratio in the state is 30.7 per cent. If this figure were measured by international methods on disposable income (living on less than USD $1.25, per person, per day), the figure would be nearer 50%.
You’re helping young women such as Nilam Shinde (21) who joined the project in March. Nilam lives in a slum district of Pune known as Tingare Nagar. Nilam tells us her story:
“ I am Nilam staying at Tingare Nagar. First of all greetings to all. My father is rickshaw driver and mother is a housemaid. I have one brother. He is studying. After my 10th (standard) I was at home, use to help my mother. I was jobless due to my education and was unskilled.
One day I came to know about women’s empowerment project and its vocational training. I went to office and took admission.
With my full of attention I learn everything whatever thought by my teacher. After completing my course I got job as a computer operator in Yerwda (district of Pune). Now I am getting 5,000 rupees (USD $100 per month) of salary. I am really happy that because of this project I am here and earning money.
I am really grateful to you for your kindness. I too am thankful to Karunaprabha (project leader) and her team and wish her the best to do best for women like me who are really in need. Thanking you."
Nilam Thanks again so much for your generosity. This is one of our most successful project, thanks to the dedication of a locally recruited social work team of women who know these communities and the girls’ needs. Please do spread the word. Many thanks.
The following project update is from some of the beneficiaries. It lets us know some of the activities that people have been engaged in and how this has been of help.
1) Testimonial Name of beneficiaries: - Shivani Dhende Name of community: - Shanti Nagar
I am a student living in the slum of Shanti Nagar with my mother and grandmother. The name of the project were involved with is ‘Women`s Empowerment.’ I have attended life skills classes every day and enjoy the activities very much. My teacher Mrs Manisha Pathole has imparted a lot of practical knowledge on how to face various problems which has given me confidence to face them. I visited a bank to find out about bank accounts and how to open one and also a police station to find out about making reports if we need to. I also learnt to swim in a place called sang am which I enjoyed the most. Our group name is jagruti-jagruti which means the knowledge we have and that which we get. I have gone for Wenledo which is self defense training in a place called Shramik Vasahat. Our project director brought Teachers from other places they came to teach us specialist knowledge. One teacher whose name was Preeti taught us meditation. She told us that when we have a serious problem or tension we can use meditation to help us feel some relief, even just 5 minutes of meditation. Another Teacher Dr Manda Mune gave us information regarding our body and its health. My teacher Mrs Manisha Pothole taught us that we should always be neat and tidy and practice Hygiene. This has helped me a lot. I’m thankful to the ‘Women`s Empowerment’ project`s team for their guidance and feel very lucky to have such positive influence at the start of my life.
2) Testimonial Name of beneficiaries: - preeti subhash Jadhav Name of community: - Burma cell
I am Preeti Subhash Jadhav and live in Burmacell with my parents. I have 3 sisters and 1 brother. In the community in which I live girls don’t have a strong Identity. We don’t have rights to take our own decisions. We have a high rate of gender discrimination with a girl seen as a burden for the parents. If a boy makes a mistake no one cares but if a girl does she’s punish. When the Women`s Empowerment Project came to our community many parents protested. Dr Manda Mune the project director handled it gently and communicated the importance of the life skills classes. Now even more girls have started coming for classes since the project is now seen to help girls to progress. The project has arranged various activities for the girls, to learn about computers for instance. Mrs Manisha Kharat taught us about nutritious food as well as how to communicate with our elders. We learnt mehendi which is henna art, and also got Wenledo training which is for self defence. I learnt to swim in sang am and that experience was really great. Now difficulties in day to day life are more manageable. Also we have kishori panchayat, youth leadership, and my group name is Magic Group. We arrange various community activities for instance we maintain clean Boudh Vihar every Saturday. The magic group is also arranging street plays that address our communities’ problems to raise awareness in the whole community; for instance girls that are being married at around 7 years of age. Thanks to the women`s empowerment project team we have learnt to fight against bad practices. 3) Parents testimonial Name of parents:-Shobha Raju bachute Name of community: - Bhimnagar Age: - 32
I am Shobha and my daughters name is Komal. I can honestly say that now I am observing my daughter she is changed. Use to give back answer and I was worried about her. Now she is listening to me and behaving like a mature child. I am greatly thankful to women`s empowerment project team.
3) Parents testimonial Name of parent:-savita manic sonawne Name of community: - Bhim nagar Age: - 45
I am Savita and my daughter name is Vidya. Before she was not talking frankly to anybody. Now she is doing her work in time. I observe her she is speaking confidently I am very happy about her. Thanks to women`s empowerment project.
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