Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India

by Women's Education Project
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
Empower Young Women to be Leaders, India
WEP Madurai and Ramanathapuram students
WEP Madurai and Ramanathapuram students

February and March were busy months for WEP Leadership Academy students in Madurai, Ramanathapuram and Hyderabad.

Students at  the Madurai Center were offered courses  in Tally and Advanced Tally (business acounting software) they participated  in sessions on topics including a current affairs class on  fundimental rights, Adolescents: communication and relationsips, the neuroscience of happiness, dealing constructively with criticism, and mental health post COVID19.  They attended a workshop on Women and Society, which included information on cyber saftey.

Students also  honed their leadership skills planning and conductiong club meetings for the Technology, Financial, Language, and Dance and Sport clubs. 

At the Ramanathapuram Academy, Students participated in classes on spoken English and  civics. 

Students from the Madurai and Ramanathapuram Academies came together for an in person celebration of  Annual Day - a special tradition of the Madurai Academy. They participated in a joyous celebration of song, dance, games and speakers on topics of Women's Empowerment- including alumnae returning to share their expereinces. 

In Hyderabad, Students have been maintaining active book clubs in 10 different villages, and they  they participated in storytelling sessions on World Sparrow day, World Water Day, and International Women's Day. 

They have continued their cycling project-  riding a bicycle daily from the academy to their homes- they've also been teaching other village girls to cycle- and sharing their knowledge of the benefits of cycling to their health and the environment with village boys as well! 

42 Hyderabad students are now cultivating home gardens of pesticid- free vegatables, fruit, flowers and medicinal plants. They have been stydying pollinators, natural pest control methods, and composting, adding to the success of their efforts. 5 students from the program are also rearing chickens- which, along with the gardens have become  good micro businesses for them and their families.  

In March, Hyderabad students participated in sessions on womens reproductive health, ocupational therapy and physical therapy, which ended with a visit to a local hospital.  They completed community mapping activities, identifying essential services and learning about volunteerism and creating community solutions. They also  participated in sessions on facing critical situations, and making the right decisions. 

To celebrate International Womens Day, among other activities,  Hyderabad students spoke to their own parents about Gender Equality. K., an intermediate 1st year student, shared that she spoke to her mother about equality between the genders, and convinced her mom that she is not interested in early marriage, and wants to study and work. 

WEP Madurai students in  Fundamental Rights class
WEP Madurai students in Fundamental Rights class
WEP Hyderabad student book club
WEP Hyderabad student book club
WEP Hyderabad student's  nutrition garden
WEP Hyderabad student's nutrition garden
Hyderabad Academy session on reproductive health
Hyderabad Academy session on reproductive health
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December Monthly Report from Hyderabad Program 

Written by WEP Leadership Academy Program Assistants (Academy Alumnae) 

At WEP-Hyderabad program have different college students coming to us at different timings so we have grouped them into thee different batches throughout the day. The first batch girls are degree students from three area colleges.  For the second batch girls who are coming from distant villages, are girls for whom we have taken special permission from the college management to come to our center at 3:10.  Girls who are studying professional courses they came at 4:10 pm and who stay in the surrounding government hostels.  Daily we have an average attendance of 50 to 70 girls.

Daily Activities:  Every day the students are doing meditation for minutes, voice training and exercise. Then they read newspaper in their groups. 

Leadership Academy: The different trainings that we have given in December month was on World Soil Day event on 5th, where we also gave training on soils. This comes under the kitchen garden activity and now 12 girls have started the kitchen garden and other girls are also planning to start.  We are following up where we find out how many have understood about soils and its importance.  We have given them assignments to identify what kind and quality of soils are there near their homes. We following earlier training on medicinal plants we are following up on that. We are teaching the new students about medicinal plants to those girls who are unable to attend the session. The next one we gave on the “Time Management “under the leadership certificate, we followed the same procedure.  We gave them assignments for personal time lines each student has to make a day time line and weekly time line. They will do a monthly time line in the month of January.  

Book Club:  They take up a book and read them loudly to find out the meaning of the new words and write down the new words in their notebooks.  On Saturdays each of the students selects their books and doing the village book club activities at their home, 12 of the girls have started their book club activities.  All the different groups are have a different day for the book club activity at the center.  Every group takes up a book and find out the different words that are there and its meaning talk about it loudly this is specifically to improve their communication and dramatizing skills and to build up their confidence.   

Visit to the Book Fair:  National Book Fair on 25-12-2021 – Hyderabad, 14 students were taken to the book fair in the city we spent about 1 o clock to 3:30 pm.  The girls visited many stalls bought some books and they browsed through many books at the stalls., The girls were very surprised to see so many books available at one place and so many people that they were interested in reading and it was interesting they had never visited a Book Fair before.  They felt that they must also read regularly. For they were never taught that reading books is very important.

Multi level Garden: In the kitchen garden activity 12 girls have started and they are growing their gardens well.  The Program Assistants are regularly giving them points to improve their gardens with different varities of vegetables and also about natural pest control methods and composting.  Another group of girls are learning to start their gardens.  One student made a chart of all the medicinal plants which we learnt in the training, another distributed lemon grass to all the students.

Cycle club: Cycles have been taken from the last year Academy girls are now will be given to current students.  They will make arrangements to park the cycles near the bus stop and when they return in the evening from the center they will ride the cycle to their homes in the villages. The distance from the bus stop is 2 Km so they find it difficult to go home by walk in the evening.  On Sundays the two girls have volunteered to teach other girls in the villages to ride cycles.

Peer study: We are started peer study groups in the villages and in the center.  Now we have 24 peer study groups. 

Library: Library Days at the center is on Friday and Saturday for the different groups, they have to spend time to read books and discuss in their groups and select books to take with them for the village book club activities, 24 girls have started their bookclub activities near their homes on Sundays. Every Friday and Saturday it’s a library day they have to read books and discuss in their groups then they have selects books from their book club activity.

Learning a skill: We have two sewing machines at the center. The 2020-2021 Academy students are teaching the new girls how to cut and stitch sanitary pads, masks and dresses. The girls are using the material of old curtains and sheets of the center.

Nutrition: The Program Assistants are preparing the nutrition porridge and also we give groundnuts and green gram to the girls alternately. We are maintaining a register for the girls to sign when they come for nutrition. 

Fish farming: The former girls continuing to grow their fish and we are monitoring that. Three students have harvested their fish from the tank after their fish had grown to 1 kg weight. 

Chicken Rearing: The 3 new students have started rearing chickens after we spoke to them about chicken rearing it’s a good micro home based business.

Art & Craft: The some girls have made some hangings with thread and cardboard sheets and papers.

Health: We took the girls 65 girls for a health and medical camp at a nearby hospital and the registration fee was 100 RS for each girl. The doctors gave them good diagnostic attention and asked them to go for further treatment according to their problems.  Many of the girls have menstruation, allergies, thyroid, back pain, dental problems etc.

House visits: We completed 41 house visits to the new student’s homes. House Hold Questionnaire example given below.

 

    1. Student's Age:17
    2. Level of Education: Intermediate 1st year
    3. Occupation: Studying
    4. Who are the numbers of the household?: Three members
    5. Who is the earning member? Mother
    6. Monthly budget -7000 RS
  • Some of the parents have seen a lot of change in their daughters they are feeling that they are confident and communicating well with their parents.  During the house visits we have told the students (with their parents present) that they have to complete the assignments and submitted at the center.

Report Approved by Director

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Teaching Cycling
Teaching Cycling

We are pleased to share with you our End of Year Report.  After a year of tremendous resilience, growth and accomplishment for both WEP and our students, we invite you to join us in celebrating some of our most inspiring moments, both big and small: 

For WEP

  • the opening of new Academies in Tamil Nadu & Rajasthan

For our students:

  • assuming leadership in our COVID relief efforts
  • dancing & playing games with elderly after COVID shutdowns
  • starting small fish farms
  • sharing news of college acceptances

We hope these moments, and many more, captured in our report Here and in a link below - are a bright light in your holidays. 

Thank you and wishing you the happiest 2022!

 

Madurai Students
Madurai Students
Growing Fruit & Vegetables
Growing Fruit & Vegetables
Dancing at an Elderly home
Dancing at an Elderly home
New Rajasthan Academy Class
New Rajasthan Academy Class

Links:

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Student Stands at Completed Drainage System
Student Stands at Completed Drainage System

Amidst the continuing challenges of 2021, all three WEP Academies have remained open. Our Kadapa partner has served 60 residential students with another 30 starting at the end of October. Our Hyderabad and Madurai parners respectively have served 35 and 55 students online with some in-person engagement as possible. Our new Leadership Academy in Rajasthan has just opened serving an initial 22 students.  

WEP-India Director and staff have prepared WEP for expansion across seven states throughout India. Currently working in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan, new networked partners are enabling growth to Jharkhand, Karnataka, and Mizoram. Curriculum specialists are preparing the Academy for satellite programs, mobile/web-based solutions, and translation into five languages. 

In response to COVID, and its impact on the communities where we work, we started the Ripple Effect virtual training program for WEP students, alumnae and staff, covering topics crucial for navigating the pandemic: COVID health and safety information, countering disinformation, resilience building, stress management, empathetic leadership, volunteerism, safe migration and human trafficking. The course concluded with livelihood training and natural resource management. WEP has now incorporated these  program-wide courses and training programs into our Leadership Academy curriculum as part of our Ripple Effect certificate.  

While in lockdown, Hyderabad students mapped their community to learn area needs. They petitioned officials to re-open a clinic for COVID patients, arranged for the building of a pipeline to replace an open sewage canal, established small fish farms, and grew Neem Trees and pollinator plants in their kitchen gardens. 

The following story, told by WEP Leadership Academy (Hyderabad) Director, highlights two students, who supported by their mentor, gave an example of this training in action:

"The village’s drain pipelines led to a student’s colony and the water would end up forming a pool of drain-water by homes that attracted many mosquitoes, flies, and pigs. 

This became a breeding site for disease and many villagers became sick with illnesses. This was especially a problem during the monsoon season.

When WEP Hyderabad started its Ripple Effect program, three students decided to take up this issue. This was a very critical issue because, earlier, when the community’s elders had spoken to the Sarpanch about this problem, nothing was done and the problem became worse every day. 

So, after finishing their mapping of their village and community, the girls felt that they should definitely take up this issue. One student reported this issue to the Hyderabad Director and the girls moved forward, having explained to their community that they were preparing a complaint petition to submit to the Sarpanch at the Gram Panchayat’s office. When they submitted the petition the Sarpanch ignored them at first and did not take up the issue. Then, the girls informed other community members who then took the petition to the Mandal Revenue Officer at the Mandal headquarters.  The Mandal HQ then spoke to the village Sarpanch for them.

Within five days, the construction of a pipeline started and it was completed after one month. The villagers and the students parents were very relieved that their drainage problem had been solved and are much happier now. The students were praised by the community and thanked for helping to rid the village of this problem.

The Director has suggested to these girls that they should plant one Neem Tree seed for every house so that they can have pure air as well as medicine from its leaves, which are helpful in preventing malaria and other viruses."

Student in a Ripple Effect Class
Student in a Ripple Effect Class
Before: the drainage canal
Before: the drainage canal
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Women’s Education Project / WEP - India

Program Report

Date: From 15.02.2021 - To 31.05.2021

Center Name: Aarti WEP Leadership Academy - Kadapa

Report By: Aarti Home staff

Daily Activities. 

Aarti for Girls/Kadapa in collaboration with WEP/India is running a Community College - Aarti Community College. As part of this college, ACC is training selected young women and girls to become entrepreneurs in their lives and thereby gaining economic independence. WEP's Leadership Academy curriculum is part of this College. This is a residential program, and was conducted safely at the Aarti Home.

Average Center attendance: 95%

Classes, tutorials, study hours, nutrition program, reading (and other daily activities): 

Students attended classes in: 

  1. Basic English Communication Skills, 
  2. Telugu Classes
  3. Learning skills to deal their day to day affairs
  4. Basic computer skills
  5. Indian heritage and culture
  6. Basic knowledge in Geography, History, Indian Polity and Arithmetic
  7. Basic skills in photography
  8. Personality Development - Mindfulness and Leadership

Teachers / tutors / student mentors: 16 teachers and resource people and three student mentors taught and facilitated the program. 

Mentoring

Each of the mentors was allotted approximately 10 participants each and the three mentors were constantly speaking to the participants both as a group and on one to one basis. As a result of these conversations, the participants were able to overcome their problems and gain confidence in dealing with their issues.

Special activities: 

  1. As part of making the students aware of the rich indian heritage and culture, it was scheduled to take the students to the temples and traditional arts and crafts centres situated within Kadapa district. This could not be achieved due to the ongoing pandemic. However, participants were taken on virtual tours of the river ganges. 
  2. They were shown videos on the saree draping styles adopted by the people from various regions of the country. The participants draped the sarees and presented themselves.
  3. The participants were taught to make some homemade grooming products. Intense discussions were held and the participants, after watching the source videos, developed recipes to make “Aloe Vera based facials”.
  4.  A group of social workers and the faculty from the IIT/Chennai came forward to teach the participants about basic requirements needed to start a small business. They covered topics like 
    1. Basic accounts - Profit and Loss statements.
    2. Basic IT infrastructure needed for the small startup.
    3. Assessment of consumer needs.
    4. Assessment of materials and other things needed for production.

Class Details 

 

Basic English communication Skills: The curriculum of this course is to make the participants communicate freely and faultlessly in English. The participants were taught the basics of English Grammar. As part of the daily routine,   participants took turns  to share their ‘good thing for the day’ and speak on a selected subject. This resulted in boosting their confidence while conversing in English, and speaking in front of a group. The participants were taught the various nuances of grammar in English, the correct pronunciation and meaning of various  words including homonyms. 
Telugu Classes:  These classes were conducted by a doctorate in Telugu and the main objective of these classes was to make the participants aware of the richness of Telugu language. They were taught the poems by the famous poets and were told the meaning of these poems. These poems speak about  the values and virtues in our lives and how a person should conduct himself to create an ideal society. Apart for these poems the participants were also introduced to the epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatham.
Learning skills : The participants, during this class were made to understand and get familiar with the day to day activities like dealing with their finances (banks/post offices), travelling to other towns on their own, preparing the budget for a small family.

    1. Their curriculum started with teaching them the history of the banking industry in the country. They were made to understand the banking activities.
    2. As part of imparting practical knowledge to the participants they were made to fill the following forms.
      1. Bank account opening form. They were made to understand the meaning of the home branch and different activities that are possible only in the home branch.
      2. Cash deposit forms
      3. Cash withdrawal forms.
      4. Usage of ATM cards. They were made to understand the difference between the credit cards and the ATM cards.
      5. They were taught about internet banking and the safety steps to be followed while doing online transactions.
    3. They were taught how to fill a PAN Card Application and the basics of income tax. They were shown an example for calculating income tax for a salaried person.
    4. They were taught about various means for obtaining funds for their ventures like 
      1. Seeking the assistance of the government in getting funds, utilising various schemes available for the women entrepreneurs
      2. They were told about DWRCA: Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas
      3. Venture Capital
      4. Crowdfunding
      5. Loans from friends and relatives (partnerships)
      6. Loans from the banks
    5. They were told how to fill various forms like Railway reservation forms and how to book rail/Bus/Air tickets Online.
    6. They were also told how to read the railway time table and find out the best option available for their journey

Basic Computer Skills : As the name suggests, the participants were taught about the basics of using computers, using MS Office (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) and e-mail. With the advent of digitisation across the globe, many jobs require fundamental computer skills to perform well. While basic computer skills include knowing how to type, understanding social media and having general web skills, there are several more to consider, such as:

    1. Productivity software
    2. Operating systems
    3. Presentation software
    4. Digital marketing
    5. Computer programming
    6. Graphic design
    7. Communication tools
    8. Database management
    9. Accounting software

Indian Heritage and Culture: These sessions were mainly focussed in teaching the participants about the culture and heritage of India. They were taught about the various practices followed in the olden times and their merits. They were also made aware of the virtues associated with the virtues of Indian scriptures.

Basic knowledge of Geography, History, Indian polity and Arithmetic: 

    1. The participants were told about the geography of India and the geography of the world.
      1. With regards to the geography of the world they were told about the various continents and were taught how to read the maps.
      2. They were given a self learning exercise on looking at the globe and identifying the oceans and the continents.
      3. In the self learning exercise,they were asked to learn about the various countries of the world (African, South and North American, Asia and European continents). They were told to learn the countries, their capitals and the currency used in these countries. 
      4. They were made to work on the puzzles. They were shown the cards displaying the maps of the nations and were asked to identify the country, it’s capital and it’s currency.
      5. As a self learning exercise they were asked to identify the places of tourist interest in the European countries and write a brief on these monuments.
      6. They were also told about the Solar system and how the rotation of the earth impacts the day and night and about the revolution of the earth around the sun that creates the seasons.

In History the participants were made aware of the following topics:

      1. Why is it important to know history?
      2. They were told about Archaeology and how the archaeologists seek evidence to recreate the history through the evidence discovered.
      3. They were told about the birth of the Universe and how the homo sapiens evolved and how they  migrated from Africa to various parts of the globe.
      4. They were told about how the civilization developed and how the humans started settling down at a place
      5. They were told about the Indus Valley Civilization and about Vedic civilization.
      6. They were told about the Empires of Maurya - specifically about Chandra Gupta Maurya and Ashoka.

 

Indian Polity:  The participants were taught the following topics as part of the Curriculum.

 

    1. Indian constitution : They were told about the importance of the constitution and what is the function of the constitution and why we need the Constitution.
    2. They were told about how the constitution of India was written and about the constituent assembly.
    3. They were made to memorise the Preamble of the constitution.
    4. The Fundamental rights and the fundamental duties enshrined in the constitution were discussed with them.  
    5. They were told about how the laws are made in India. They were also told about the three organs of the government and how they are linked to each other.

Arithmetic: The following topics were taught to the participants.

    1. They were taught ratios and proportions and how the rations and proportions are useful in our day to day life
    2. Finding out the LCM and GCF
    3. Percentages.
    4. Calculation of Simple Interest

Basic Photography and videography skills: 

  1. Basic Photography:This is aimed at getting the participants to know the basics of photography and videography using DSLR cameras and mobile phones.
    1. They were shown various parts of the DSLR camera and were told about the functioning of these parts.
    2. They were told about the importance of the shutter speed, aperture and the ISO.
    3. The participants felt very happy to handle expensive cameras and to learn about the basic principles of photography, like choosing a suitable background, right time for clicking the picture and getting a perfect composition for the picture.
  2. Basics in Photoshop: They were also taught to edit their pictures using photo editing software like Photoshop.

Personality Development: The curriculum of this subject is based on the objective to make the participants mindful of themselves and to develop themselves as good citizens of the world. They were taught to become aware of themselves, their thoughts, feelings, perceptions, their surroundings, and persons and objects in their surroundings. This awareness brings about the observation of what occurs inside of them, how their emotions and thoughts are manifested and how their experiences are inculcated. They were taught to respect their peers . A detailed description of the activities conducted can be found in Leadership Academy Activities.

Assessment : Regular tests were conducted to assess the performance of the participants.
Other Special Activities 
Date: Various dates during the month.
Objectives: To inculcate personality development skills in the participants
Number of participants: 30
Student feedback: All these sessions were activity based and were conducted purley on a participatory basis. The participants enjoyed the sessions most and they learnt a lot of things from these sessions. The most important things learnt by them are
Start off the basic exercise of breathing for 5-6 minutes. This regulates the breathing as well as keeps the focus on the breath. This is one of the foremost exercises to develop focus and be mindful of oneself.
Respecting others and waiting for their turn to express their opinion. This is done through exercises like walking meditation. While 5 participants are walking, the others are observing.
Observing things and explaining them, being in the present and neither letting the mind wander into the past nor dreaming about the future.
Building trust amongst the peers and dependable guidance. Team building exercises are conducted like painting as a group and making a meaning out of that.
Self-awareness in terms of thoughts, feelings and perceptions as a complete experience. This brings about a change in the approach of the participants towards their very life. The exercises included drawing and talking about their intentions and plans for the future. Also group discussions were conducted.
Thinking out of the box through 9 dots exercise. The exercise gave a completely new perspective to the participants in approaching a problem to bring about a solution.
Topics like complaint and commitment were introduced to the participants through activity based learning. The different types of complaints and the seriousness of commitment to oneself was clearly understood.

 

Observations: 

The participants were enthusiastic about learning through exercises. 

Game like methodology of the teaching experience was adopted, and hence the active involvement and inclusion of every participant was obvious.

Commitment brought perspective to the participants in paving their path towards the future.

Understanding about communication, conversation and complaint introduced a world of new possibilities to the participants to what they have been aware of till now in their lives.

Aarti Home Photo
Aarti Home Photo
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Organization Information

Women's Education Project

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @womensedproject
Project Leader:
Zoe Timms
New York, NY United States
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