Published on July 24, 2014
January - March 2012
AIWC Annual Meeting at Kolkata
1 ROSHNIJournal of the All India Women's Conference JANUARY - MARCH 2012 AIWC has Consultative Status with - UNITED NATIONS Permanent Representatives Ms. Sudha Acharya Ms. Mala Pal Ms. Seema Upelekar (ECOSOC) (UNICEF) AIWC has affiliation with - International Alliance of Women Pan Pacific and S.E.A. Women's Association CONGO Global Water Partnership World Renewable Energy Network AIWC has 500+ Branches and 1,00,000+ Members Patrons : Dr Sarojini Varadappan Ms Shobhana Ranade Ms Kunti Paul Dr Aparna Basu Dr Manorama Bawa Mrs. Gomathi Nair Office Bearers President – Mrs. Bina Jain Secretary General – Mrs. Sheela Kakde Treasurer – Mrs. Usha Nair Editorial Board Advisor – Dr Aparna Basu Editor – Mrs. Veena Kohli Assisted by – Ms Mythily Jagannathan Ms Saroj Chabra Ms Manju Prasher Subscription Rates Domestic Yearly Rs. 200.00 Quarterly (single copy) Rs. 60.00 Abroad Yearly $ 18.00 £ 10.00 Half Yearly $ 9.00 £ 6.00 Single Copy $ 5.00 £ 4.00 ROSHNI Editorial & Business Office Central Office, AIWC 6, Bhagwan Dass Road, New Delhi-110 001 Phone : 23389680, 23381165 Fax : 23384092 E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org The views expressed in the articles published in Roshni are those of the authors only and not of All India Women's Conference. Printed at : RAPID ART PRESS WH-44, Mayapuri Indl. Area, Phase-I, New Delhi-110 064 Tel. : 45501223, 41410328 ROSHNI Contents From the Editor's Pen 2 Welcome Speech by Mrs. Bina Jain 3 84th Annual Conference 4 Presidents Address - 84th Annual Conference-Kolkata 5 International Women's Day 7 A Report on Birth Centenary Celebration of 8 Ashoka Gupta - Sheela Kakde Sadhrana (Gurgaon) 9 Secretary General's Report - 84th Annual 10 Conference-Kolkata In Praise of Volunteerism - Dr. Manju Kak 16 President : Vidyagauri Neelkanth 17 President : Sarla Roy 19 AIWC Reaches Rural Women 20 You can't ignore Rural Women 24 Newsletter 26 Report of my visit to New York - Mrs. Bina Jain 27 Workshop on Empowerment of Rural Women 29 - Mrs. Bina Jain Innovative Approaches 30 United Nation Commission on the Status 34 of Women - Sheela Kakde A Profile of Ashwini Shkirsagar 37 Book Release 38 Dr. Kadambini Ganguli : A Pioneer 39 Spring - Poem by Sarojini Naidu 42 In search of Happiness 43 Change your thinking 44 Adding life in our Textiles 45 World Consumer Day 47 Report on side event attended at 48 COP 17, Durban - Usha Nair Branch Activities 51 vka[kksa dh ns[kHkky 57 'kk[kk xfrfof/k;ka 59 lcyk ukjh vkt dh 60
ROSHNI 2 From the Editor's Pen DearFriends, This issue is special not only because it starts the New Year with AIWC's Annual Conference meeting of all the branches held at Kolkata but also the revival of its commitment towards empowerment of the rural women of India. We all have our roots in the villages and as one goes back the ancestral count, one will discover some link with a village; yet how much have we given back to these villages where we came from? Importantly, you will read in this issue about AIWC's participation in the UN world meet on the status of rural women at New York- representedbyMrsBinaJainandher teamwhichincluded AshwiniShikirsagar,thevillagesarpanch We have included in this issue, brief biographical profiles of the glorious ladies - the Late Smt Vidyagauri Neelkanth, Smt Sarla Ray , our past presidents and Dr. Kadambini Ganguli, outlining their contributions and inspiring life. I quote lines from Dr. Manju Kak's article on volunteerism,“ The women who created these institutions also selflessly dedicated themselves to the cause of improving the lives of people in India's villages and urban slums. So, let's not ignore a century's contribution by women who remain unsung and uncelebrated for theirservicetothenation.”. Once again we are proud to inform our members that the “Hero's Award” was given to our Patron Smt. Shobhana Ranade at a function held in Mumbai. Our heartiest congratulations to her. We will give more details inthenextissue. Namaskarandbestwishestoallforthecomingdays. Veena Kohli
ROSHNI 3 Sh.Shailesh Kumar Bandopadyay, our office bearers Smt Sheela Kakde, Hon.Secretary General, Smt Usha Nair, H o n T r e a s u r e r , Respected Patrons, D i g n i t a r i e s , V i c e Presidents, Members-in- charge, Members and all invitees. Happy NewYear to all of you. I have great pleasure in welcoming you all today for the Birth Centenary Celebrations of our beloved Smt Ashoka Guptaji. Smt.Ashoka Gupta was born in 1912 and was educated at Bethune College (Bethune College has special significance for AIWC because, as early as in 1926, at a prize-giving ceremony in Bethune College, Calcutta, the Director of Public Instruction, Bengal, Mr E F Oaten, had addressed women “who alone can help adequately to remedy what is wrong in women's education,” and this prompted Margaret Cousins to call for a Conference of Women from all parts of the country, and the rest as you all know is the history of AIWC). Ashoka di became a member of AIWC in 1936 in Dhaka, and from then on AIWC became a life long commitment for her. Ashoka Gupta has a long record of selfless social work. She is known for her efforts in the aftermath of Noakhali riots in 1946, when as a representative of Welcome Speech by Mrs Bina Jain, President AIWC A I W C , u n d e r t h e guidance of Mahatma Gandhi, she spent a whole year in the remote villages of the District to r e s t o r e c o m m u n a l harmony. During the Famine of Bankura in 1943, Ashoka di worked for Save the Children Homes. She was a strict disciplinarian and could never tolerate inefficiency. I have had the good fortune of working with her. During her term as President of AIWC, Bapnu Ghar was reopened, and short stay home and old age home at Vrindavan was started, I was personally involved in the starting of the old age home, where we had to face a lot of resistance from the locals, but she was determined to open the Home. Ashoka Di was a campaigner for equal rights of women. Ashoka Di was always interested in promoting Youth. On the eve of independence she was the member-in-charge of civil rights. She was awarded the prestigious Jamnalal Bajaj Award for social work in Bengal and Hon.Doctorate from Calcutta University. Many of you have worked with Ashoka Di, and waiting to share your memories on this occasion. Therefore, I will end my speech here and thank you all for hearing me patiently. At Kolkata - January 2011
ROSHNI 4 Bhopal Jail inmates save up to adopt two girls Inmates of Bhopal Central jail have decided to adopt two baby girls. They are saving every rupee to build a fund that will help them look after the children till they turn 18, Both children live in the jail premises. Three year old Unaiza is the daughter ofArshi, a woman convicted for murder.Arshi has been in jail for the last three years. Unaiza has just started going to a primary school in the jail premises. The father of the other infant, yet to be named, is jail guard Deepak Joshi. Hundred of prisoners , including hardened criminals, are saving some money from what they earn in jail working as carpenters, cooks or tailors. The prisoners earn Rs. 27, Rs. 21 and Rs. 10 for skilled, semi skilled and unskilled work in jail. They are also cutting down on their bidis and cigarettes to put aside enough money to bring up the children. Jail guards too, are contributing to the kitty. The idea was floated on 11/11/11. "It was a rare date and ours was a rare gesture. So we close that day," said Jail Superintendent Lalji Mishra. There are about 3,000 inmates in the Bhopal Jail. Of them at least 300 inmates have agreed to the proposal. (Times of India) th The 84 Annual Conference of All India Women's Conference, had a special significance, as we celebrated the Birth Centenary of our past President Smt. Ashoka Gupta, and Kolkata was especially chosen as the venue, as it was her home town. Many people came from different places to pay their tribute in various forms, be it in their talk or in melodious songs. The day ended with exchange of fond memories of our belovedAshoka Gupta. The Annual Conference of AIWC is such an event that all the Members attend the same with great passion and commitment. This year we had attendance of about 320 participants from all over the country, travelling by trains, braving the weather conditions. Local handicrafts promoted by the branches were displayed at the entrance to the conference venue on colourfully set up tables, which set the mood for the conference. th The Standing Committee Meeting which was held on 8 January was attended by all the participants in full force and became a participatory discussion, and all the items on our Agenda was discussed and debated. The time was flying but with so much interest no one realised the time. The evening was a cultural treat for the gathering. Performance by some of the talented members was really commendable. Special significance was the presence of the younger generation in the gathering, who were taking particular interest in the event, which was a most welcome change. - Bina Jain, PresidentAIWC th 84 Annual Conference 7th to 10th January 2012 - Kolkata
ROSHNI 5 Prof Bani Basu - Eminent Writer Prof. Malabika Sarkar Hon. Vice Chancellor Presidency University Prof. Suranjan Das - Vice Chancellor, University of Kolkata Respected Patrons, Secretary General, Hon.Treasurer, Vice Presidents, Members-in- Charge, Members, Ms. Mamata Roy, Chairperson, Reception Committee and all the invitees. Happy NewYear to all of you It is a great honour for me to stand here and welcome you all to this 84th Annual Conference being held in the City of Joy - Kolkata, the beautiful city of Art, Culture and Literature. It is the hometown of our beloved SmtAshoka Di, and today it brings back fond memories of her. 2011 was a year of pride forAIWC as our patron Smt. Shobhana Ranade was awarded the Padmabhushan and Jamnalal Bajaj Award . On behalf of AIWC family I congratulate Smt. Shobhanaji. When I took over, I had certain concerns in my mind and I wanted to improve the quality of our service. We took various measures in this direction. • Vice presidents and Zonal organisers are the major link between branches and head office. It was felt that if they communicate with branches effectively, the success of programmes is going to be certain. The orientation programme for Vice Presidents and Zonal Organisers conducted by the Head Office has proved very successful, and the quality of reports has improved with greater clarity on branch President's Address 84th Annual Conference - Kolkata, January 2012 activities. The main branches as well as constituent branches are more active and are taking up new programmes directly. My Congratulations to the zonal organisers. • Zonal meetings are a very good channel for putting across problems of branches and finding out practical solutions. Guidelines for members- in-charge and zonal heads were circulated at the start of our term to ensure zonal meetings are conducted in a systematic way, and to make it more meaningful and fruitful to the branches, as branches are the backbone of our organisation. • As Swami Vivekananda said “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved." “Economic empowerment of women” was another concern. Unless a woman is economically empowered, she cannot get self confidence. In this regard we have initiated various programmes. It is heartening to note that AIWC members from Kashmir to Kanyakumari are active in various fields, in improving the living standards of underprivileged women from urban and rural areas, and making their life more meaningful. • Keeping in mind the changing needs of the time, “Retail Training” programmes are being conducted by our members. It has opened new avenues of employment for young adults. We are happy to note that many of them are successful in getting jobs in the Retail Sector. On this platform we will share the good work being done by various branches in different States, and also to see how we can replicate the success stories all over India.
ROSHNI 6 I have met many of the members in your Regions during the Zonal Conferences, in Junagad - Gujarat, Indore, Hyderabad, Kandi, Pathankot, Mysore, Puri - Orissa and Mumbai, It was a good opportunity to interact with a large number of members mainly from the constituent branches, and to build a strong relationship with the branches. The impact of these conferences was excellent. The branches have been able to increase the number of members, especially the younger generation, who are impressed by the work done by AIWC. We have been able to achieve all this by the collective effort and participation of all the members. The Convocation of the Community College was held coinciding with Smt. Laxmi Menon Memorial Lecture on 30th November, 2011. It would be our tribute to Mrs. Laxmi Menon if we fix this date as the Convocation day ofAIWC Community Colleges. This year as President, AIWC I attended various Meetings of the Complaint Committee on Sexual Harassment of Women, with various Ministries. I also attended the working Group on Women's Agency and Empowerment for the 12th Five Year Plan, by the Ministry of Women & Child Development. New Programmes: India is a country of villages. We need to bring the rural population to the mainstream by providing educational facilities in the villages, especially technical skills to the rural population, The progress of country is possible if we succeed in developing the villages and make them self sustaining to prevent migration of people from rural to urban areas in search of employment. Our branches should extend their programmes to Rural areas in education, health, hygiene, water and sanitation. There is a change in our society, the elderly who are at the peak of their Golden Age, are missing their family life, most of the time they are forced to lead a lonely life. We have to bring back our culture, wherein the aged are not considered a liability but an asset. I have a Vision of a “self contained Family Nest”. The Family Nest will focus on the most important segment of society - senior citizens, children from weaker sections, and single working women who have no secure place to live. We are working on this. This concept may be adopted by any Branch who have space available and we can send them the Project module. It is noted that blindness among children is increasing in India. We can prevent blindness among children if the visual impairment is detected at an early stage. We will be starting this programme very soon. Branches should take up this programme in a big way. AIWC has a rich heritage and history. We have invaluable documents, books and photographs in our Library. These are a valuable source of information for Research Scholars and students not only in India but all over the world. We are taking various measures to preserve the legacy and upgrade the Library. Corruption in our Society has reached huge proportions and affecting our life. We as NGOs and women working for the betterment of society should work towards inculcating value system amongst younger generation. We are ready with the module for Leadership Training Programme for women, and will be rolling out the same soon. Sexual Harassment Committee has been formed in AIWC which is mandatory. The percentage of educated people in our country is increasing, women are getting empowered, but still
ROSHNI 7 the violence and crime against women is increasing day by day all over the country. I want our branches to go deeper into the reasons for the same and to see how we can bring about a safer society for our women. Among the 4 Trusts formed, the Health Trust has started its activities, the other two Trusts for old age and education will start their activities very soon. Ritu Gujarati, one of our young members from Chopada, Gujarat attended the Conference by Pan Pacific South East Asia Women's Association, held at Taiwan. This year a team of 4 people from AIWC Participated in the COP17 Meeting along with INFORSE at Durban. 2012 will be declared as the “Year of Sustainable Energy for All” by UN, and we will try to partner with them in many of the programmes. Last but not the least, I am grateful to the Kolkatta Branch for hosting the Annual Conference, and for the excellent arrangements made for the same. The celebration of International Womens Day, 2012 took place in Margaret Cousins Library, AIWC on 12th March. The library presented a festive welcoming look with decorations of flowers and rangoli. President Ms. Bina Jain presided over the occasion, in which the Chief Guest was Ms Madhubala Nath, Regional Policy Advisor, UN Women South Asia. Dr. Aparna Basu, Patron, AIWC introduced the Chief Guest who held an important portfolio in the UN and had written on the subject of womens empowerment. Ms. Nath in her informative address spoke of the five-pointed strategy of the UN for promoting womens empowerment, these were: Literacy, economic empowerment, political empowerment, preventing gender violence and support to women in war situations. The United Nations Objective was to inform and motivate all governments to implement policies for overall improvement in the status of women. She was glad to inform the gathering of many achievements of India in empowering women through various strategies and praised the role of AIWC in providing leadership at a national level for over 8 decades.In her remarks, president Ms Bina Jain, gave a brief account of the recently concluded UN meet on consultative status for women. AIWC had participated in the meeting and also organized a workshop on rural womens empowerment. The paper presented by AIWC at the international gathering of NGO’s was Empowering Rural Women South Asia. The NGO experience was greatly appreciated. A documentary film on AIWC activities for rural women in Haryana and West Bengal shown at the UN was shown and appreciated by the audience. Special invitees were two ladies from Sadhrana,AIWC’s adopted village, Ms Kiran and Ms Sunita. They spoke of their experiences in motivating village women to form SHGs and take up income generating work. In the subsequent discussion, Ms Kalpakam Yechury and Ms Kalyani Raj described the early struggles by AIWC to convince village folk in Sadhrana to allow women to come out of purdah. In her concluding remarks and vote of thanks, Ms Sheela Kakde, Secretary, spoke about the status of women in different countries as revealed at the recent UN meeting, and touched upon some advantages and gains that had come to Indian women in social political and economic empowerment, as well as the targets to be achieved. - Mythily Jagannathan International Womens Day Celebration in Delhi - 12th March 2012
8 A Report on Birth Centenary Celebrations of AIWC Patron Ashoka Gupta The 84th Annual Conference of All India Women`s Conference was held in Kolkata from 7th to 10th January 2012. It was organized at Udayachal Tourist Lodge Auditorium, DG Block, Sector-II, Salt Lake City, Kolkata – 700 091. Being the Birth Centenary year of our Patron Late Smt. Ashoka Gupta ,AIWC thought it right to pay tributes to her on 7th January 2012. AIWC President Smt. Bina Jain, the AIWC Patrons Dr. Sarojini Varadappan, Smt. Shobhana Ranade (representing Khadi Gramodyog), Smt. Kunti Paul, Dr.Aparna Basu Dr. Manorama Bawa ,Smt. Gomathi Nair, Smt. Rekha Modi from Stree Shakti, Smt. Hashna Saha representd Bharat Scouts, and Guides, West Bengal, Smt. Yasmin Sengupta from Mahila Samiti, Smt. Dipali Sarkar from Buniyadi Bidyapith, Mr. A.K.Roy from SOS Children's village, Smt.Chandreyee Alam Lawyer & Social Worker, Smt. Sheela Kakde, Secretary General, AIWC, Treasurer Smt. Usha Nair, AIWC graced the occasion with their presence. Three hundred and fifty delegates from various parts of the country as well as Presidents, Secretaries & members of all the branches of Kolkata participated too. The welcome address was delivered by Smt. Bina Jain, President, AIWC New Delhi. She paid her tribute with a wonderful speech where she mentioned that she had the honour of working with Asoka Gupta in a close proximity and came to admire the qualities of the illustrious person, who fought boldly to set up an old age home Vrindavan. The 'lighting of lamp' was done by the Chief Guest, Padmabhushan Shri Sailesh Bandopadhyay, the well known writer of 40 books translated in different languages. He is the recipient of the Bapu award too. He also paid a floral tribute to Smt.Ashoka Gupta. Members of AIWC branches felicitated president of AIWC Delhi Smt. Bina Jain, the Chief Guest Shri Sailesh Bandopadhyay, and all the honoured Patrons. The special issue of 'Roshni' an illustrious magazine, dedicated to the memory of Smt. Ashoka Gupta was released. Everyone, who spoke on that occasion, expressed a feeling of respect, reverence, admiration for her. Each speech focused on how she was held in high esteem elicited by her qualities & achievements. All the Patrons highlighted the great qualities & achievements ofAshoka Gupta. Smt. Hashna Saha, who represented Smt. Sandhya Guha Roy, read out a letter written by Smt. Sandhya Guha Roy. It enlightened us about the strong characteristics of Ashoka Gupta's personality. Smt. Kumkum read out a poem in memory of Ashoka Gupta. Smt. Ranade spoke of her personal relation with Ashoka Gupta . Smt. Yasmin Sengupta said she had empathy, compassion and child like enthusiasm. She worked in close proximity with Gandhiji at Noakhali for social justice when the whole place was in the group of a riot. She was a trustee of Kasturba trust & working with her was a roller coaster ride. Post 1947, she had formed a samiti which worked for child welfare, education, and training for occupational therapy with unflinching dedication. The samiti has evolved over the years. Smt. Dipali Sarkar from 'Buniyadi Bidyapith' said it was founded underAshoka Gupta's direction in 1953 ROSHNI
9 This sleepy village, about 20 km. from the madding crowd of Gurgaon city, came alive today with the arrival of former actress, Ms. Sharmila Tagore, and a host of office-bearers of the All India Women's Conference (AIWC). They launched a number of welfare schemes in the village such as a sewing center, welfare projects for youths, schemes for rain-water harvesting, herbal cultivation and renewable energy all for the purpose of women empowerment and fostering gender equity. All these centres and projects were under the theme of 'integrated development' of the village. The AIWC, a voluntary organization, having about 500 branches in the country with three of them in Haryana, has its Head-quarter in Delhi. Infact, the launching of the centres and projects was part of the celebrations of Platinum Jubilee year of theAIWC. The President of the AIWC, Dr. Aparna Basu told the 'NCR Tribune' that this village was chosen in Gurgaon district after a survey.The scale was tipped in its favour as it had a woman sarpanch. The AIWC has branches in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Rewari districts in Haryana. Efforts would be made to launch women-related projects at all its branches, Dr. Basu said. She said theAIWC would appoint teachers for running and managing the centres launched today. The president of the Gurgaon branch, Mrs.Asha Sharma, said that the women of the village have pledged to play a greater role in society. A number of them have shown keenness to be part of the adult literacy project being launched by theAIWC. What, however, pulled the heartstrings of women at the function was the views expressed by Ms. Sharmila Tagore. She said that Parliament and social organizations must play an active role in empowering the women who are the backbone of any society. The world will also be a better place if women are given a pride of place, she added. This village was part of the royal estate. No wonder, the members of Sharmila's family, Tiger Pataudi et al, hold charm and inspire awe among the residents of the nearby villages. - Clipping from NCR Tribune News Service, March 5, 2003 Sadhrana (Gurgaon), March 5, 2003 with 25 children. She worked with the children of slum and industrial workers. When Dipali Sarkar joined as the headmistress of the school in 1967, she had the good fortune to know her better. Mr. A.K. Roy spoke on behalf of SOS children's village. Ashoka Gupta was the President of SOS village. She was fond of dance and music so introduced it for the children of SOS village. He sang two songs which was appreciated by all the members and guests who were present in the tribute ceremony. Smt. Chandreyee Alam told that she has some family relation with Ashoka Gupta. She spoke about her personal relationship with Smt. Asoka Gupta. She said, in spite of losing her son, Smt. Ashoka Gupta dedicated her life for the upliftment of the poor and needy. She rose above party politics, instilled confidence in women and strove for women empowerment and enlightenment. While concluding the programme with the vote of thanks the Secretary General Smt. Sheela Kakde paid her tributes also. --Sheela Kakde, Secretary General,AIWC ROSHNI
ROSHNI 10 Secretary General’s Annual Report for the 84th Annual Conference of AIWC at Kolkata, 7th to 10th January2012. NAMASKAR! Honourable Patrons, Respected President , Dear Vice Presidents and Treasurer, Members in Charge, Zonal organizers, Standing committee members and delegates, I extend hearty welcome for the 84th Annual Conference of AIWC at Kolkata, and wish each one of you a very Happy, Healthy, Peaceful & Prosperous 2012. I feel happy to remember the glorious past of our great organization during the centenary year of our beloved patron, lateAshoka Gupta. Let us pay our respects to the memory of this great soul with her yeoman services to the cause of women and children and their development .We should not let this glory and standards achieved by our predecessors slip out of our hands. We as custodians of this great tradition have to nurture and pass this on to younger members. It is my privilege to stand before you and give you an account of our performance in the first year of our tenure. We all very well know that 500 and odd branches that we have, throughout the country constitute the bony system of AIWC, and to keep it functioning well we arranged an orientation programme for the nine Zonal organizers and five Vice Presidents on 10th -11th of March 2011.Guidelines were given to them for strengthening the branches and conduct zonal meetings. It was very well received and the result is promising. Zonal Organizers have travelled to branches and have collected the data about the branches, have given the details about the functioning. Still this work requires some more time to put it before you. Zonal organizers are requested to translate the circulars in the local language so that it becomes easier to understand and take up the various one day awareness programs, and big programs of Anemia free society, adolescent program, Literacy and skill learning, Socio-economic program. At Head Office - Important Events – Four Trusts-- 1.Trust for the Property, 2.Trust for Health, 3.Trust for Senior Citizens, 4.Trust for Education were registered with AIWC President, Mrs. Bina Jain as the Settler on 2nd February, 2011. Felicitation of Patron Padmabhushan Smt. Shobhana Ranade was done on receiving the award in the presence of members. - Sheela Kakde, Secretary General, AIWC.
ROSHNI 11 Six days training for retailers was held in collaboration with Bharti Walmart at the Head Office inAugust. 10 members from Gurgaon. Chandigarh, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Peth-Nasik, Chopada took the training. Four training programs are conducted, 1 in Gurgaon, 2 in Mumbai and 1 in Peth-Nasik. Eighty five children have taken the training. 4 have been absorbed in the retail industry.All participants will be given certificates. Important days like Sarojini Naidu`s Birthday, International Women`s Day, World Health Day, International Women`s Day, International Anti Terrorist Day, Laxmi Menon`s birthday were observed. Laxmi Menon Memorial lecture on “Challenges in Literacy of Women” was arranged on the convocation ceremony of Community College; Prof. Shyam B. Menon was the Chief Guest. At Head Office we celebrated Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore`s 150 BirthAnniversary on 24th May 11 and on 14th Sept. Panel discussion on “Gender Issues in Tagore`s work” was held on 14th Sept. This program was sponsored by Ministry of CulturalAffairs, Government of India and was very well appreciated. Orientation program, Farewell party, first Convocation ceremony for the Community College students were held with eminent speakers like Dr. C. K. Ghosh Director IGNOU, Prof. Shyam B. Menon. Principal of the Community College Dr. Vatts has given all the details in her report. Various awareness programs like Violence Against Women, Ill effects of Tobacco, Food safety and adulteration, legal awareness on Section 498A for counselors were held at the Head Office. Two medical camps of Bone Density and Thyroid estimation and Anemia detection and treatment were conducted at the Head Office premises. National Foundation for Communal Harmony, Ministry of Home Affairs had sanctioned Four programs on Communal Harmony. Three programs are successfully conducted, by the Bhopal branch, in Madhya Pradesh, by Bruhad Surat branch in Gujarat, by Malegaon branch, in Maharashtra. Hyderabad branch in Andhra Pradesh will do this program in January, 2012. You can get the glimpses of all the above mentioned activities on slide show. Permanent DepartmentalActivities— 1. Estate &Aga khan Hall – a) The second shaft of Sarojini House is repaired. b) External backside of Sarojini House painted. c) Renovation of theAdministrative Block in KD Hostel is done d) Third toilet at theTrustee House is done e) Entrance of Bapnu Ghar is redone and repairs internally done. f) OldAir-conditioning plant in the basement is renovated and hall is used by Community College. g) 3rd floor toilets of Sarojini House are redone. Aga Khan Hall—Both the Exhibition halls are rented throughout the year and are very popular for exhibitions. 2. Hostel & Mess- In the campus we have Sarojini House, K.D. Hostel and L.M. Hostel which provides accommodation for 250 working women and trainees. Double rooms, Single rooms and dormitory and guest rooms are available.AIWC members on recommendation from their branch can avail this facility.
ROSHNI 12 a) New Mess Manager Ms. Gayatri Sharma is appointed. b) New Wardens Ms. Nirupama Raghav for KD & LM Hostel and Ms.Anjali Karmarka for Sarojini Hostel are appointed. c) Dining Hall of the Mess is renovated. There are about 24 Working women`s Hostels run byAIWC branches. Mrs.Asha Gambhir`s report gives the details. 3. Bapnu Ghar - in Head Office campus, is a shelter for women in distress. It houses 30 women and children. There are 3 programs going on simultaneously like Short Stay Home, Family Counseling Center and 24 Hour Helpline. The women are given vocational training to be self supportive. Mrs. Kuljit Kaur has reported extensively. Short Stay Homes--There are about 20 Short Stay Homes run by our branches. 4. Roshni- Mrs. Veena Kohli is taking care of this in house quarterly magazine very meticulously. A special issue on our beloved PatronAshoka Gupta is released in the centenary year. You can get membership by paying Rs. 200/-, along with the membership form duly filled. 5. MCM Library- Margaret Cousins Memorial Library houses nearly 10,000 books and 40 periodicals. Researchers, professionals and academicians come for consultations. Now the archival restoration of the important documents is going on. 6. Senior Citizen`s Home-AIWC runs a old age home at Vrindavan which houses 32 old women above the age of 65 years and 25 women and children in Short Stay Home at Tarash Mandir. The renovation work at the home is nearly complete and women at Infirmary will be shifted soon. 7. Rithala Project- Vocational training classes are run for Computer Training and Beauty Culture at Rithala, sponsored by NDPL. 8. Mobile Helpline- Delhi Commission for Women has given us the project of 24 hours Mobile Helpline since 2010 and has extended up to 2012. 9. Energy Dept.- Four Solar Fairs were arranged by the Energy department, sponsored by MNRE. Repair of Solar equipments was taught to the participants. Member in Charge Mrs. Lalita Balakrishnan`s report gives the details. 10. Community College- IGNOU certified Community College is being run in the basement area of Sarojini House . It offers degree and certificate courses in Computer training, certificate and diploma in Textile printing,, Beauty Culture,Ayurvedic Massage and Panch Karma, and spoken English. 11. AIWC supports 151 crèches run by the 40 branches by funding Re.1/- per child for food. This year, we added following branches-- 1. Samaksha Community Center for Family Health (6), 2.AIWC Mysore Zone branch (6), 3.AIWC Central Kolkata Constituency (2), 4.Mobile Creche, Pune Mahila Mandal (1), 5.AIWC South Kerala branch,Alappuzha (15) are added. 3775 Children are the beneficiaries.
ROSHNI 13 Meetings - International meetings - 1. Pan Pacific South East Asia Women`s Association meeting at Taiwan was attended by Miss Ritu Gujrathi from Chopada, Maharashtra. 2. COP-17 on Climate Change at Durban was attended by Hon. Treasurer Smt. Usha Nair, Smt. Shantha Das, Smt. KalpakamYechury, Smt. Suman Saxena. Zonal Meetings-- Throughout the year following zonal meetings were arranged by the branches which gave opportunity to the office bearers to meet the members of the constituent branches – No. Date Zone Zonal Organiser Venue Host Branch 1. 13.3.11 Western zone B Dr.Tripti Vyas Girnar Junagarh, Gujarat 2. 20.4.11 Central zoneA Neeru Jain Meerut Meerut, U.P. 3. 7. 8.11 Central zone B GeetaTiwari Indore Indore, M.P. 4. 10.9.11 North zone Asha Sharma Kandi Kandi Pathankot 5. 20 .9.11 South zoneA Rehana Begum Hyderabad HyderabadA.P. 6. 3.10.11 South zone B GouriAdiyodi Mysore Mysore, Karnataka 7. 18.11.11 Eastern zone Shikha Mitra Puri Puri, Orissa 8. 07.12.11 Western zoneA Rekha Sali Mumbai Vile Parle, Mumbai S.No. Programmes Beneficiaries 1. General Health Awareness 1165 2. Legal Awareness 1083 3. Consumer Awareness 305 4. Save the Girl & Female Feticide 290 5. Disaster Mgt. 325 6. Waste , Water & Sanitation 100 7. Rural Development 85 8. Health Camps ( Anemia, Thyroid, Dental, Cancer 2384
14 ROSHNI At Branches - In the year 2011 we have sanctioned 137 one day awareness programs that were applied for, out of that 82 programs have been completed and reports received and money released. 23 programmes are sanctioned in November-December, hence the report is awaited. 32 sanctioned programs are not done even after the sanction is given. On the next page the pie chart gives you an idea as to number of programs done in each category. We have started giving programmes to constituent branches directly as it is found that some of the constituent branches are doing extremely well. The statistical data for big programs is as follows - Project No.of Programs No. of beneficiaries Remarks 1. Anemia Project 89 9196 4444 found anemic 949 cured 2. Adolescents prog. 21 449 3. Integrated Literacy 21 Women 647 Skill chosen— & Skill Development Prog. Children 527 Bag making, beautician Artificial jewelery, soft toys Cutting tailoring, embroidery, Wood craft, tussar silk reeling 4. Bidi workers 4 67 Program conducted 2. 5. Socio Economic 2 Sanctioned to - 1. Samyukta 2.Priyadarshani Mahila Mandali 6. Adopted Villages At this point I would like to congratulate the following branches for doing commendable work. Heartiest Congratulations Maximum awareness programs done by the following branches:- . 1. South West East Delhi Women`sAssociation. (7 programs) 2. AIWC, East Kolkata Constituency (4) 3. Samyukta and its constituent branches &AIWCTrivandrum branch (3 each) ---------------------- 4. East Kolkata Constituency branch has done 2 Bidi workers programs this year. Exclusive Efforts 1. AIWC Jogeshwari constituent branch Mumbai (Cancer detection) Chart Showing Total Number of Beneficiaries in TheYear 2011.
ROSHNI 15 2. AIWC South West Calcutta Constituency. ( Nari Siksha Sadan) - Breast cancer 3. Akhil Hind Mahila Parishad ,Vile Parle branch, Mumbai ( Skin Donation after Death) 4. AIWC Junagadh Branch (Rubella vaccine) 5. AIWC Calicut Chapter ( Cancer among Women) 6. Mahila Mandal- Malad (Cancer among women and hightech care) 7. ChamtagaraAdibasi Mahila Samiti ( Rain Water Harvesting) 8. Stree Shakti Mahila Samajam,Trivandrum distt. ( Lifestyle Diseases) Great Implementation 1. Bhopal branch—Program on Communal Harmony was very well done and reported covering all the aspects given in the guidelines 2. AIWC, East Kolkata Constituency branch - has done Anemia program with 3 review camps done as per guidelines and reported. 3. AIWCAgra branch –has done program on Environment with school children I am sure this will inspire many more branches to take up the programs. I have included all the reports received till 20th December 2011, though the deadline given was up to 5th December. You may find the highlights of the reports in the annexures; the main report can be obtained from the MCM library. AIWC Shares the Grief 1. Earthquake victims of North Eastern region are given help in kind worth Rs. 25,000/- through Darjeeling branch. 2. Family members of riot victims of Amarnath Yatra Samiti are given help worth Rs. 20,000/- through Jammu branch. For the past one year our team has been putting on best efforts to professionalize the work on the basis of transparency and accountability. It is true that women in our country are still deprived, discriminated and depressed section of our society. AIWC`s main aim of uplifting women from poverty and empowering them to attend their rightful place in society is yet to be achieved.There is long way to go and many challenges ahead. ButAIWC has great potentials; it has necessary resources, both human and financial. We have to match and channelize them properly. We should be able to launch some constructive, innovative, sustainable development oriented programs for women, which our branches can implement, with Zonal Organizers playing the crucial role of coordinating the activities. I am sure you all will cooperate. Let me take this opportunity to put on record my appreciation and thanks to our President, Mrs. Bina Jain, who has not spared any efforts in providing leadership to all of us; to all our Patrons for their whole hearted support and timely advice and guidance; to our treasurer, Mrs. Usha Nair for putting efforts to maintain transparency in the accounts section; to Vice Presidents, to members in charge, zonal organizers, Presidents and Secretaries of our branches, to our office staff and to all of you ,who have come from far-away places to express your active support to our team. THANKYOUALL.
ROSHNI 16 The standing committee of the All-India Women's Conference will meet in Kolkata to celebrate its 84th year on January 8, and this is quite a feat in longevity and service. With over 500 branches and consultative status with the UN's Economic and Social Council, as well as a steadily growing mem- bership of over 100,000, the conference is the oldest such organisation in the country. However, with more professionally-run and donor- funded NGOs taking the limelight, be it in tribal rights, AIDS awareness or taking care of the elderly, the question often mooted is: are such organisations still relevant? Do models based on volunteerism — be it mobile creches or the Indian Council for Child Welfare — still work? These organisations were built by women who gladly gave their time after fulfilling duties as homemakers; now professionals with degrees from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, the School of Oriental and African Studies, Johns Hopkins, etc, who churn out spreadsheets and flow charts with the databases of funding agencies on their BlackBerrys and iPhones, hold sway. But be it Florence Nightingale or Mother Teresa, these so-called "underqualified" women propelled by a "vocation" have left a great impact on our life and times. Women like Ashoka Gupta, Kamaladevi Chattop-adhyaya, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Rameshwari Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Lakshmi Menon and its current crop of Padma Bhushan, Sarojini Varadappan and Shobana Ranade, have built the AIWC. The AIWC's founder, an Englishwoman named Margaret Cousins, was another such woman who answered a call to organise women's emancipation in January 1927 in what was then called Poona. Their mission was to impart education and free thought to prepare them, as it were, for the bugle call of the nation's freedom struggle. Bina Jain, herself a grassroots worker and the AIWC's current president argued that both tradition and volunteerism do have a place even in the India of today. While younger donor-driven organisations can flourish, the AIWC has longevity — a clinching argument when applied In praise of volunteerism, both old and new to current personality-driven NGOs with not-so-long histories. In keeping with today's needs, the AIWC has taken an important new initiative to train women in retail, to develop a community college for the underprivileged, and to propagate renewable and solar energy, in addition to managing its early mandate of working women's hostels, widows' homes, lepers' homes and even computer literacy courses. The National Commission for Women was also established in 1992 as a statutory body, due to the persistence and struggles of women's organisations, just as in the past the AIWC played a significant legislative role in ensuring the provision of universal adult franchise as well as the passage of the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, popularly known as the Sarda Act, the Hindu Code Bill (1955-56), the Devdasi Protection Act (1934), the Factory and Mines Act (1948/1987), Maternity Benefits Act (1961), and the like. It pioneered educational institutions in 1932 (AIWEFA), led to the establishment of Lady Irwin College, India's first college of home sciences for women; the Family Planning Centre, established in 1937, which is now the Family Planning Association of India; Save the Children Committee, established in 1943, now the Indian Council for Child Welfare; and the Cancer Research Institute, established in 1952, now the Cancer Institute, Chennai. The women who created these institutions also self- lessly dedicated themselves to the cause of improving the lives of people in India's villages and urban slums. So while we celebrate the "career social worker", let's not ignore a century's contribution by women who remain unsung and uncelebrated for their service to the nation. (Manju Kak is an author, women's activist and cultural historian) Courtsey :AsianAge, 6th Jan 2012 - Dr. Manju Kak, Member-in-charge, Media AIWC
ROSHNI 17 Vidyagauri and her sister Sharda were the first two women graduates of Gujarat. At a time when girls hardly went to school, these two sisters continued their education after marriage, matriculated, went to a co-education college and graduated in 1901. Vidyagauri was born on 1st June 1876 in Ahmedabad in the haveli of her maternal grandfather, Bholanth Sarabhai Divetia who was an eminent religious and social reformer and one of the founders of the Gujarat Prarthna Samaj in Ahmedabad. He had five sons and two daughters. Vidyagauri was the daughter of Balaben, the younger daughter. Bholanath named her Vidyagauri after one of his heroes, Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar. Bholanath was interested both in social and religious reforms and held that one of the chief means whereby women could be emancipated was education. While Vidyagauri was still in school, she was married at the age of thirteen to Ramanbhai, son of the social reformer and educationist Mahipatram Rupram Neelkanth, one of the founders of the Prarthana Samaj in Gujarat and the first Nagar Brahmin to go to England to study. This was President Vidyagauri Neelkanth (1876-1958) - Dr. Aparna Basu extremely fortunate for had she been married into an orthodox family, she could not have continued her education. It was Ramanbhai's support which made it possible for Vidyagauri to appear for her Matriculation examination and then go on to college. She then joined Gujarat College and graduated in 1901, topping the list of successful candidates in Philosophy of the Bombay University. In 1902, when the Indian National Congress held its annual session in Ahmedabad, Vidyagauri and Sharda sang Vande Mataram from the dais which was quite a bold act as in those days, women from respectable families did not sing in public. Vidyagauri was a signatory to the Memorandum submitted in 1917 by Margaret Cousins, Sarojini Naidu and other leading members of the Women's IndianAssociation to the Secretary of State for India, Lord Montague, asking for votes for women. She was Secretary, Vice-President or President of numerous philanthropic, educational, literary and women's organizations such as the Mahipatram Rupram Anathashram (orphanage), Gujarat Vernacular Society (now called the Gujarat Vidya Sabha), the Prarthana Samaj, Victoria Jubilee Hospital, Divalibai Girls' School, Ranchhodlal Chhotalal Girls' School, Maganbhai Karamchand Girls' School, Social ReformAssociation and Gujarat Sahitya Sabha.. She was the first woman to be nominated to the Ahmedabad Municipal Council and was Vice President of the Municipality and Chairman of the Municipal School Board. She did not aspire for any position, honour or power but did all this social work out of a genuine concern for the poor, the underprivileged and the children oppressed. Throughout her life of 82 years, she worked for the welfare of women and children of Gujarat. When in 1936, the Diamond Jubilee of her birth was being celebrated inAhmedabad, Mahatma Gandhi in
ROSHNI 18 a message said, “No celebration is enough for Vidyaben because she is an ornament of Indian womanhood. The more we can honour her, the better. She is an ardent social reformer but at the same time maintains our traditions.” Vidyagauri started the Gujarat Branch of theAll India Women's Conference of which she was President for many years. She was elected national President of theAll India Women's Conference and presided over its Lucknow session held in 1933. In her Presidential address she said that the “the first and foremost work that is to be taken into hands is the removal of illiteracy. Unless and until this is done, efforts in other directions of progress are bound to fail.. the avowed object of our Conference is educational and social reform.” She wanted government to introduce compulsory primary education and suggested that there should be more vocational schools to provide employment and a greater variety of subjects in our universities, such as fine arts, music and painting, domestic science, etc. so that girls would have a wider choice. She also emphasized the importance of social reform. Early marriage, dowry, prohibition of widow remarriage, polygamy, divorce laws all these needed urgent reform and “women should leave no stone unturned to attain the goal”. She spoke of the need to reform the existing Hindu law of inheritance. She said that it was no use meeting every year, passing resolutions and then sleeping over them. It was important that branches should try to implement the plans and programmes chalked out throughout the year. "Earnest endeavours for imparting education, educating public opinion, agitating for improvement in legislatures…are needed." Vidyagauri was deeply committed to the cause of women's education. She started adult education classes for women. She was one of the founders of the Gujarat Stree Kelavni Mandal to promote higher education among women. It took over the Lalshankar Umiashankar Mahila Pathshala, a girls' college affiliated to Karve University, later known as SNDT University. She taught in this college in various capacities. Apart from her work for social reform and education, Vidyagauri was also a writer. She frequently contributed articles to various Gujarati women's magazines. She, together with her sister, Shardaben Mehta, translated R.C.Dutt's The Lake of Palms into Gujarati. She collaborated with her husband in editing a journal, Gyan Sudha and also in writing several books. She presided over the Gujarat Sahitya Parishad in 1943, the first woman to do so. She was very keen on establishing libraries all over Gujarat. . In 1939 the Indian National Congress, under the Chairmanship of Jawaharlal Nehru set up a National Planning Committee with Rani Laxmibai Rajwade as President of the women's sub-committee to formulate a women's plan. Lady Neelkanth was a member of this sub-committee which submitted a very radical and forward looking plan for improving the status of women. Vidyagauri Neelkanth devoted her whole life to the women's cause. Girls who wanted to marry outside their caste or not marry men chosen by their parents, widows who wanted to re-marry, women whose husbands or in-laws ill-treated them all came to her for help and advice. She was active in theAIWC in its fight to get the Sharda Bill,(raising the age of consent of marriage), passed and was equally vocal in her support for the Hindu Code Bill. Adevoted wife, a loving mother, a social reformer, an educationist, writer and a woman of remarkable intelligence, kindness, integrity and simplicity, Vidyagauri Neelkanth was a role model for hundreds of girls in twentieth century Gujarat and an illustrious President of theAll India Women's Conference. - Dr.Aparna Basu Palron, AIWC (grand daughter of President AIWC, Vidyagauri Neelkanth)
ROSHNI 19 Sarala Roy (1861-1946) President, AIWC 1932 Sarala Roy was the eldest daughter of the renowned Brahmo reformer, Durgamohan Das and sister of S.R.Das and Abala Bose (wife of the famous scientist Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose). She was a cousin of Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das and Sudhir Chandra Das (Chief Justice of India). She belonged to the famous Das family of Telirbagh, Dhaka, now in Bangladesh. At the age of 18 she married Dr. P.K.Roy of the Indian Education Service who became the first Indian Principal of Presidency College, Kolkata. Their daughter, Charulata was married to Satish Chandra Mukherji,ICS. Their children were Renuka Ray, Member of Lok Sabha and Minister of Refugee and Rehabilitation in Dr. B.C.Roy's cabinet in West Bengal, Air Marshal Subroto Mukherji, Prashanta Mukherji, General Manager of Bengal Nagpur Railway and Nita Sen. Sarala Ray was among the early students of Banga Mahila Vidyalaya and Bethune School, the first girls' school founded by John Drinkwater Bethune, Law Member in Lord Dalhousie's Council, in 1849 in Kolkata. She devoted her life to women's education. She established a girls' school in Dhaka when her husband was posted there. After their return to Kolkata, she was a member of Sakhi Samiti, the first women's association in India, established by Swarnakumari Devi, sister of Rabindranath Tagore. She inspired women from Bhadralok Families to take part in dance dramas. Tagore's dance drama, Mayar Khela was dedicated to her and it was first performed at Bethune School. She was very generous in her hospitality and the drawing room of Dr. and Mrs. P.K.Roy was the meeting place of the then leaders of political thought and social reform, as well as of foreign scholars, scientists, diplomats and heads of religious orders. Mrs. Roy lived in London for some years when her husband was posted in there as Education Advisor to Indian students. It was during these years that she started the Indian Women's Association with the purpose of providing scholarships for the training of Indian women teachers in the UK. She met Gopal Krishna Gokhale in London and he became a friend and mentor. When her son died, she was in deep depression and Gokhale asked her to start a girls' school. After Gokhale's death, she founded a school in 1921 and named it Gokhale Memorial Girls' High School, an inter-provincial institution on new educational lines, introducing domestic science, laundry, music, comparative religion, sports and games for girls, subjects which till then did not appear in the curriculum in girls' schools. I have memories of that school as I studied there in my early years and both my sisters studied there from kindergarten till they passed out. Sarala Roy was an educationist with a vision and long before the three language formula was thought of by the government, all students in the school had to learn three languages- Bengali, English and Hindi. The medium of instruction in the primary school was Bengali but English was taught from the primary level by English teachers. Once a week we had sports and plays were staged once a year. School began every morning with prayer songs of Rabindranath Tagore. Jana Gana Mana was the school anthem long before it became the national anthem. Mrs. Roy was the first woman to become secretary of the Brahmo Balika Shikshalaya. She was a member of the Calcutta University Senate and one of the leaders of the All India Women's Conference. She was elected President of AIWC in 1931 to preside over the fourth session held in Madras. In her presidential address she emphasized that the keynote of the Conference was educational reform. She pointed out the deplorable condition of women's education in India and the high rate of illiteracy among Indian women. In her address she outlined her ideas on women's education. She was a pioneer for women's rights and opposed all the injustices and oppression that women suffered. She died in 1946 full of hounours. - Dr. Aparna Basu, Patron AIWC
ROSHNI 20 AIWC reaches Rural Women through its initiative of adoption of villages - Vijaya Bhasin, Programme Manager AIWC Empowering rural women is the base on which the pillars of rural development stand strongly.AIWC believes that women, especially from rural areas need more attention as far as empowerment of women is concerned. Village women do not have easy access to services like health, education, technology, legal etc.In view of these facts, focus of AIWC's activities now is on overall development of rural women. Programmes geared towards awareness generation on various issues related to health, hygiene sanitation, water, waste management combined with literacy and income generation activities, Aim to make women socially and economically empowered. The other objective is that they do not migrate to urban areas in search of work and at the same time preserve the traditional art and culture. Activities for empowerment of rural women were intensified under the programme 'Adoption of Villages'. It is visualised that this approach would benefit the community as a whole and women in particular and general conditions of the village improve The programmes introduced in the villages aim at mobilization of poor women and convergence of services, by offering them a range of economic and social options, along with necessary support measures to enhance their capabilities It integrates various need based programmes like literacy, health, water, sanitation, waste management, promotion of herbal gardens, etc. with economic activities in villages to have an overall impact on the lives of rural women Sadhrana located in Gurgaon-Haryana is the first village where AIWC started its activities in 2002. From Delhi, it is a two hours journey. This village narrates a success story of empowered women. Agriculture is the main occupation in the village. Women of the village wanted land for cultivation. Through AIWC's intervention, women self help groups were formed.Panchayat was contacted and land was given on lease to these women self help groups. The land was barren. There was no water for irrigation and without water, land was of no use. AIWC provided water submersible pump. The women purchased sprinkler from self help group money. Now they grow wheat, peas, millets, marigold flowers, sunflowers. There are 17 Self Help groups. According to them now no woman is poor. Children are getting good education. Women are empowered. Kirani became sarpanch and from panchayat funds she introduced many facilities in the village like road to reach the field, toilets for women. She fought with panchayat who were against sending her daughter outside the village for
ROSHNI 21 higher education. Empowered as she was, she was adamant to educate her daughter even against the views of panchayat.Today her daughter has passed police training and soon she will be getting posting in Gurgaon. She tells this with great pride. Sunita –another empowered woman is secretary of AIWC's branch in village. Her children are also technically qualified. The groups are self sufficient. Herbal gardening, Jute bag making, vemi composting are some of the activities they have ventured into. After learning cutting and tailoring,Gita has opened her own tent house. Dairy farming has been taken up by Kirani.They participate in fairs of Government by putting their stalls and are happy. Now this village has turned out to be a branch of AIWC.The women are empowered stand up if any injustice is done to any woman and are in need of some help Fathahabad village-West Bengal Fathahabad village is around 40 km. away from Calcutta. The village has 650 families consisting of 643 Muslim and 7 Hindu families.The problems of the village are as under- 1. No drinking water/hygiene. 2. No education 3. No other work than bidi rolling or production of fire works. 4. No control on population. 5. Trafficking and migration problems. East Calcutta constituency branch has changed the lives of many women bidi workers residing in this village.The branch is working since 1st July,2010 . Sarpanch, school teachers are working with branch members. To start with, women bidi workers were sensitized on the bad effects of tobacco on the health .This was followed by providing them training in alternate vocations .Women self help groups were formed and the accounts of these women were opened in banks. Now they are earning well. They make soft toys,noodles,jewellery items from jute, and artificial flowers. Motivating women to shift to alternate vocations, and sending children to schools was a big challenge, but with concerted efforts of our members, it was made possible. Now children and women attend integrated literacy and skill development classes. Other challenges in the village were related to health, sanitation and water problems .Anemia detection camps are conducted and medicines are provided to anemic patients .After 3 months review camps are conducted for assessing the status of hemoglobin. In the village, awareness programmes are being conducted. Through women pressure groups ,the local panchayat bodies have been convinced to improve conditions in of the village. Training programmes for the adolescents on enhancing life skills are conducted.They are given training on subjects like health,reproductive health,HiV/Aids ,nutrition,relation building,career options etc. Chamtagara village- West Bengal It is a tribal village located at a remote place. It has an overnight journey from Calcutta. Skill centered literacy module is introduced to attract women .They get training in skill and also become literate. Market links are explored for selling the products. They are learning the skills in bamboo art and fishing hooks. This module has helped in retaining women for the literacy.
ROSHNI 22 Children get supportive education for coping with the school curriculum. Non formal education for 3-6 year old children is also provided. 'PERUVAMPADAM' ST COLONY IN NILAMBUR, KERALA. This is the adopted village by our Nilambur Branch. Families living in this Cluster 92 Number of Population 583 Women 287 Number of children who are Under 12 years 104 When a baseline Survey of the Colony was made it was observed that there is high rate of illiteracy, % age of dropouts was very high. There was extreme poverty and exploitation of laborers. It was further observed that not only men but women also have habit of drinking liquor. After adoption of the village, every day women started coming to the centre asking for work, education etc. men are also interested in developing good habits and live in hygienic condition. With eight sewing machines for cutting, tailoring classes, they are making dresses, gowns, uniforms etc. Marketing is not a problemin the area. The Secretary of Nilambur Branch has very good contacts in the city and businessmen are ready to give business to these groups. There are 2 SHG groups. In the Literacy class 20 students are there and in skill training 18 students are there. On weekends they conduct special programmes on covering women's issues, sanitation ,health,hygiene etc. Since it is a tribal area,women are familiar with herbal plants. Under socio-economic programme of AIWC,medicinal unit is functioning well and has been linked toAyurveda hospital. 'Junoti' village- Maharashtra In this village there are 146 tribal families and population is 879. 95% families are below poverty line. Since they do not have certificate, they are not getting any benefit from Govt. Schemes. As the village is near Nasik city,the major business is cultivation of grapes. The business men need laborers for the activity. They pay advance money and force the people to work for them. Hence most of the male members of the family are out of village for 7-8 months and the women have to take care of the families. One primary school is available in the village. The basic needs are water, sanitation, good house, some vocational training for women, literacy program etc. Literacy classes have been started. The women are given training in broom making, agarbatti making and stitching. Awareness programmes on health nutrition etc.For adolescent girls capacity building programme are also being conducted. Kommargiri village-Kakinada-A.P. This village narrates the success story of women. who earlier worked as bonded laborers and now through the initiative of AIWC Now they have been freed from the hands of contractors and now they work on their own looms and weave traditional sarees .They are confident and are leading independent life. They have saved the, traditional art of weaving Jamdani sarees. Kommargiri is a small village in East Godavari district
ROSHNI 23 of Andhra Pradesh.It is located at a distance of 15. i.e. from Kakinada. No. of households 1348 Population 5504 Men 2773 Women 2731 Cultivators 240 Agricultural laborers 1854 The success story of this village is visible in the confident faces of women weavers who earlier worked as bonded laborers. AIWC in collaboration with CSWB has adopted a village Komarigiri, in memory of Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh on the occasion of her Centenary celebration programme at Kakinada A.P. It was inaugurated by Chair person CSWB,Mrs. Kariappa in June 2009.The CSWB has sanctioned the grant in aid for the village under the innovative scheme for the following activities- • Awareness generation • Condensed course (14 passed out of 25 students who were mainly village women with children) • A unit of saree weaving center ( ongoing) • A unit of coconut oil extraction ( ongoing) The Spectrum Industry has been contacted as a part of their CSR to that village. The task is not yet complete. It is difficult and full of challenges. We have to move further facing challenges and to bring the smile on many faces. The journey will continue drawing strength and inspiration from our stalwarts' .It will be possible with team of our committed workers who have strong will power and determination. As a finale of the AIWC Platinum Jubilee Celebrations, the pilot village project was inaugurated on 5th March 2006. We chose this day, to coincide with International Women;s Day i.e. 8th March. As a sequence of a resolution made at the Jubilee Session at Pune by Mrs. Kalpakam Yechury, the head office decided to adopt a village close to the headquarters, so as to have an ‘integrated development’ at the grass root level. AIWC intends to develop it into a model village integrating projects from sanitation to micro-credit. After conducting a survey of more than 10 villages aroumd Delhi (Haryana, Faridabad, Nazafgarh), the committee decided to adopt village Sadhrana in Haryana - near Sultanpur bird sanctuary. This village has all the problems that every other village has, but the main motivation is that the sarpanch is a woman, and we felt that all the women were already well motivated. Smt. Bedwati, village sarpanch is a dedicated worker for the cause of village upliftment and is willing to take up new initiatives. AIWC was happy that women along with men attended the programme, which is very rare in this area. Mrs. Veena Kohli, Treasurer of AIWC, thanked all the people present and the persons who made the function a success. It was satisfying to read the reports in the press about “the sleepy village came alive with activity”. (From Roshni 2006) Peep into the past 2006-Adoption of Village Sardhana
ROSHNI 24 - Mythily Jagannathan Development of agriculture and alled sectors is critical
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