Displayed below are summaries of features. To read the full text of recent articles you have to place a request. Click here for information on how to order. For a free read, click here.

Meet Women Who Are Making The Right Moowes
Hema Vijay

This is a Self Help Group with a twist. All its members are well-educated, metro women with a passion and acumen for business. In fact, some of them became entrepreneurs far back in the 1970s and 1980s, an era when female entrepreneurs were virtually unheard of. Started by Chennai-based Geetha Vishwanathan, MOOWES (Marketing Organization Of Women Entrepreneurs) helps its members set up small-scale enterprises and market their products so that they can achieve economic liberation. In fact, a collective that began with just eight women now has a whopping 751 members and counting and MOOWES women deal in everything from apparel and craft to leather goods and software.

“There are plenty of opportunities out there. It is up to us to seize and utlise them,” says Vishwanathan, who recently received the Global Woman Achiever Award.

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDO826 1200 words

Giving Girls A Fighting Chance In Haryana
Amrita Nandy

In the last decade or so, Haryana has seen the launch of several social campaigns, by state and non-state actors, targeted at bringing down its dismal sex ratio - 879 women per 1000 men – one of the lowest in the country. In fact, even the prime minister picked the state to kick off the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (Save Girl Child, Educate Girl Child) scheme that focuses on ensuring the survival, protection and empowerment of the girl child. Battleground Haryana’s newest entrant, Mission Hazaar, too, has come up with solutions to overcome the shameful reality of “missing girls”. But what sets this movement apart from the rest? Based on extensive research, perception mapping and one-on-ones with over 10,000 students, the campaign is tackling the complex issue of gender biased sex selection with people-centric slogans and messages as well as interactions with village health workers to help change mindsets about son preference and discriminatory attitudes towards daughters.

“There is much data on the issue already. We wanted the conversation to evolve from within the community so we engaged with students, teachers, bureaucrats, health workers and panchayat representatives, among others. We wanted it to be a rights-based perspective.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDO122R 1100 words

Men For Women At The Panchayat
Suchismita Pai

It was extreme anxiety that drove Sampata Shivaji Babar and Kalavati Sambhaji Babar to Baburao Sadashiv Bhajnavle. In Manegaon village of Maharashtra’s Solapur district, women were not just expected to keep quiet they were also expected to be invisible. On the domestic front they had to take on the responsibility of the household without any complaints and in the village they had to move around barefoot with their face hidden behind their sari. But desperate times call for desperate measures. With failing agriculture and food running low it all came down to their local elected body to ensure that each family got its share of subsidised government ration, yet, no one seemed to care. So Sampata and Kalavati decided to speak to Baburao on how to raise the issue of entitlements under the Food Security Act in the gram sabha. Why approach Baburao? Well, ever since a unique intervention underway in Manegaon has been motivating men to support women at home and in the panchayat, he has emerged as a vociferous advocate of equal rights. Not only did Baburao encourage the duo to take up the matter seriously he assisted them in doing the groundwork to hold their first ever Mahila Sabha, which paved the way to resolving their food security problems for good. Encouraged by this success, within a couple of months the number of women attending the gram sabha burgeoned to 60 and today the numbers are nearly equal.

“The issues women bring to the panchayat now are very basic, like building toilets in homes or ensuring water is available closer to their homes so that they do not have to spend a majority of their day fetching it. However, it is for the benefit of the entire village.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDO817F 1200 words

A Bridge That Brings Teenage Girls Closer To Schooling
Kulsum Mustafa

Meet Soni, Ruby, Aruna and Shabbo, who used to spend their days poring over embroidery stitches apart from doing household chores to “help out” their parents, but have since then rediscovered themselves and their life’s purpose. What has filled these teenagers, who had resigned themselves to their fate of “zindagi bhar ka kaam (a lifetime of work)”, with new energy and enthusiasm? It’s a Residential Bridge Course for ‘out of school’ girls in Uttar Pradesh, where evocative poetry is taught through group recitation, pebbles and stones and sticks are used to solve complex math problems and where leadership and life-skills are an integral part of an innovative curricula.

Soni's father Jaichand turns emotional when he comes to meet her at the centre. “I cannot believe this smart young girl is my own timid Soni, I am happy she took this step,” says her father.

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDI617R 1000 words

Showing Special Children How To Learn And Earn
Naunidhi Kaur

Shilpa Arora became a teacher to impart knowledge as well as guide and empower youngsters to realise their dreams and ambitions. Today, though, she is inspired by the determination and hard work of her very special students. Arora heads a school for children battling with physical and mental disorders, such as Down's Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism, and it’s their never-say-die attitude and disarming smiles that drive her to become a better educator and be proud of her profession. Focused on empowering differently-abled children Arora and her team, comprising 25 trained teachers, a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, psychiatrists and a dedicated group of helpers as well as volunteers, assist the young ones in covering regular school work, while those in the 15 to 17 age group are given vocational training that helps them earn as they learn.

“Some of the children here are really artistic. So we want to tap into their strength and give them the added confidence of making money.”

[Photographs Available]

 WFS Ref: INDK511R 1200 words
Pages:1  2  
home | link up with wfs | theme of the month | ngo newswfs services | archives | conferences | about us