The Women's Empowerment whirlwind.
The Women’s Empowerment Programme is a whirlwind of many different projects where we support a mix of women of different ages, backgrounds and situations. Our goal is to help create positive change by giving women more opportunity, autonomy and independence, as well as help uplift them, through the projects we run.
Here’s a flavour of what we did in just one day in September…
Morning at Tejus: A home for teenagers who have been sexually abused resulting in pregnancy. Our role is to visit the home three times a week to help the girls with their English, whether it’s reading, writing or conversation. While I was there, two of the three girls currently staying there left the home to start a new chapter in their lives. It was inspiring spending time with these beautiful young women. Despite what they have gone through, they seem positive about what the future holds for them, and I hope that they are given all the opportunities possible to build their lives into something amazing and fulfilling.
Afternoon spent at Cottolengo Special School: This is a school for mentally and physically disabled children and women, and such a positive and happy atmosphere radiates from there. Perhaps seeing one of the nuns teaching Bollywood dancing is one of the reasons for this (although I’m secretly wondering whether she’s missed her true vocation in life?!) We have five women helping to grow a vegetable garden and on this particular hot, hot, hot day, there were no complaints from any of them as we filled the grow bags and planted the seeds. They were really keen to understand how the process works and I hope to see the fruits of our labour in a few months’ time.
Last but not least, we had our first visit to Partyasha Bhavan – a school that is also a home for a number of girls between the ages of 4 and 20 who, for whatever reason, can’t live with their families during term-time. We want to help the girls to start understanding what self-esteem means so they can think positively about themselves and from there build successful futures. We met a boisterous bunch of 30 girls and started an exercise to get them to draw a picture representing themselves. We asked them to think about what they wanted to do for a career… it was brilliant to see many of them wanting to be doctors, engineers, secretaries and fashion designers. I hope the GVI team can help build their confidence and contribute towards making their dreams a reality.
It’s an exciting time for Women’s Empowerment, and here in Kerala the project touches on so many different areas and with so many different organisations in the Kochi area. The three weeks I spent there have been an amazing experience for me – a bit of a rollercoaster at times – but in a good way. Everyone has welcomed us, GVI has a robust strategy in this area for the future, and to have played a small contribution is something that will live with me forever.
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