Women constitute half power of the country so in order to make this country a fully powerful country, women empowerment is very necessary and is a prerequisite for a healthy and a vibrant society. Empowerment includes literacy and education for women, better health care, ownership of productive resources, their rights and responsibilities and improved standards of living. Economic independence, social empowerment and gender justice will result in eliminating all types of discrimination against women.
Sahyog care for you is working for the education of underprivileged women in the society. Many women are illiterate in slums and due to this they face many hurdles even in their day-to-day life. The condition of women of slum communities needs to be improved. There is a huge disparity between the literacy rates of men and women. So, there is need to provide education through some innovative ways to these women.
This inspired the organization to work for the education of women living in slums. ‘Sahyog’ aims to educate these women so that they can earn a livelihood and live a dignified life; therefore Sahyog introduced the program “Saksharta through Digitalization” in the slum areas of Delhi. The main objective of this program is to provide elementary education and an opportunity to learn computers to these underprivileged women. The project offers training sessions for adult females, catering about 30 participants in each batch. During the six month program women come for classes six days a week for a duration of one and a half hour. During the classes we follow curriculum prepared by State Resource Centre (SRC) Jamia Millia Islamia which is up to class 3rd level. We also teach them through digital curriculum prepared by TCS, which run on computers only. After completing this six month curriculum women are able to read and write, read newspaper, fill daily routine forms like Bank deposit and withdrawal forms, railway reservation forms etc. They are able to read bus route number running in Delhi.
In beginning, the program was started with only one centre because it was very difficult to motivate women to attend classes. Volunteers started conducting small group meetings, one to one interaction with the women in the community to talk on the importance of education in their life. After some time organization was able to make them realize the importance of education. After these efforts, some women were ready to join the course. Sahyog started teaching them for one hour daily the Hindi alphabets with the help of desktop computers.
After some time many hands joined us as volunteers to teach women. Initially most of the women were nervous but excited about coming to the classes where all the sessions will take place through computers. It seems that their anxiety about using and learning in classes through computers was simply because they did not want to “break” them. However, after 2-3 weeks of hands-on practice, their fears dissipated as they learned that computers are not so easily broken. They also felt more confident and more comfortable to learn their lessons.
At present, we are teaching approx 6,500 women in 108 centers. But it’s still on edge because we still feel the need to increase this number to 20,000 within next 5 years. To achieve our goal, we are functioning with women of slums for their consciousness about virtues of literacy so that they can come few steps forward and make their own contribution in this mission.
This project is an initiative by Sahyog Care to support and strengthen women SHGs. One of our Self-Help Groups started a kitchen program under SHG Nari Shakti, which provides good quality packed meals and food products at low/affordable prices. These include thalis which cost Rs. 59 & 99, also known as theSahyog Bhoj. The thali contains 3 chappatis, 3 vegetables, basmati rice, salad and pickle. This kitchen group prepares wholesome and hygienic food which is then delivered to various areas in Delhi/NCR.
Sahyog care for you provide adult literacy classes to women and girls through its vocational centers in Delhi/NCR. The aim of this program is to strengthen community women and convert them into a SHG group to support their livelihoods. To achieve this, Sahyog joined hands with Project Akshar (a project run by students of Delhi University) to provide livelihood to the women of SHG groups. The machines of copy binding have been established in one of our BSES vocational centre with the help of project Akshar. This initiative of setting up machines has opened livelihood options for the women.
To ensure that girls and women's everyday life is not interrupted by menstruation, Sahyog started different kinds of awareness campaigns to educate them on hygiene and use of sanitary napkins so that they can continue with their daily routine such as going to school, going to work or Doing household chores. Sahyog care for you, intervene, to develop and produce low cost standard sanitary napkins and provide it to the women. The impact of the program is that the users of napkins are increased and people are made aware about their health and hygiene. This cause will help us to reduce RTI among them. Around 1500 females were benefitted from this program.
The system of Panchayat is rooted in our society, and being a patriarchy society, women’s voice and opinions are often suppressed or are never given attention. "Mahila Panchayat" program is an initiative which talks about women rights and security. Legal awareness and formation of Mahila Panchayats is a step taken by Sahyog Care for the empowerment of women. These Mahila Panchayats offer crisis intervention and legal aid at community level and help tackle local level legal disputes and assist in reduction of violence against women.
Sahyog Care for You has promoted the setting up of Mahila Panchayats. Mahila Panchayats is an innovative collective approach for community participation in dispute redressal. After need assessment and thorough analysis, community women leaders are identified and these women are then motivated to volunteer as Mahila Panchayat Members. The women groups are trained in legal issues, dispute redressal mechanism relevant to crimes against women, given exposure about the existing legal position regarding property, maintenance, marriage, custody, etc. They are also given training in counselling, FIR writing and how to proceed for legal recourse. The Mahila Panchayats acts as a "Watch Dog" and its members, after orientation, and training, can handle delicate family disputes. They try to find solutions at the local level. They link up with lawyers and issues which cannot be resolved at the Mahila Panchayat level are either resolved by the lawyers or alternative course of action is determined in consultation with lead NGO, lawyer and Delhi Commission for Women.
Mahila Panchayats have started taking cases and resolving them at the community level. These cases are related to maintenance, domestic violence, alcoholism and other issues. In majority of cases, Panchayats have been able to resolve the cases at their own level. However in some cases, they had to take joint action to put pressure on the concerned convict so as to obtain redressal for the complainants.
The goal of the program is to provide effective redressal mechanism within the community to protect rights of every woman in the state. It is our dream that one day there would not be any domestic violence against a woman in the society.