Women’s Training Centre, Somanahalli, Bangalore
Vocational Training for Women’s Development and Empowerment.
From the very beginning of the Mission in Somanahalli, the Sisters of Notre Dame were looking for ways and means to train the women of the village in different trades by which they could uphold their dignity and make a living for their families. The Sisters had to begin with teaching them to write their names in order to enable them sign their documents, teach them numbers so that they learn to keep the account of their earning and open their own bank accounts.
When Sr. Anthu returned after her Masters training in Social Work in July 2001, the social work took a different direction. The sisters began to reach out to many villages to organize some 60 women’s Self Help Groups(SHG) and give Vocational training to them in Tailoring, Embroidery, Gerry Work, Beauty Care, Soft Toy making, Basket making, Flower arrangements, making Candles, Sweets, Bags, Banners, Detergents, Vim and Phenyl. Training courses for the interested boys were organised in Electrical, Driving and basic Computer Application. Above all they were given leadership training courses to become good leaders in their own villages and voice their rights and fight for justice. Evening classes were given to the weaker students and School dropouts helping them to write their exams through Open University to get S.S.L.C certificate. Legal Aid seminars and health classes were conducted for the women folk. Each year they celebrated the Inter-national Women’s Day with cultural programs, inviting Women leaders and other leaders from the Government departments, who helped them in various projects. The staff and women of the Self Help Groups are taken on tours to different places for widening their awareness and knowledge about places and people in general.
Sisters had reached out to 40 villages through different training programs according to each groups needs. So far we have given training to about 5000 Women, girls and boys and employed them in garment factories, Call Centers and working from their own homes.
Sr. Reeta continued Sr. Anthu’s work. A Training Centre for Women was built in the campus of the sisters’ residence where tailoring courses are given for six months. Social Action work continued. All the trainings in different centers were re-started too. We have 22 Self Help Groups now in 8 villages. We also teach women from 15 other villages Beauty care and Tailoring courses, Jerry work and conduct Ayruveda Medical Camps etc. At present their is a great demand for computer training especially to help their children who learn computers in the school.
Thanks to all who have helped to reach out to our brothers and sisters in the villages through the training programs and other assistance. May God bless you.