Indian Rural Women…
Struggles for them begin at birth and continue till death. Female infanticide and dowry deaths are some of the many unjust social and religious crimes of which women are victims.
Disparity in decision-making and lack of control over resources are other visible forms of discrimination. The girl child is considered a family burden, and is not provided with opportunities for education and development of skills.
Ashankur stepped in and offered an alternative – empowerment of women. This has enabled women to increase their control over decisions affecting their lives both within and outside their households.
Ashankur is a training centre situated in Bhokar, a village under Shrirampur Taluka in Ahmednagar District, Maharashtra, India. The centre initiates programmes aimed at empowering women in the nearby villages, talukas and districts.
The women of this area lack education. Moreover drought related problems on the one hand and an inferior social status on the other make migration and unemployment the order of the day.
Ashankur aims to alter the situation by organizing them so that together they can fight for their rights. This togetherness enables them to be engaged in income generating activities, which improve their economic and social status.
Some of the major barriers to the empowerment of women are illiteracy, lack of control over resources and non-participation in decision-making. Our aim and effort, therefore, is to facilitate change. To enable women to stand up on their own feet and take decisions concerning their lives. To achieve this, we focus on four areas where change can take place.
1. Change from household seclusion to social interaction.
2. Change from the lack of control to control over resources;
3. Change from non-participation to equal rights in Decision-making.
4. Change from the humdrum routine of daily tasks to income-generating activities;
In the villages, women are organized through the formation of Self-Help-Groups (SHGs). These SHGs are self-governed and decisions about various village issues and production oriented income-generating activities taken. Whereas social interaction and sharing of resources are natural consequences of such activities, self-reliance and positive self-image are added advantages.
At the main centre, training programmes are conducted. These include farm related training activities such as:
- Mushroom cultivation
– Vermi composting
– Goat rearing – Poultry
– Organic farming
Besides, there are skill-oriented non-farm training sessions in:
- Tailoring – Food processing
– Nurses Aid Training – Jewellery making
– Rexine bag making
Coping skills such as legal literacy, leadership training, personality development, training in human rights/women rights and other initiatives are integral parts of the training programme.
The progress of our programmes is largely dependent on the fact that women participate in their formulation and implementation. They are the contributors and the beneficiaries. Our vision is thus to reach out to as many rural women as possible so that we shall witness the birth of a reformed society where women have an equal foothold over rights and resources.
Ashankur Rural Women Centre
Village Bhokar, Tal. Shrirampur
Maharashtra India, 413 709
phone: 02422 – 245649