In October 2007, when Project Why extended its activities to work towards women’s empowerment it realised that the best way to gain the trust of women was by reaching out to their children. From the very outset, the Khader Women Centre ran an after-school support programme for children, in line with the education programmes run by Project WHY. Each year, over 300 children attend this programme that extends from class I to X, and 160 women graduate with vocational training.
WOMEN CENTRE AND EMPOWERMENT PROGRAM
The Women Centre in Khader began as a residential cum empowerment program. As time passed and working towards women’s empowerment we realised that the best way to gain the trust of women was by reaching out to their children. We found a new building in 2007, that was perfect for a small residential centre, a vocational centre and the roof top was used for an after-school support programme for children, in line with the education programs run by Project WHY. However, in 2008, when the two women residing in Project WHY left to lead a normal life; the residential program was discontinued.
Today, the Women’s centre holds 6-monthly vocational training course for women in stitching/ tailoring and a course on beautician. Women at the end of the courses get a course certificate and a self-made manual of the training. Over the years, we have trained about 160 women. We hope that this year we can improve the quality of their tailoring/ stitching by helping them learn different stitching techniques.
EDUCATION SUPPORT PROGRAM
Initially, the Khader education support program ran primary classes for children of the community. As time passed and with growing parent’s demand, we extended our education support program to include secondary classes. Computer classes are also part of the educational support at the centre. The classes in Khader centre are held in 2 shifts: boys in the morning and girls in the afternoon. Each shift is further divided in two 1hour and 30 minutes shifts, to accommodate more children.
Apart from supporting children’s school curriculum, we also conduct a range of educational workshops concentrate on clean water, good manners, harmful effects of plastic and cleanliness of the surroundings. This is particularly relevant as the centre is located within a village where access is through a small lane replete with buffaloes. Children are also encouraged to plant some green plants and learn to tend to them and respect them.
PROJECT COST: Rs. 22 000 – 330 US$; 230 £
PROJECT COST: Rs. 32,000; US$ 480; 330 £
Writing about this class is akin to writing the project why story. Our Senior Secondary Project began on the roadside in the dead of winter 2001 to answer yet another deafening why. A bunch of class X students from our Spoken English class has been beaten in school. This was inadmissible to us and a visit to the school brought to light the contempt with which children from poorer homes were treated. The Principal sneered at them, calling them gutter snipes that would never be able to pass their Boards. The body language of the children compelled us to throw a challenge stating that they would ALL pass!
As everything at Project Why, the computer centre started because children wanted it. When we opened our office in 2001, we installed a computer for our office work. As we follow an open door policy, children use to walk in and out and we soon realised that it was because of the computer. We would allow some of the children to sit at it and would show them how it worked. We knew that the next item on our list had to be a computer centre.
In no time, we managed to get a few old computers and our computer project saw the light of day.