The empowerment phase will enable women to protect their rights as women, safeguard themselves and earn a livelihood and be economically independent.
We will achieve this through programs that focus on:
One of the most popular trainings in the Foundation portfolio, self-defence training is much needed when residing in Dharavi. It was the first training program that was developed and implemented for community based and school going girls. Over the past two years the Foundation has reached out to more than 200 girls from the ages of 12 to 21 years, married and unmarried to ensure that they learn basic skills to defend themselves when they are moving about in public places. This training also ensured that they became mentally strong along with building their physical strength. The next level of advanced training is being developed so that they are able to utilize daily items like pens, bags, dupattas, etc to protect themselves.To consolidate the program, selected beneficiaries are being trained to become trainers themselves at the first level for new girls.
Basic knowledge of English has becoming increasingly important for all, even if they are residing in slums. Many of the college going girls had studied in Urdu medium schools and so found the going tough in English medium colleges. This course has helped them to better their knowledge and understanding of English and improve their college results. Using trainers who are community based to conserve resources and build a bond, the students have applied themselves to the training diligently. In the current year, 33 girls have completed the course and are awaiting their registration for the advanced course.
Knowledge and usage of computers is essential in present times. It is important that young girls who are interested in taking up employment, should have basic skills in computers as the world gets rapidly digitalized. In that context, the Foundation developed a Basic course in computers that introduces the students to the internet also. Many college going students found this course very beneficial as they also had computers as a subject. This year, the Foundation trained 86 girls and two of the students have got employment as customer care representatives in an office. Actively scouting for more employment opportunities, the Foundation has set up computers in its office to allow the girls to continue their practice so that their skills are improved.
Books are a window to the world and to bring it closer to the girls, book donations were sought from the board members to start a library. With 182 books donated, the library was started and introduced to the girls via a Reading Club. Through the Reading Club, the girls are encouraged to select a book for home reading and then describe the story in English to the rest of the group. This approach to reading has a dual impact I.e encourage the girl to read and improve her English speaking skills in an environment that is non-threatening, comfortable and known to her. This project is a first of its kind in Dharavi and slowly and steadily it is encouraging the girls to read beyond their religious texts and their school books.