Over 1500 women from various parts of India traveled to Amritapuri for the two-day event: “A Celebration of Empowerment.” This was the capstone event of AMMACHI Labs’ Women Empowerment Project, co-funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. The participants all share one thing in common: they are graduates of AMMACHI Labs’ unique computerized vocational education and life enrichment education courses.
Over a span of 18 months, 3,136 women were trained via 28 of Ammachi Labs’ Women Empowerment Centers across Kerala and Tamil Nadu, both permanent and mobile. In the process, they set up 30 Self Help Groups, seven small businesses, and earned a collective income of more than one million rupees [Rs. 10 lakhs] within 3 months of completing the course. Courses included plumbing, fabric painting and jewelry making. Moreover, the graduates also led over 70 community awareness and action campaigns, ranging from alcohol abuse to environmental protection.
Professor Bhavani, Director of Ammachi Labs, welcomed chief guest Mr. Balasubramanian Iyer (VP of Reliance Jio) who formally inaugurated the “Celebration of Empowerment” event along with Swamini Krishnamrita Prana of the MA Math and Dr. Balakrishnan Shankar, Associate Dean of the School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. Ms. Lise Grande, the Head of the United Nations in India, also attended and met with senior Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham faculty to discuss on-going project and research initiatives.
During the inaugural event, Mr. Iyer also launched the WE Product Expo and Heartfelt Arts website (www.heartfeltarts.com), showcasing graduates’ products. The expo featured a designated booth for each of the Women Empowerment Centers and a photo exhibition of the project’s deployment. The women sold their products to a large group of international and local ashram guests.
Throughout the day, graduates participated in knowledge sharing sessions led by experts in community development, advanced skill workshops and an “Ideas and Innovation” discussion to promote business skills. Workshops included paper jewelry making, entrepreneurship, origami product creation, plumbing home repairs, legal counseling and waste management.
A large product competition, designed to encourage quality in handicraft products, was also conducted. After a rigorous process, a group of 40 finalists was selected to participate in the final round. Product creation, presentation and judging by a panel of experts followed. Winners of the competition received prizes from Her Excellency the Governor of Kerala, Smt. Sheila Dikshit.
Learn more about Ammachi Labs’ unique training methods here: http://www.youtube.com/ammachilabs
May 2, 2014 Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Amritapuri Campus
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