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Name of the event: Outreach; Course launch: Ornamental Jewelry Making
Date of Visit / event: April 7th – 10th
Places visited / place of event: Jss Rajapalayam in Virudhanagar District, Tamil Nadu
Visited by: Kripasagar, Amal, Ajaykumar
Purpose of the visit: Centre Setup, Conduct Outreach, Course Launch, Arrange Industry Visit & Explored other Marketing Opportunities for beneficiaries.
Type of the visit: Official
No. of Centers visited: 1
No. of Beneficiaries: 18
Visit duration: 4 Days
Persons met during the visit (examples):
The facilitator, VImala, is fresh from her TTT that was held only the week before at the WE project headquarters in Amritapuri. It was a short reunion, but the TTT had made a great impact on her, and her ease and confidence in dealing with the WE team was wonderful and made working with her a delight. The WE team reviewed with her the daily lesson plan and made sure she was confident with the computers and the software for the course. After clearing any doubts, the team went over the Ideal Village and Who am I activities to make sure she had a full grasp on the goals of the activities. All went very well.
Dr. Chittra is a premier doctor (obstetrician and gynecologist) who has come back from her medical studies in the big cities to settle in her hometown of Rajapalayam. She is an accomplished doctor and graduated at the top of her class. At her graduation, she received the gold medal award for academic excellence from former Indian President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kallam. That she decided to come back to the relatively small, backwards town of Rajapalayam demonstrates her interest in community service. She would be an excellent rolemodel for the WE Project participants in both community service and as an exemplary Empowered Woman. After the Outreach Program, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi took the WE team to her office and introduced her. Dr Chitra was invited to the course launch the following day to participate in the program. She readily agreed.
After participating in the course inauguration and a speaking with the WE staff on the project components, Dr Chitra has lent her full support to the project. She was especially touched by the WE milestone 2 video and the MoVE project, and would like to contribute in whatever way she can to helping the women taking the course. The WE team will help to coordinate a special LEE workshop with her in the future on women’s health, and hopefully work more with her in the future on this topic.
JSS Rajapalayam has held steady and regular trainings for women in various vocations for nearly 10 years. They have a high success rate, and keep in good contact with their graduates. One of the graduates from their ornamental jewelry-making course has just opened her own fancy and jewelry shop with the help of her family, and so the WE team decided to make a visit. The shop was neat and well organized and had a nice display of her hand-made items. She has done well enough to start importing other jewelry designs from Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai. All of these attributes make her stall a perfect place for the WE participants’ Industry Visit. The JSS team took us to a couple of other jewelry shops nearby that their graduates also work at, giving the WE team a good understanding for what is available locally, and what kinds of places are good for industry visits. The WE team hopes that a network between the JSS graduates and the WE Project graduates can form, thus strengthening the earning potential of both of the groups, while also giving the WE participants an education on what it takes to open a successful shop.
Mrs. Vijayalakshmi is very well connected in Rajapalayam, and one of her close friends, Mrs. Shyamala, happens to run a summer camp for children that focuses on strong moral values and leadership skills. Mrs. Shyamala’s family is also part of a family trust that operates a set of schools (uKG à technical college), a textile mill, and a children’s library. They are very active in the community, and when approached about the WE Project, they were enthusiastic to help. Mrs. Shyamala also runs a small household goods and jewelry shop and will share her knowledge and business skills with the participants of the WE Project. She would also like the graduates to come and speak about LEE topics to her summer camp students when they can, as it will strengthen both the children’s understanding of community issues and provide a platform for the WE Project participants to share their knowledge and help the community. Shyamala and her family are a wonderful local resource for the project, and a relationship that will hopefully be cultivated as the project progresses in Rajapalayam.
On day two of the course (day 4 of the visit to Rajapalayam), the participants did the “Ideal Village” activity. In this, they were to split into small groups and draw what they envision as their perfect or ideal village. Next to their drawing, they then made a list of differences they see between their actual village and their ideal one, focusing on problems and challenges. After this, the facilitator and one of the WE team introduced the “circle of control” concept by drawing three concentric circles: the inner-most circle represents situations or issues that are completely within ones own control to direct; the second circle represents those situations that one cannot control alone and need support to confront; the outer circle represents situations that one has no control over. The participants were to sort their list of problems into these three circles, deciding where each one goes as a group. After the sorting is complete, the facilitator and WE team ask the group to chose one problem that is in circle 2 or 3 and come up with an action plan to move it closer inside the circle of control; basically, they must find out how to make their lives more within their own control, focusing on community issues.
The group did an excellent job at this activity and came up with the following list of problems (sorted into the circles of control:
The group spent most of the time discussing these points and even started discussing how they want to do some activities on the first set of problems. Unfortunately, the groups ran out of time before they could come up with an action plan for problems in circles 2 and 3, but the facilitator will make sure they do this in the next class.
16 participants from the first batch sat down as a group for some interview questions by the WE project staff. Kripasagar and Ajaykumar asked the questions:
first question: why did you join the course?
I want to learn a profession
I want to get self-confidence
If we learn this skill we can sell products and make a living
I can become self-sufficient and independent
second: do you have any fears about taking this course?
At first we were afraid of using the computers, but now (after the mouse tutorial) we are confident.
Are there any family restrictions on taking this course
My father said no because I am already enrolled in a nursing course
She still has interest, that is why she is here
No others have family restrictions
Is there any one who has taken this kind of course before?
3 people: 1 Nursing and 2 beautician
Peculiarities of TN women
The women can speak many languages here
We wear saris
Is it nice to be a woman in TN?
No clear answer
Some say that in the family, the men should take all the major decisions. Is this what happens here?
Men take decisions, but the woman can share her opinion freely
If the husband takes decision you don’t agree with, what do you do?
I will be angry
There will be a discussion where I try to convince him of my opinion
What are the major problems faced by men in TN?
It is difficult to get money
Alcohol and drugs are a big problem
What are the reasons for alcoholism
Problems between husband and wife
Tiredness due to work
Parties (marriage functions)
What affect does this have on children?
The children get diseases easily (father smokes around child)
A chance that children start drinking and smoking
Are you confident to speak in front of people about LEE topics?
We can speak in public only if we are in a group
With family we can speak alone
Is there something you would like to do but have fear
Could you become a role-model?
Only one person raised their hand
Do any of you want to make money using these skills after the course?
All said yes
Many want to start a business together to sell fancy things
3 said they wanted to start their own business.
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