The second day was held at Amritapuri Ashram, and included a continuation of the Product Exhibition and Photo Exhibit, as well as a grand stage event with speeches by chief guests and an awards ceremony recognizing high performing graduates.
Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, welcomed the chief guests of the celebration. The esteemed panel included global leaders and some of India’s foremost public figures: Her Excellency the Governor of Kerala Smt. Sheila Dikshit, The Head of the United Nations in India, Lise Grande, and renowned film actor Kunchacko Boban, and the Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi.
Ms. Grande praised the AMMACHI Labs’ Women Empowerment project, saying “[The United Nations] scours the world looking for the best projects, the most innovative projects, the projects which will have the highest impact. The one we’ve chosen for India is this project, and we chose it because AMMACHI Labs has the most creative way of empowering women. Of all of the projects which the UN funds around the world, this is the one dearest to our heart. It’s the one we are most proud of. And it’s the one that we intend to take to the rest of the world so that they can learn from what you have achieved.”
Director of AMMACHI Labs, Professor Bhavani said, “Empowerment to us is more than mere economic success. The goal is to equip women with an enhanced ability to participate in the democratic process and increased capacity to make decisions at the individual, family, and community levels. Economic and socio-economic empowerment of women were achieved simultaneously through the delivery of AMMACHI Labs’ cVET and LEE program, both tailored to the participant’s specific needs.”
Governor Dikshit praised Amma as both a humanitarian and a spiritual leader. “Amma, in the spirit with which she works—with love and compassion and an ever-smiling face, gives us all the courage to stand up and live by the ideals that she has taught us. … My congratulations and grateful thanks to her for having given confidence and equality to our women.”
Award winning actor Kunchacko Boban offered his support of the project and said, “Women Empowerment … is something the Mata Amritanandamayi Math understands, not just in words, but in deeds. According to me, women are more powerful than men.”
An awards ceremony took place, where Change Makers were recognized for their ability to make changes in their own lives, families, and communities. Winners of the previous day’s Product Competition were recognized, and two special awards were given to business groups started by graduates who have secured bulk international orders. These business groups have together made nearly seven lakhs rupees.
The program concluded with a short talk by Amma. “Today is a day of joy and satisfaction,” Amma said. “Women face many difficulties and challenges in daily life. It is good if we can help inspire them. The difficulties that the common woman faces in her family and social life are not small. There are economic problems, family problems, safety problems… For women in such circumstances to be able to find a profession and thereby stand on their own two feet comes as a great source of relief for them. That said, even then, problems persist—problems at home, problems with their children, problems at work... When these combine, it can be a tremendous weight to bear. When such women are provided with self-confidence, training and wise-counseling, their lives develop new meaning. In reality, the key to woman’s liberty lies in her own hands. In order to realize this, women need determination, forbearance and constant effort. On our part, we need to provide them with a little encouragement and guidance. If provided with the right opportunities, any woman can become a role-model for society.”
May 3, 2014 Mata Amritanandamayi Math, Amritapuri
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham at the Forefront of Women Empowerment - PDF
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