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On Friday, January 11 2019, 15,000 women gathered at the Amritapuri campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham to participate in a sustainable women-empowerment programme conducted by the Mata Amritanandamayi Math. The women received seed money to use in their Math-mentored Amrita SREE Self Help Groups as well as new saris.

Karunagappally MLA Sri. R. Ramachandran and former MLA Sri. T.N. Prathapan inaugurated the function and handed over the seed money to the women, who hailed from various communities in Kollam District.

“We, the people of Kollam and Vallikkavu, take pride in being the dwellers of this land that gave birth to Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi, the driving force behind the Amrita SREE movement,” said R. Ramachandran. “The Amrita Sree movement of SHGs seeks to empower our sisters, who historically have been prevented from coming forward in society, by making them self-reliant.”

The Mata Amritanandamayi Math’s Swamini Krishnamrita Prana and distinguished guests lighted the oil lamp. Following the inaugural function, the free sari distribution was done by the Kollam District Panchayath President and District Planning Committee Chairperson, Smt. C. Radhamani, as well as by BJP Mahila Morcha State Secretary, Advocate M. Shaleena.

Started in 2005, the Amrita SREE Self Help Group programme is aimed at empowering women to explore and engage in professions other than farming and fishery in order to alleviate their families’ dependency on trades often at the mercy of increasingly unpredictable weather patterns. More than two lakh women throughout India are currently participating in the programme, having formed more than 13,000 SHGs.

As the SHGs’ mentor, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math not only provides the beneficiaries with technical and economic assistance, but also facilitates the requisite vocational training to start their cottage industries. This is done in collaboration with national and international agencies of United Nations.

Amrita SREE’s chief coordinator, Sri. Ranganathan, delivered the welcome address. Ochira Block Panchayat President Sri. A. Majeed, Kulasekharapuram Panchayat President Smt. Sreelekha Krishnakumar, Alappad Panchayat President Smt. P. Saleena and Ochira Block Panchayat Member Smt. Sherly Sreekumar participated in the function.

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