There is no denying the fact that women in India have made a considerable progress in almost seven decades of Independence, but they still have to struggle against many handicaps and social evils in the male-dominated society. There has been amelioration in the position of women, but their true empowerment is still awaited.
Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest sons of India, quoted that, “There is no chance for the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved, it is not possible for a bird to fly on only one wing. Therefore, the inclusion of “Women Empowerment’ as one of the prime goals in the eighth Millennium Development Goals underscores the relevance of this fact.
Based on the ideas championed by our founding fathers for women empowerment, many social, economic and political provisions were incorporated in the Indian Constitution. Even after almost seven decades of Independence, women are still subjected to discrimination in the social, economic and educational field.
In this context the Government of Odisha has taken a lead in formulating the Odisha State Policy for Girls and Women 2014. Based on a life cycle approach of development, the focus areas of the policy addresses the issues of survival, health and nutrition; education; livelihood; asset ownership along with the decision making and political participation. The uniqueness of the Policy is that it focuses on the girls and women with special needs.
For the Girls and Women with special needs, the Policy further specifies
Take up special drive and or design specific programmes for enrollment in job oriented and placement linked skill building and training courses and programmes to cover girls and women with special needs, so as to facilitate their gainful employment. Initiate special efforts towards covering girls and women in distress, in institutions, in contact and in conflict with law.
Government has set up shelter homes to provide for the needs of girls & women in distress. Swadhar Grehs caters to primary needs of women in difficult circumstances. The vision of Swadhar Greh is to support an institutional framework for women victims of difficult circumstances so that they could lead their life with dignity and conviction.
Ujjawala Homes are set up to rehabilitate Women and children who are vulnerable to or are victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. The provisions of Ujjwala Homes are Basic amenities, Medical care, Legal aid, Education and Vocational Training and Income generation activities.
Hospitality Training (Classroom and practical).
Candidates were trained in hospitality were after completion of this course they will be able to carry out both housekeeping & service related duties at hotels, restaurants, offices, shopping malls & hospitals.
English and Soft Skills Training
While technical skills get your foot in the door, people skills are what open most of the doors to come. Work ethic, attitude, communication skills, emotional intelligence and a whole host of other personal attributes are the soft skills that are crucial for career success and these were very much necessary for them because social hindrances never made them to learn these.
These inmates who had never seen a computer but knew there was a something called as computer were the happiest ones to get this training. Today they know how to open an email account and type their biodata.
English and Digital Numeracy:
They were made to learn alphabets and numbers and it was really helpful for the 3rd grades that are now able to write of their own and try to read of their own.
Assessments for the three subjects were done in a month to know the inputs of the subjects taught to them and some of them have really done well.This was done to know how much they have grasped and how much effort has to be put in for their improvement.
Interactions, counseling have made them to come out of their shells of fear, nervousness and past incidences and now they stand up with eyes beaming up with confidence to stand on their feet. They want to stand for themselves and mark an identity for themselves in the society.
Candidate who was not able to read and write is at least able to write. Candidates who didn’t even know how to see a watch know now what punctuality is.
The most vital in the entire training programme is the placement. Identification of the candidates according to her capability and giving them placement in area in which she is proficient so that she can be retained. Out of 27 candidates 26 are employed in Hotels, Restaurants and Hospitals in and around Bhubaneswar the Capital of Odisha.
Conclusion: If these women in shelter homes make a livelihood for them we can definitely say that we do not train, we transform and we believe in women empowerment.