Women Empowerment

“There is no tool more effective than the empowerment of women.”

-Dr. Shri Veerendra Heggade

Realizing that the women and children in rural India too need urgent help, Dr. Heggade introduced special self-help programs like Jnana Vikasa and SIRI that taught women to empower themselves and live with dignity and self respect. Besides, creating employment opportunities was also a huge task before such enterprise.

The focused efforts of Dr. Heggade to empower women have been fully supported by Mrs. Hemavathi Heggade. She, besides being a role model, guides the members of the SHGs to be self sufficient and self-relevant. This mission has been founded on the concept of happy family. Mrs. Hemavathi Heggade regularly contributes to  a column called “Gelathi” in Niranthara, a monthly magazine. For her continuous focussed commitment towards the upliftment of the poor people, she has been recognized with awards such as Keladhi Rani Chennamma and Goenka awards.

Jnana Vikasa

Having brought the farmers and their children into the mainstream, it was the turn of the rural women. The question “Why deprive the rural women of their right to self-expression” perhaps inspired Shri Heggade to turn his attention to bring them into the ambit of his overall growth plan.

Actively supported by his wife, Smt. Hemavathi Heggade, he recreated the magic of the Self Help Group. Smt. Heggade, gathered a group of dedicated women volunteers from the surrounding villages. She groomed them through specially designed, intensive training sessions which covered areas like housekeeping, sanitation (within and outside their immediate surroundings), nutrition, handicraft, cottage industries etc.

Beedi (hand-rolled cigarettes) rolling and farm labor are two of the major revenue sources for women in the coastal district, who can earn up to Rs. 800/- per month from these activities. However, women do not retain much in savings and continue to remain socially backward. SKDRDP recognized the need to empower women into developing a habit of saving and hence began organizing the Jnanavikasa Program.

Jnanavikasa Kendras are unique centers of socio-economic empowerment for uneducated, unemployed rural women with no land. In the Jnanavikasa Kendras, women empower themselves through weekly two-hour group sessions sharing knowledge on health, family welfare, hygiene, children’s education and clean surroundings. Besides finding inspiration from each other, women also learn about inculcating family values and developing savings habits. Such participation imbues usually shy women with confidence and transforms them into self-respecting, determined women. Jnanavikasa Kendras are now attempting to train women in various production activities like floriculture, dairying, vegetable cultivation and home industries.

Siri Gramodyoga

After working for 10 years with the women in remote villages for their socio- cultural empowerment through Jnanavikasa women’s programme, the president of the programme Smt. Hemavathi V. Heggade contemplated towards Economic Empowerment of these women. This economic empowerment programme is mainly focused on the Micro Enterprises for rural women. The plummeting Beedi rolling industry in D.K district has motivated SKDRDP to shore up Micro-Enterprises among the rural women.

Shri Dharmasthala Siri Gramodyoga Samsthe-SIRI ( A Section 25 Company) was started in the year 2001 to promote group based livelihood activities in the “non-farm sector” to assist the opportunity less women. This company is facilitated by Shri Kshethra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project.

  • The major objectives of the project are as follows
  • To Provide Alternative or Supplementary employment for the women
  • Identifying and training the stakeholders to take up the income Generation Activity
  • Supply of Quality Raw Materials to the production units
  • Ensure the flow of Qualitative and branded products in to the market
  • Explore the market avenues for the rural products produced by Community Institutions
  • To provide forward and backward linkages to group enterprises

To achieve the above objectives, firstly the unemployed/ under employed women in Rural areas were identified, and the concept of manufacturing, marketing and consumption were explained to them through village level meetings.

The interested were given in skill training through some of the well known institutes in India. Some of the institutes which helped in this process were Small Industries Service Institute (SISI) – Bangalore, Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI) – Mysore, Dairy Science College – Bangalore, Indian Institute of Fashion Technology – Bangalore, Rural Development and Self Employment Training Institute (RUDSETI) The infrastructure for producing the products are facilitated by contacting the various input providers to the stakeholders. Initial finance was provided by SKDRDP and later the stakeholders themselves raised the share capital of Rs. 1000/= per group and paid the same to provide the much needed capital. Assistance also came from the Government of India and Karnataka in the form SGSY special project.

The Small Industries Development Bank of India provided the much needed marketing executive supports.

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