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Bilwa Women: On the road to Self reliance

With new hopes and new ideas, the Gram Panchayat of Bilwa village in Rajasthan has opened a ‘ Swabhimaan Kendra’. This centre will work under the leadership of Sarpanch Urmila Maheshwari of Bilwa. The Gram Panchayat secretary Mr. Bhanwar Singh informed that Mr. Volker. L. Plane (National Director of Hanns Seidel Foundation) presided over the inauguration programme as the chief guest, Dr.Pramila Sanjaya (Honorary Advisor SIDART) was the Chairperson. The occasion was graced by the presence of other guests Mr. Rahul Khera (Project Manager), Mr. P.C. Sharma- Ward Member Bilwa, Ms. Megan from Rangotri, and SIDART team members: Mr CP Sharma, Mr. Banwari Lal Yadav and Ms. Deepti Singh. A number of village volunteer women were also present who were keen to run the centre and undergo the training and thus earn their livelihood. Mr. Volker L. Plane along with Dr Pramila Sanjaya cut the ribbon to inaugurate the centre at Gram Panchayat Bilwa. Mr Volker shared that the ‘Swabhimaan Kendra’ will be a real source of empowerment for the women and it'll help in enhancing the skills of the women of the Gram Panchayat, making them self-reliant, financially sound, socially, economically and politically aware.

He said that SIDART has played a major motivational role in this process and helped the women to set up the Swabhiman Kendra. The organization has helped in women empowerment by educating women and making them aware of their legal rights. SIDART works in and around rural areas of Jaipur and through various field visits and programs train women to become self –sufficient in all spheres. Secretary Mr. Bhanwar Singh informed about the exposure visit to Sheopur District of Madhya Pradesh. This visit was facilitated by SIDART and village volunteers of Bilwa village were members of the team. A youth resource centre in Sheopur district, run by MAMTA NGO was visited by all the team members. It was observed that education and awareness programmes are being implemented for young girls and women. Taking inspiration from this, Bilwa village decided to have their own centre as ‘ Swabhimaan Kendra’. Here the panchayat the village volunteers with the support of SIDART, decided to take things to another level. In addition to education and awareness programs, the center is working to be a source of livelihood for women village volunteers. According to the plan, left over raw cloth material is being taken from Rangotri export house at Sanganer. Their designer Megan and the tailor comes for the training to the Women who use this recyclable cloth to make bed sheets, blankets, toys etc. Rangotri will take back the material and the women will be paid honorarium for per piece of the finished product. In addition to this, a survey will be conducted of the females in the village and problems related to their health, education and finance would be resolved. Issues such as school dropouts especially for the girl children and fee payment problems to schools will also be addressed. In addition to this the women will also help in Gram Panchayat meetings and focus on solving women related issues. In the near future, the ‘Swabhimaan Kendra’ will lead to empower women and with that to a holistically developed society and village.

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