Women in India suffer from discrimination and are often victims of violence and poverty, along with their children.
Especially in rural areas, people’s lives are still governed by age-old family conceptions and religious traditions. The husband decides all family matters. Unmarried women are not socially recognized.
Therefore, it is essential for the family and the girls themselves to get them married. Though it is officially illegal, social pressure requires the bride’s parents to provide a large dowry and to bear the costs of a big wedding. That puts especially poor families into severe problems.
So girls are unwanted, and to have more than one daughter is considered to be unfortunate. The abortion rate for baby girls is alarming. For example in 2015, there were only born 893 girls for 1000 boys in the state of Punjab.
Moreover, girls from poor families only receive little education, as it is not considered necessary for them. Instead, they have to help in the household early on.
Vocational training for young women
Girls from poor families only gain more self-confidence and independence if they can acquire skills and have their own income. The vocational training centre has this goal.
Vocational Training Centre near Daryapur
The centre was started in September 2011 near the village of Daryapur in Punjab.
At present, 20 girls are trained in the fields of tailoring and cosmetics, the latter playing an important role due to the Indian wedding traditions. The girls come from the vicinity, by bicycle or on foot.
In the textile sector, they learn sewing, embroidery, decoration and fabric painting. The training as a beautician includes facial massage and treatments, mehndi (henna painting) and manicures.
Both courses are free of cost, including the training materials such as yarn, fabrics and colours. The current facility can easily be extended. There are plans to include ‘home science’ and other subjects.
Support for wedding
Young women and their parents lose their face in the village community if they cannot find a husband due to their poverty.
We help needy couples by helping to finance the dowry and the wedding festivities.
In collaboration with local organizations that are able to assess the problematic situation of those concerned, Give and Give cover the expenses of the wedding and the couples receive the usual equipment including furniture, tableware, clothes etc.
It is generally necessary to change public awareness and strengthen women’s self-esteem. “Women Empowerment” seminars give incentives by showing positive role models and the possibities women have to change their situation.
Women in leading positions are invited to prove that it is worthwhile to raise girls and promote them. Further topics of such seminars are e.g. sham marriages and dowry fraud. They also give help in everyday matters such as the education and nutrition of children.
Encouraging other women
At one of these seminars, the farmer Sangeeta Deol told the audience how she succeeded in managing her life that was difficult from the start. Due to a polio infection in her childhood, her foot was impaired. But anyhow, her parents provided her a good education. After her wedding, she did not want to be a burden on her husband’s family. So despite her handicap, she began farming, even drove the tractor herself and bred mushrooms, which she sold in the market. When she returned at night, she washed her children’s school uniforms. With these untiring efforts, she established a successful agricultural enterprise. Now, despite of her difficulties to walk, she gives lectures to women in order to encourage them to take their destiny in their own hands and also to give their daughters the chance to lead a more independent life.