The premises of Seed for Change in downtown Sigra were last Saturday the venue for the first meeting of NGOs and social enterprises of Varanasi in 2014, with the participation of approximately sixteen organisations and other professionals of the sector. This meeting facilitated cooperation agreements among different organisations working in the city, and provided a workspace that is expected to be pursued in future meetings.
Seed for Change’s manager, María Bodelón, fired the starting signal for the day’s events, which unfolded in a relaxed climate with women’s empowerment and acute malnutrition in India as themes for analysis. Serving this purpose was the intervention of Dinesh Mishra, manager at Satyagyan Foundation, which in coordination with World Literacy Canada has been developing a programme that includes female literacy, self-help groups and production projects in Varanasi since 1995. During his intervention, Mr Mishra told the attendants about the situation of women in India today, and shared with them how his organisation works and how it faces all these problems.One of the day’s workshops involved work teams that discussed various issues in women’s empowerment in different areas: women’s problems to work, health and family planning, domestic violence and access to finances. After half an hour’s work in groups, interesting conclusions were shared to keep working jointly in future meetings.
One of the interventions included in the programme dealt with the issue of nutrition and was presented by Khokan Banerjhee, from the NGO Metta. Mr Banerjhee explained how its organisation is working against acute child malnutrition, and shared with the attendants the detection methods used for this purpose, such as children’s wristbands, food supplements, and others. In addition, the NGO put its resources at the disposal of the other organisations so that they could all make joint efforts in their struggle against this evil that is so widespread in the country.
The programme included the statements of two Indian women, Laltusi and Sangeeta, two clear examples of women’s empowerment through participation in cooperation projects that have given them access to education and the labour world, helping them have their own jobs, savings and independence. Also, students from the Jeevan School performed a play whose theme was the role of women in their country.
To finish off, the Jeevan School director, Jessie Leigh Morwood, described the objectives of the platform, and it was agreed to share data among all the ONG participating in the event in order to facilitate potential collaboration agreements in the different areas (nutrition, women, health, education) towards more robust action in the benefit of the Indian community. Also, it was suggested that more people from the community should participate in the following meetings so that they could present their ideas and enrich this sort of events.
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