The CRS women’s empowerment programme operates at 6 urban and 2 rural locations. CRS provides trainers and material support while the local community organisation is responsible for providing premises where women can meet.
Skills training – CRS instructors offer year-long courses to girls aged 14 and over. Tailoring courses include sewing, embroidery and knitting. Beautician training includes make up, skin care and hair styling. Women at the Gumla project also have the option of training in bangle-making. Skills are assessed quarterly and in an end-of-year examination.
Business skills – Financial and business management skills are also taught and all participants are encouraged to set up individual bank accounts. By the end of the course they care equipped to set up their own micro-business.
Self Help Groups (SHGs) – There are currently 2 SHGs at Dum Dum and 2 at Pally Mangal. Each group has ten members, who deposit a certain amount of money each month into the group bank account. Members can then apply to the group for loans for their businesses – such as buying a sewing machine or buying some chickens to rear – which are paid off over time. These groups are fully participatory and democratic and have had a tremendous impact in giving control over decision-making and income-generation.
Health awareness – As part of the CRS health programme, women are given sessions on a variety of health and hygiene issues for the benefit of themselves and their family. Topics include safe sanitation and the importance of hand-washing, spotting signs of tuberculosis or breast cancer, ante- and post-natal care, child immunization, child nutrition and growth monitoring, and government health schemes.
The CRS women’s empowerment programme has made a tremendous impact on the lives of thousands of women, giving them a sense of self-confidence and equality as individuals, as well as the skills and resources to be self-sufficient and independent. Your support can help many more women to have a hope and a future.