The Unique Programs in Cilpajodi and Dholdholi
The villages of Dholdholi and Cilpajodi are in the state of Odisha, which is very poor and where there is a low literacy rate. Subsistence is largely agrarian, and people are largely dependent on the weather for growing crops. The past five years have seen severe flooding affect the crops and for some eliminating an entire crop cycle and income or sources of food. The community is rich in culture with tribal dances, music and a sense of community. Our Child and Mother Centres there provide a common bond for the participants. Bethania Kids has a partnership with the Tribal Council in each village. In 2017 we constructed new buildings to serve these communities, moving the programs from the abandoned church buildings where they began.
In Odisha, unlike the WEPs in Kodai, we offer comprehensive care/development programs to both the children and mothers. Here the Women’s Empowerment Programs include two major components: awareness and education. Pregnant mother care, pre- and post-natal care are taught, as well as general childcare and preventive health care for families.
Another area is adult literacy education for mothers and women of the community. These programs are encouraging for women who are happy to learn to sign their own names, rather than use their left thumb impression, for government documents. This skill alone gives them a great new sense of identity. Education also includes health and sanitation (keeping their children clean and neat), maintaining clean and neat surroundings, ensuring clean water for drinking, taking care of the sick and other regular hygiene practices. The people of these villages are hard-working, especially the women. They are very excited about education programs we offer, for they truly contribute to the improvement of their children and their families.
Recently Bethania Kids arranged for the wives of the two program directors in Cilpajodi and Dholdholi, Bhagavan and Jaya Santa, to attend tailoring and embroidery training in a nearby town. They leave for training after the children go to school and return in the afternoon before the children return. In the future, BK hopes to introduce mat-weaving and basket making with other useful skills and product lines.
Bethania Kids (North American) Board Members have visited all our projects in South India except for these two projects in Odisha. While being remote, they are also very tribal and Anglo visitors are endangered by Naxalite (guerilla groups) set on keeping the people dependent. As Bethania Kids provides such a useful service to the people, they are allowed. Ravi Srinivasan, a former Bethania Kids BOD member visited these programs. As Ravi is of Indian descent, he was able to visit these wonderful programs.
Staff at the Cilpajodi and Dholdholi Women’s Empowerment Programs
At Cilpajodi Mrs. Susila Sagaria and Mrs. Phulmati Santa are undergoing tailoring training at Tara Tarini tailoring Centre, Baipariguda from second week of April 2019. Duration of training is 4 months. Third month is going on now. Unfortunately, the trainer was not well, she had been hospitalized at MKCG hospital, Berhampur for 25 days for her uterus operation. Otherwise Mrs. Susila and Mrs. Phulmati would have finished their 3rd month training. They will finish the training in the month of August-2019. They are learning to stitch all the lady’s garments. they are very happy have to such good training and thankful to Bethania for giving this good opportunity for them.
At Dholdholi Mrs. Champa Hadthal, the wife of the Project-in-charge who is a trained tailor is helping a few women in learning tailoring. We plan to increase the number of machines in order to teach more number of local women.
How can you support the Cilpajodi and Dholdholi WEPs?
The Cilpajodi and Dholdholi Child and Mother Care Centres have focused on education and awareness. They are transitioning to vocational training through sewing and tailoring. They will need to have sewing machines, cloth, thread, and other sewing equipment. In the future, microloans for sewing machines for women to purchase will be offered. You can help by donating to the following:
- Make a gift for the purchase of additional equipment (sewing, tailoring and embroidering machines).
- Make a gift for the purchase of higher quality fabrics and threads.
- Make a gift for the purchase of sewing machines for women to use in their homes and build their own businesses.
- Churches or individuals can make gifts to cover the monthly or annual expenses of the WEP at Cilpajodi or Dholdholi Care Centres, which are economically run.
- Monthly expenses for each WEP = $210; annual expenses = $2520
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