The Program Elements
The major objectives of the women’s empowerment program are:
- Provide an environment in which the women learn of the everlasting love of Jesus Christ, through which emotional and spiritual support and strength can be acquired
- Teach the women marketable skills such as tailoring, embroidery, basket making and other useful handicrafts
- Help the women to improve their reading and writing skills (literacy)
- Provide a happy environment where they can share and support each other
Personality development activities are offered through active participation in Bible study, awareness and literacy programs. The use of skits enables the learning process through examples. Fellowship is built through retreats, outings and service in the community.
Bethania Kids provides two daily sessions in the women’s empowerment program. The morning program runs from 10 am to 1 pm. The afternoon session begins at 1:30 pm and finishes at 4:30 pm. In each session, the participants devote time to prayer and devotion; learn drafting, measurement and pattern making; study tailoring; and learn basket-making, embroidery and knitting.
More Than a Training Center
The women enrolled in our women’s empowerment program become very close and support the Mabel’s Care Centre. They volunteer and assist the day care staff as needed. They actively assist the day care staff in the preparation of cultural programs and festivals with such tasks as decorating the venue, dressing the children and procuring the costumes and other accessories for the functions. Some of the ladies participate in the Vacation Bible School programs. They stitch uniform clothing for children in the care centers, and they participate in picnics and retreats.
When a woman comes with family problems, she is counselled and supported. Special prayers are offered to bring comfort through trust in Jesus Christ, the divine healer. Birthdays and wedding anniversaries are celebrated, and the whole group offers a special prayer followed by a snack. The women bring special meals to the expectant mothers. When other participants are absent for various reasons, they are contacted and helped as needed. The women participate in the annual Indian Independence Day and Christmas celebrations and the final day program of the Bethania Kids Care Centres in Kodaikanal.
The bond the women develop is amazing. They support each other emotionally, and they are concerned about one another’s challenges. The fellowship and friendship they develop strengthen them, and they all look forward to coming to Mabel’s.
Mabel’s Women Empowerment Program was started in September 2000. To date more than 200 women have completed the 6-month program, learning handicrafts as well as tailoring. Many save to purchase their own sewing machine in order to work at home to earn income to help support their families.
Meet Charlet Selvi
Charlet Selvi has been in charge of Mabel’s Women Empowerment Program since June of 2005. She comes from a poor family and has nine siblings. She is the youngest child in her family, and her parents were able to send her to a government-approved tailoring course, which helps her complement her family income and educate her daughter, who is currently studying for a B.Ed. degree. Charlet’s husband is an electrician, and his jobs are not regular. There have been times when her husband has not had work, and at those crucial times, Charlet’s work has sustained the family. Her job is a blessing to her family, and she is very grateful to God Almighty, Jesus Christ and Bethania Kids for the opportunity to work at Mabel’s Care Centre. Charlet plays a major role in stitching uniforms for the care center children. She loves to teach the women, and she helps them understand how their tailoring skills can help their own families.
She has a cordial relationship with her colleagues and students. Charlet and her team willingly help the Mabel’s Day Care staff and children in time of need.
History of Mabel’s Women’s Empowerment Program
The women’s empowerment program at Mabel’s Care Centre was started in September 2000 as a literacy program. Ms. Betty Swavely, then treasurer of the Bethania Foundation, was instrumental in beginning the literacy program. Ms. Ruby Kumar, a teacher at Mabel’s Care Centre, was asked to teach handicrafts and tailoring to the women along with literacy and remained with the program until 2005.
Twenty women were initially enrolled in the Women’s Empowerment Program at Mabel’s Care Centre. The highlight of the first program was that the women were able to give up hauling wood as a livelihood.
How can you support Mabel’s Care Centre WEP?
- Churches or individuals can make gifts to cover the monthly or annual expenses of the WEP at Mabel’s Care Centre, which is economically run.
Make a difference in the lives of our children today!
There are countless ways to participate in this vibrant ministry and share God’s love with the children at Bethania Kids.