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Rotary International President Elect Gary Huang Addresses RFPD Membership at Annual General Meeting in Lisbon2232 days ago
RFPD and MCH Area of Focus - VTT2232 days ago
2013 Nafis Sadik Award for Courage 2232 days ago
A Letter From Our Chairperson2232 days ago
Rotary Project In Nigeria is a MASTERPIECE2232 days ago
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Dreams Fulfilled, Lives Saved
Category: Population | By RFPD, 4-Dec-2012 | Viewed 3417  Comments 0
by Buck Linday & Devendra Kothari

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Buck Lindsay and Dr. Devendra Kothari with students at a Saheli Center-Giridih
Following the Rotary International Convention in Bangkok-May 2012, my son Ryan (a videographer) and I traveled to India where we met up with RFPD Area Coordinator-India, PDG Sandeep Narang and RFPD Member, Dr. Devendra Kothari.  Dr. Kothari is a population scientist heading the Management Institute of Population and Development.  The purpose of the trip was to visit a number of the 26  Saheli Centers in District 3250, and to deliver grants to six centers.  The grants were sponsored by US RFPD Member, Gayle Wayman, to support the Saheli Project.
  
The Saheli Center Project, initiated by the RI District 3250 in 2003, is a model to empower young women living in the local patriarchal and traditional surroundings.The project was started in four pilot locations located in states of Bihar and Jharkhand, India. The first four centers were at Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Buxar and Giridih. The original matching grant partner for this project was RC Gwinnett County of RI District 6910, Georgia, USA.  In the long term, this Rotary district expects to establish a total of 80 centers to cover 75 cities in the States of Bihar and Jharkhand.
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Students at work

The existing Saheli model is based on the premise that women empowerment is achieved by giving them education and vocational skills that will improve the quality of their lives, as well as of their family and their community. When women begin to contribute family income, they have more decision making power within the family, including child spacing.  The project imparts vocational training, ranging from one to six months, in computer, tailoring, stitching, beautician, mehendi (henna) designing and English speaking courses. The training is imparted by trained teachers, trained Rotarians and their spouses. Former trainees are encouraged to join as trainers.  Certificates are given to the Saheli students on successful completion of the course, which is valuable in getting jobs later. Each center is managed and run by a local Rotary Club and is operated in a Rotary facility - sometimes with the support of other NGOs. Existing centers train around 5,000 women/girls each year with vocational skills. 

In parts of rural India, women lack economic and social security, and are subject to exploitation.  Over 87% are employed in agriculture, with incomes of around US$1 per day.  The Saheli Centers help alleviate poverty, provide skills and training, address gender inequality. Since literate and vocationally trained women choose to have fewer children, the centers also are key to solving the population challenge in the poorer regions of India.
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Buck Lindsay presenting Wayman Grant

The monies donated will help provide new equipment and help cover operating expenses to provide new dreams and better lives for women in India. 

Many thanks to Sandeep Narang for planning and providing logistics for the trip and to Gayle Wayman for the generous grants.








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