Education, organization and empowerment of women and girls in Tamil Nadu

In 24 coastal villages near Chennai, girls are trained in the “Snehidi” (English: girlfriend) association. They are strengthened and prepared to earn a decent living as adult women, to shape family life satisfactorily, to actively participate in social and political life and to help shape the development process.
Sex education and personal development are offered to all girls in weekend programs. Other topics are health and nutrition as well as women’s rights.

The young girls also take on important tasks in the project themselves. In each village, 7-10 girls aged 14-15 are selected to be trained as trainers and then train 10 other girls in their village. With the support of village counselors, groups of girls will draw up development plans in their village.
The older girls are encouraged to be mentors to younger children. This means, for example, tracking their health or helping them with their homework.
The girls receive further training in a resource center, including how to use computers, and thus have better chances on the job market later on. The daughters of single women, who are particularly disadvantaged, are specifically supported with the help of a training fund. Workshops are offered during the school holidays, ranging from mathematics to theater courses. Through cultural programs, which include learning traditional dances, not only valuable traditional and cultural values are preserved, but the girls feel more self-confident in everyday life because they are aware of their bodies and know how to express themselves. These activities also strengthen the sense of community.
The Snehidi Association is reserved for young girls so that they can talk about their problems and find solutions in a safe space.

After the end of the project, the Snehidi girls’ association should organize its work autonomously and take on new members. The girls trained as trainers will pass on their knowledge and train new trainers. The girls are then able to stand up for the interests of their village community independently, to become active in the Gram Panchayats and to use government programs.

Project sponsor:       Andheri Hilfe e.V.

Project partner:       Center for Women’s Development and Research

Funding year:          2013 – 2018

Project No.:              13-13si

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