The Project Why Women and Children Centre saw the light of day to answer yet another deafening why. It was 2006 and we had two women in a desperate state who needed help. One woman was ready to get out of rehab and needed a safe place to stay, a kind of midway home. The other needed financial assistance for a hip surgery, but more than that, needed a place where she could stay during her recovery. And here began the story of the Project Why Women and Children Centre, one that grew organically like all else at Project Why.
The first hurdle was to find a place for these two women to stay. Easier said than done. In India women from the lower strata who drink and suffer from mental conditions or women who are HIV+ are not welcome anywhere, and in a land where nothing remains a secret you cannot hide reality for long. In the span of a few months we had to move three times! This could not continue. Our two ladies still needed help and a solution was critical.
After much thought we decided to alter the approach and expand the scope of our intervention. The only way to be accepted in a community was to answer a need and often children were the ones who helped get acceptance. The rest is history.
A quaint building was found where one wing was perfect for a residential programme and the other was ideal for a children’s centre akin to the ones Project Why already ran. It worked.
When the two ladies were ready to take leave and resume their lives, Project Why decided to again alter the women’s outreach and use the space vacated to run vocational programmes. Stitching and Beautician Training were the two skills Project Why chose, as they enabled women to work either outside or within their homes, as many come from traditional families.
For the children Project Why ran an after school programme.
The Project Why Women and Children Centre is a no-frills affair. Space is used judiciously and the terrace has been turned into a space where multiple classes are held simultaneously. On the children’s request computer classes were started and the computer section is also a big hit with some of the ladies.
The Project Why Women and Children Centre is a vibrant and spirited place where women and children are busy transforming their lives.
The Project Why Women Centre is a large family of 300 children, 150 women and 15 staff members under the patient but firm direction of Dharmendra.
Enjoy some glimpses of the Project Why Women and Children Centre.
|Dharmendra in charge|
|Classroom being set up|
|Class in session|
|Class in session|
|Learning to repair the sewing machine|
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