Empowerment is a process which includes:
- Equal access to opportunities for using societies resources.
- Prohibition of gender disparity.
- Freedom from violence.
- Economic Independence.
- Participation in all decision making bodies.
- Freedom of choice in matter relating to one’s life
Empowerment of women is a process which includes: Equal access to opportunities for using societies resources; prohibition of gender disparity; Freedom from violence; Economic independence; Participation in all decision-making bodies; Freedom of choice in matters relating to one’s life. Education is one of the most important means of empowering women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary for a woman to take control and decision about her own life and the lives of her children. Education for women not only entails knowledge of literacy and numeracy, but also attaining vocational and life-skills training.
Ahana works to educate and empower the women from the poor and marginalized communities in Darjeeling and Medinipur through Honing and Upgrading their Skills in Dying art forms in their own community. In these communities, majority of the artisans are subsistence farmers or work as daily wage labourers. With other livelihood opportunities available, and limited demand for handicrafts, pursuing their craft is no longer a lucrative livelihood option. The women in these communities, even when possess the required knowledge and skills, are not allowed to practise or use these skills as means of livelihood. Ahana works in collaboration with the women’s groups from these communities to understand the intricacies of their lives, their cultural heritage and the challenges they face in practising their craft. Interacting with the women also helps us understand various social issues they face – like education for their children and access to nutrition and health services.
Ahana conducts series of training workshops in which the women upgrade their skills with support from the leading experts and designers from the industry. The trainers and the designers work with them to produce not only artefacts for their local consumption, but also innovate and design artefacts to be sold in the wider urban markets.
This not only helps in empowerment of the women in those communities, but develop the wider local community at large and help in revival and sustenance of the art forms in the long run.