MUMBAI: SOBHA’s CSR initiative, Graamasobha, under the aegis of Sri Kurumba Educational and Charitable Trust has undertaken systematic social empowerment activities in Vadakkenchery, Kizhakkenchery and Kannambra panchayats in Kerala, India. Over the last 12 years, Graamasobha has transformed the lives of thousands of people.
Over the years, investments have been made in terms of designing, developing and delivering state-of-the-art infrastructure to the poorest of the poor without any discrimination on the basis of religion, caste or creed.
SOBHA’s CSR activities cover education, healthcare, welfare, women empowerment and employment. The women empowerment initiatives are primarily targeted at widows and girls from economically backward segment. These include:
SOBHA Young Mothers Rehabilitation Programme
The Trust offers a comprehensive rehabilitation package for the ‘Young Mothers’ (widows) living in Hermitage. They are provided with safe and secure living and welfare at absolutely no cost. The widowed mothers and their children live together. All mothers are encouraged to continue their education and many have completed their graduation while others are catching up. All are employed at the SOBHA Academy with good remuneration, which they can save.
Their children are admitted to the prestigious The SOBHA Academy, where they are able to obtain quality education. Special arrangements are made to teach music and dances to their children at the SOBHA Hermitage. For these young mothers whose children have grown up, individual self-contained flats have been constructed and allotted for each family. Previously, they were housed in SOBHA Hermitage. To ensure that they have an emotionally fulfilling life, many young widows are re-married to suitable men. In short, an integrated social rehabilitation for the vulnerable widows is offered successfully at Hermitage, saving them from exploitation.
SOBHA Rural Women Empowerment
It has taken 50 widowed mothers and their children belonging to the Vadakkenchery and Kizhakkenchery panchayat under its wing. They are provided with a basic monthly living allowance, clothing, medical and other personal accessories. Educational expenses of their children are met by the Trust to give them adequate opportunity to come up in life.
SOBHA Health Care
SOBHA Health Care, which was started in 2007, is one of SOBHA’s flagship CSR activities. Through this, free and easy access to primary health care is provided to the under privileged people. SOBHA Health care now also provides antenatal care to pregnant women, besides others.
SOBHA Dowry-Less Social Wedding
Our dowry-less social wedding programme is a constructive approach to tackle issues of dowry and poverty. The girls from economically and socially weaker section of the society are married off under the aegis of the programme ‘dowry-less social wedding’. It helps approximately 40 women get married each year and provides basic resources to the couples to help them begin their wedded life. The couples are given pre-marriage counselling. The Trust’s staff also monitors the couples’ post marriage life periodically and renders help, if needed.
Some facts and figures that highlight the success of SOBHA’s women-centric initiatives:
- As a policy, 100 percent seats are reserved for girls from the academic year 2017-18 at the academy. There are nearly 800 girls on rolls, giving them confidence to face the new world with courage and conviction to build a new social- economic order of their
- Over 95 percent of employees are women. This empowers and enables them to share and participate in the organisation and management activities.
- The social wedding initiative has seen 590 girls from the poor families getting married. Every year, 40 girls are married under the initiative.
- Widows are given monthly livelihood assistance, preference in employment, direct admission to school, and rehabilitation of the most vulnerable ones. This means, the basics are assured for leading minimum quality life and rescuing the tender ones from being victims of orphan-hood. Efforts are also made to get these young mothers re-married. Of the 18 young mothers, 7 young widows were re-married with the support of the Trust under the ‘Young Mothers Rehabilitation’ programme.
- Women are given preference for employment in housekeeping, laundry, supply/service and maintenance with continuous exposure to world-class living resources, facilities and services. This improves their vision of life, apart from the innumerable skills, particularly communication skills.