JBGVS’ Mahila Melawas provide entertainment and empowerment to 800 women

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Pune: 31st January: Jankidevi Bajaj Gram Vikas Sanstha (JBGVS), as a part of its social and economic development agenda regularly provides opportunities to women from poor and lower middle class backgrounds where they get to build their self-confidence. The annual Mahila Melawas (women’s fairs) organized as social platforms have always been a big hit among women in all talukas where JBGVS operates. Recently two such Melawas were organized in Maval taluka, Pune district. Similarly, the various cultural activities of JBGVS’ Samaj Seva Kendra (SSK) in Akurdi also help women in getting connected in an entertaining manner.

Social and Economic Platform
Such activities of JBGVS serve multiple purposes. Most importantly they provide an effective platform for social interactions. Women who are busy either in hectic agricultural activities or stressful urban occupations, get to spend a day away from their routines and experience the entertainment activities presented by others like them. These events also provide a medium for informal publicity for those women who have developed some marketable skills or entrepreneurial ability, which they can showcase on the occasion. Networking with like-minded women and even prospective clients is an add-on benefit of such activities.

Mahila Melawas in Maval Taluka
This time, the JBGVS Mahila Melawas – the all-time favourite events among women – were organized in Nane Maval and Andra Maval areas on 21st and 28th January in Karanjgaon and Kalhat villages respectively. A total of 800 women from 29 villages participated in the events organized in association with 45 women’s self-help groups (SHGs), with whom JBGVS works jointly.  Along with cultural activities on the occasion of Makar Sankrant and interesting games; talks and street plays provided guidance on topics like women empowerment, cleanliness, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, importance of Sankrant festival, safeguarding of girl child, position of women in society, environment conservation, tree plantation, gender equality and female foeticide. The dynamic “Kiran” volunteers of JBGVS also presented on some of these issues.

Ms Snehlata Balsaraf, lecturer in Parulekar College, Talegaon, was the chief guest for the Melawa in Nane Maval, while Ms Vidya Takwe, head of SHG in Kamshet was the chief guest in Andra Maval event. Mr V B Sohoni, Secretary, JBGVS; Ms Sangeeta Walke, Project Organizer, JBGVS and Mr Atul Sathe, Communication Officer, JBGVS also addressed the audience. Similar Melawas will also be held shortly in Khed taluka of Pune district, Aurangabad district and Wardha district.

Sankrant jewellery/Bhajan competitions in Akurdi
JBGVS-SSK plays a similar role among economically backward women in and around Akurdi in Pimpri-Chinchwad. They serve a dual purpose – celebrating cultural events and enabling women for self-employment. This time, the seasonal winter activities started off with a competition of preparing traditional Sankrant jewellery from sweets (halwa), organized on 17th January, in which 15 women participated with hand-made jewellery. Besides, nearly 400 women also took part in the celebration and got first-hand information on making of such jewellery, which fetches good price in the market. This was followed by a bhajan reciting competition, organized on 22nd January. A total of 16 bhajan groups participated in this event, which apart from providing entertainment and a platform for presenting their art also enables further learning about the nuances of devotional music and skill development. The women from these groups are already performing professionally in outside events for a fee and are earning supplementary income for their household.