WE (Women Empowerment) Project To Support Women

How do you feel if your ability to do things is declining day by day, falling into a wheelchair or bed, or getting stuck in four walls of a house for the rest of your life? Persons with Muscular dystrophy (MD) and Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) face this way in their daily lives. They are afraid to even drink a glass of water if there is no one to help them go to the toilet. Deteriorating physical conditions cause stress and anxiety among them. Limited mobility affects education and employment.

So most of them depend on others for financial help. They are physically, mentally and financially backwards. The four walls of their home isolate them from the outside world. It also affects their social life.

In this scenario, the importance of a woman empowerment program that focuses on the physical, mental, economical and social upliftment of women with Muscular dystrophy  and Spinal muscular atrophy is increasing. The MinD Trust’s WE (Women Empowerment) project is one such example.

MinD (Mobility in Dystrophy) Trust

MinD (Mobility in Dystrophy) Trust was founded on 1st May 2017. It is formed by patients suffering from Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). The aim of the MinD Trust is creating awareness, education, employment, rehabilitation and research. WE (Women Empowerment) is one of the prestigious projects of the MinD Trust.

On December 3, 2020, the WE (Women Empowerment) project was officially inaugurated by Moideenkutty Poomaram. Currently, the project coordinators are Emi Sebastian and Shibina Abdu.

The importance of the WE (Women Empowerment) project?

The WE project tries to improve the living conditions of women with Muscular Dystrophy/ Spinal muscular atrophy.

MD/SMA are genetic disorders. The severity of the disease is gradually increasing. The physical and mental hardships she experiences are indescribable. Patients begin to depend on others. This increases the stress of patients.

Reliance on others for basic needs puts more pressure on women than men. This is because the physical structure of men and women is different. Women face a lot of stress during menstrual days. As a woman, they also face insecurity.

Only some women can live without the help of others. Some women depend on their aged parents, and some live alone after the death of their parents. Divorce is a common thing among them. Some are mentally and physically abused by their husbands. All this makes the lives of women more miserable.

WE ( women empowerment) project to support ladies
Emi Sebastian with MinD member Kavitha

Aim of WE (Women Empowerment) project

Most women are stranded within the four walls of their homes. There is no one to share their problems with. The project has three objectives. The first goal is to provide a platform for women to share their problems.

Most of the ladies could not complete their education. Resuming their education will help them become more confident and optimistic. So the second goal is education.

The third goal of the WE project is to make women financially independent. Many problems can be solved if they are financially independent. They become weaker day by day and are unable to do the hard work as well. Everyone needs to find suitable jobs. Moreover, they need training

Activities of WE (Women Empowerment) project

Mental support

The project does a lot to mentally support and energize women. Members interested in yoga and meditation can practice this. Zoom meetings or Google Meetings are held weekly. It allows members to share their problems and discuss various issues related to their lives. They have WhatsApp groups. They also provide small financial assistance to the needy.

A friendship developed between the women. Online meetings and phone calls between members help them share their problems and seek solutions. The thought of having someone to listen to their grievances will reduce their stress. Thus the members support each other.

Educational support

The project also focuses on women’s education. Most members could not complete their education.

Those who have dropped out halfway through their education are identified and given assistance for further education. Currently, twelve women have resumed their education. Some members are preparing to pass the seventh equivalency test. There is even a member who prepares for graduation.

Moreover, there are some educated women. They spend time thinking about unwanted things. These people were encouraged to give online tuition classes to students at the MinD Trust. Currently, 32 women are taking tuition for students at the MinD Trust. These women are very happy and confident. Now they have no time to think about unnecessary things.

As part of this project there were 25 days of basic Communicative English Classes.

Employment support

Most women are in wheelchairs. The functionality of their hands is limited. Careers that require a lot of physical power are not suitable for such people.

So work is a challenge for people with MD/SMA. Some of the jobs these women can do have been identified.

The women themselves under this Women Empowerment Project conducted training classes called ‘Vathil’. Classes were held in handicraft making, paper pen making and flower making. In collaboration with other organizations, the Women Empowerment Project conducted classes in mural painting and digital marketing. The Project runs a basic computer course for members.

It is worth mentioning that Emi Sebastian, one of the coordinators of the WE project, trained women in cake making. 23 members attended the training. Moreover, they started making cakes and selling cakes under the name Cako.

Skill development programs of WE (Women Empowerment)

Women with MD/SMA are more talented. Although they are physically weak, mentally they are normal.

Despite their poor health, with the support of Project WE, they formed a WhatsApp group and began practising dance in wheelchairs. Videos of two beautiful wheelchair dances have been released on YouTube. Some are good at drawing. Their drawings are collected and exhibited in programs.

Recently, We The Women Empowerment Project has started an online music class. Those who can sing and love music attend this class. Classes are one hour a week. Women enjoy these classes and they do not know the passing of time.

The WE project is going ahead with a number of wonderful programs. Recently, a short film titled ‘WE’ was released. All the people who worked on the short film are ladies with Muscular dystrophy and Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

In addition, MinD Trust member, writer and National Award winner MV Sathi released a booklet containing a collection of love letters. The name of the book is ‘Ninakkay’.

These women are also human. They have their dreams. They have the right to live here with pride.

If they have adequate education and working conditions, they can live without relying too much on others. It is the responsibility of the community and the family to provide these women with better education and better living conditions. The projects like WE (Women Empowerment) can convert dependents into contributors.

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