Dr. Ranaprabha Rajmane, the Principal of the College and the Convener, Dr Frances Vaidya, welcomed the guests as they lit the Diya (Lamp) invoking God’s presence. This was followed by an interreligious prayer led by the students of the college. The speakers of the day and some foreign dignitaries were called upon the stage and were honored with a memento.
The objective of this conference was “to create an awareness and dialogue between professionals, academics and scholars on major issues related to women entrepreneurship”.
The series of talks that followed highlighted the inter-disciplinary scope of women entrepreneurs in India. The main topics dealt with promotion of Indian women entrepreneurs in male-dominated sectors, education towards gender equality, role of financing institutions, government policies towards women devel
opment, life-long education and learning.
Nancy presented a paper about SARPI’s work with women entrepreneurs in the rural areas. She highlighted the five components of SARPI- Pedro Poveda Special School, Samagratha Library & Mobile Library, Community Social Mobilization, Kurta Project and Self Help Group for women. She then focused on the Kurta project and Self help groups for women presenting how these projects have helped women to gain confidence, self-reliance and economic independence. She also explained the positive impact on the lives of women involved where it is visible that the women have improved their standard of living and developed communication skills. Quite noticeable change is to see how they have learnt to voice out their problems and difficulties.
Nenita spoke briefly about gender equality in the Philippines, highlighting this Christian’s country stress on human dignity and equality before God. She also quoted St. Pedro Poveda who said” Why deny 50% of the world’s population from contributing towards human progress and development?
The second part of the conference was the presentation of some 80 related themes prepared by the College staff and students studying to become teachers. The College of Eduction whose motto is “Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach” strives to put into practice the Gandhian principles, which are designed and integrated to bring abut behavioural changes in the learners.
During this conference, Sarpi had a stall to display and sell products of the Kurta Project which was also an occasion to make known and advertise SARPI’S valuable contribution towards women empowerment.
Participating in this conference was an opportunity to meet and make contacts with different NGO’s college professors, teachers and academicians.
The Conference ended with an Indian cultural dance.
Information and photos: Nancy Fernandes