Mary, the founder of DWP
Founder of Nari Jagran Manch - Dalit Women Power, Sister
Mary Lobo, is a Christian nun. She grew up in Kerala, a Southern
Indian state famous for its exemplary policies in women's equity
and education. Sister Mary's work and life have been greatly influenced
by Mahatma Ghandi's philosophy of non-vilent protest and transformation.
As a nun, she has taken the vow of poverty and lives very simply
in Bodh Gaya. When Sr Mary came to Bodh Gaya some 10 years ago,
she found that all the non-governmental groups were male-dominated
and she founded Nari Jagran Manch - Dalit Women Power, a
women's organisation - for women, by women.
organises training groups for collective action at the grass-roots
level. These classes include topics such as:
Literacy and Numeracy. Many women are not only illiterate but
are also unable to recognize the value and count money. These classes
enable the women to read Hindi and to recognize numbers & money
and to do simple calculations.
& Nutrition. Malnutrition is very common in Bihar. These
classes teach women how to feed their families more healthily taking
into consideration their very limited budgets. Thei also learn about
basic hygiene and health measures they can take to protect their
families from illness.
Micro-banking and micro-enterprises
credit programmes. (Click
to learn more.)
sessions on women's rights: demands
for just wages and poverty reduction, government schemes, decentralised
in cases of atrocities against women;
(Click to learn more.)
Organic farming techniques. Increasing
yields and improving soil fertility, while decreasing dependence
on artificial fertilizers and pesticides. (Click
to learn more.)
also engages in the following activities:
of water-pumps for clean drinking-water (see picture on the
left). A near-by water pump can greatly relieve women from the time
consuming and exhausting chore of hauling water from far away. The
installation of a water pump costs about $200. If you are interested
to sponsor a water pump, click here.
of girl children in 25 non-formal village centres.
in NGO networks, environmental campaigns and People's Movements.
of smokless chulas (cooking stoves) and subsidized sale of pressure
A modest annual budget to support the eight community
workers is financed by a Swiss Non-Profit Organisation (support
Dalit Women Power). Training programmes, installation
of water pumps, micro-credits, are financed by contributions from
donors from all over the world. Members become co-owners of the
group's savings from the membership fees. The membership fee is
20 Rp per month per woman. Some of the 100 groups own - at their
level - a modest fortune. Who ever needs money, can apply for a
micro credit. That way, women are no longer a prey to money lenders
and loan sharks.
gladly accepts donations for its programs. Click here
to find out more.