Dr. Heggade believes that, “there is no tool more effective than the empowerment of women.”
Realizing that the women and children in rural India too need urgent help, Dr. Heggade introduced special self-help programs like Jnaana Vikasaa and SIRI that taught women to empower themselves and live with dignity and self respect. Besides, creating employment opportunities was also a huge task before such enterprise.
The focused efforts of Dr. Heggade to empower women have been fully supported by Mrs. Hemavathi Heggade. She, besides being a role model, guides the members of the SHG’s to be self sufficient and self-relevant. This mission has been founded on the "concept of happy family." Mrs. Hemavathi Heggade regularly contributes to a column called “Gelathi” in Neeranthara, a monthly magazine.
For her continuous focused commitment towards the up-liftment of the poor people, she has been recognized with awards such as Keladhi Rani Chennamma and Goenka awards.
Having brought the farmers and their children into the mainstream, it was the turn of the rural women. The question "Why deprive the rural women of their right to self-expression" perhaps inspired Shri Heggade to turn his attention to bring them into the ambit of his overall growth plan.
Actively supported by his wife, Smt. Hemavati Heggade, he recreated the magic of the Self Help Group. Smt. Heggade, gathered a group of dedicated women volunteers from the surrounding villages. She groomed them through specially designed, intensive training sessions which covered areas like housekeeping, sanitation (within and outside their immediate surroundings), nutrition, handicraft, cottage industries etc.
Beedi (hand-rolled cigarettes) rolling and farm labor are two of the major revenue sources for women in the coastal district, who can earn up to Rs. 800/- per month from these activities. However, women do not retain much in savings and continue to remain socially backward. SKDRDP recognized the need to empower women into developing a habit of saving and hence began organizing the Jnaanavikasa Program.
Jnaanavikasa Kendras are unique centers of socio-economic empowerment for uneducated, unemployed rural women with no land. In the Jnanavikasa Kendras, women empower themselves through weekly two-hour group sessions sharing knowledge on health, family welfare, hygiene, children's education and clean surroundings. Besides finding inspiration from each other, women also learn about inculcating family values and developing savings habits. Such participation imbues usually shy women with confidence and transforms them into self-respecting, determined women.
Jnaanavikasa Kendras are now attempting to train women in various production activities like floriculture, dairying, vegetable cultivation and home industries.
For more information visit @ SIRI