KASTURBA TRUST: PROGRAMMES AND PURSUIT
A BEACON OF HOPE:
Gandhiji's call the Sevikas (Woman Activists) of Kasturba Trust have
left the comforts of their homes to work in far villages among the
people of distant hills and forests. Armed with little training but
a great deal of determination and courage. They have earned respect
through working selflessly for building a new Society. Each and
every year has been a great step forward in this very tradition,
which has kept the flame of hopes alight in the life of millions of
rural folk. This has been a bright chapter of commitment at grass
root level and which forms the future prospect for great deeds. Let
us review these activities.
TOWARDS WOMEN'S AWARENESS
The Kasturba Trust has
attempted through awareness building groups, to inculcate spirit of
self-reliance and self-confidence among women. The activities of
Trust have significantly contributed to developing a sense of
self-respect among women and have empowered them to lead to healthy
and happy life. In this attempt attention is paid to problems of
each and every state, especially to common village warrior widows,
down trodden and helpless women who have been suppressed and have
lost their self-respect. These attempts have brought about
remarkable change into the life of these neglected women and have
attained a great degree of self-respect and human values towards the
Kasturba Trust had the
major activity of helping and serving rural mass, mainly in the
field of health and welfare of rural women and children's working in
a variety of difficult terrains all over the country from dense
forests of Assam to the snow clad Himalayan Himachal Pradesh.
Working with scanty resources and in difficult circumstances, the
Trust Sevikas have nevertheless made valuable contribution to the
health of women and children of these areas.
It has been commonly
experienced that in many places people prefer to go to the Trusts
Centres and hospitals rather than that to local Government
Hospitals. Sevikas of the Trust constantly endeavour to provide the
best possible health services at lowest possible cost to reach to
the last citizen of the country.
Gandhiji had given
many constructive social programmes to the Trust and leprosy
Eradication was one of the prime tasks. To fulfil this objective the
Kasturba Kushta Nivaran Nilayam was established in 1946 at
Malvanthangal in Tamilnadu. At that time the incidence of leprosy in
Tamilnadu was 48 leprosy patients per 1000. As a result of
Nilayam's work this figure has come down to 01 per 1000. This
achievement has brought new hope and joy to the thousands far and
WOMEN HEALTH WORKERS TRAINING
PROGRAMME (NURSES TRAINING):
training has been going on since 1952. Women in the age group of 18
to 28 years with 10th or 12th school certificate are admitted here
for two years training. After successful completion of the training
programmes, trainees are employed by the Trust and sent to various
branches but today the demand for trained nurses is so much that
they get good jobs very soon in other government & private hospitals
SERVICES IN BORDER AREAS
Right from its
inception, the Trust has been working among rural women and children
of the border areas of Jammu & Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam and
Tripura. The Sevikas in these areas have worked with courage and
determination, often risking their lives and have made major
contribution to the social transformation of those areas.
In Kasturbagram, there is an
arrangement for education from Balwadi (kindergarten) to post
graduate classes 'M.A.' Girls from tribal and rural areas are given
admission in school & college. All students are resident.
Kasturba Trust is running
Crèches in many states where an attempt is made to provide children
with nutritious diets and sound education in healthy environment.
Children of farmwomen, labourers and working mothers are kept in
Crèches. Later the children join Balwadis where their personality
development continues. While Crèches are body building places for
them. In Balwadis they are groomed into impressive personalities.
The Trust runs six middle
schools for rural girls. These schools are playing important role
in creating personality development because of their specialized
programmes. Specially in those areas where parents do not allow
adolescent girls to go to co-education schools but girls want to
continue their education.
Kasturba Trust has
established four higher secondary schools where rural and tribal
girls are getting higher education for decades. Thus on one hand
these girls are getting higher education at their doorsteps, on the
other they are freed from the clutches of child marriage. They are
also exposed to the fields of higher education.
Young girls from rural and tribal areas should get such higher
education befitting to meet their basic rural needs. The Trust is
running a girls' college, where the girls from rural and tribal
background are given college education for their basic needs. This
residential college is affiliated to Devi Ahilya University, Indore
and acclaimed as an autonomous college. Here, girls are given
education in Arts, Home Science and Rural Extension faculties as a
compulsory subject. The graduate girls from this college go to the
rural and tribal areas to work as rural social activists.
To give an opportunity of
formal education for girls upto the higher classes it is important
to run hostels for them otherwise parents do not send their girls to
such schools for getting education. To facilitate girls to stay at
places away from their homes, the Trust is operating girl's hostels
BA- KA-GHAR (THE MOTHER'S HOME)
With assistance from Central Social Welfare Board this project is
being run by the Trust. In this department destitute, suffering and
women in danger are admitted and trained in various types of
vocations to achieve self-reliance or to re-establish them in their
families for peaceful future.
WOMEN HELP LINE
In February 2003 a new programme has started to help distressed
women who want rescue. For this a toll free telephone i.e. 10921
has been provided which women to seek help in their hour of need can
PEACE STUDIES CENTRES
In October 2003 a centre for peace studies was started to train the
young women with intellectual wisdom practical understanding and
skills to establish peace in the society among the different faiths,
communities, castes, classes and genders. Similarly, to cultivate a
cutting of non-violence, another school of peace was launched in
October 2004 at the head quarter of the Trust for the young women of
all the states of the country.
TRAINING RURAL SOCIAL WORKERS AT
SEVIKA VIDYALAYA (WOMEN WORKERS TRAINING CENTRE)
The main objective of Sevika Vidyalaya is training of
women social workers to work among rural women and children. Under
this, women are trained for village and community development.
Health workers also undertake a basic orientation course on Gandhian
thoughts, objective of Kasturba Trust, working pattern and Gandhian
concept of rural development and Gram Swarajya (Village republics).
OLD AGE RESORTS
Some of Trust's branches are
operating old Age resorts for women from self generated funds.
INCOME GENERATING PROGRAMMEStc
"Income Generating Programmes"
Trust was formed to strengthen India's rural self-reliant economy
and here prime importance is given to agriculture, Cow farming and
Khadi (hand spun and hand woven cloths). The main objectives
of these programmes is to promote self reliance among rural people,
following programmes are being taken up by the Trust all over the
Most of the provincial branches and their centres have agricultural
land on which food grains, vegetables and fruits etc. are grown.
Nurseries for growing and sale of saplings have been established.
Coconut is cultivated on large scale by coastal branch. At
Kasturbagram, Indore farming is undertaken on large scale. Improved
seeds of various crops are produced and sold to the local farmers.
Horticulture is also undertaken here and there is usually a flood of
Goshalas (Cow farms) were established at different centres right
from the inception of the Trust. Here priority has been given to
indigenous breeds of cattle. Milk yields are high. After
distribution of milk to children at Trusts Ashrams, the remaining
milk is being sold. Kasturbagram, Indore dairy has cows of famous
Gir breed of Gujarat. This is a model centre for visitors.
Khadi : A cloth
and a principle
Hand spinning is a Gandhian ethic and is undertaken as a value of
self-reliant life style in most branches of the Trust. Every Centre
of Assam branch is engaged in hand spinning and hand-weaving.
Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal and Kasturbagram, Indore are also
playing a steady role for this.
Tailoring (drafting, cutting and stitching of various garments) is
also being taught to the women in Bihar, Punjab, Niwali (Madhya
Pradesh), Kerala, Tamilnadu, Assam, Orissa and Kasturbagram. In
Rajasthan, Bihar, Kerala punjab, Haryana, Niwali and Delhi stitching
is taught to women. School Uniforms are stitched in Niwali and
Kasturbagram, Indore, which generates income to the needy women.
Bee Keeping, sweets and condiments like Sattu, Chiwada, Badi and
Papad, Fruit preservation, Pickles, Jam and jelly making etc. are
carried out at various branch centres and brought for selling.
PEACE RESTORING ACTIVITIES
Assam branch of Trust
is pioneer in peace work among all the 22 state branches, which is
active for restoring peace in Assam since more than 10 years
continuously (More detail mentioned in the chapter "Special
achievements of the Trust"). Bihar is another branch organising
peace camps, rallies, meeting and running a school of peace training
camps and inspired the women to work as peace volunteer in their
villages or towns. The peace-training centre at the head quarter of
the Trust is to provide thought fully well skilled volunteers to all
the state branches. Trust needs ideas, helping hands and financial
aid for this important work to continue and spread it widely.