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Resources

 

Rural women outshine themselves yet again.

A woman is the nerve centre of a home and family. She is the one known best to manage a house, care for her children and be the best wife to a husband. These duties portray a woman in all her glory. Education for a woman is a must. Without that vital aspect, a woman is incapable of performing her duties to the best of her ability. Be it cooking, sewing, taking care of a household or making a cup of hot tea for her husband, a strong woman defines strength.

The Women’s Enterprise and Empowerment sector held their graduation ceremony on July 3 2010 at the MCC Centre of Excellence with Mrs. Indrani Iriyagolla gracing the occasion as chief guest. The graduation ceremony kicked off with the usual lighting of the oil lamp and the students from the Women’s Enterprise and Empowerment division had so much talent to display thus indicating that rural women are an asset and a treasure not only to their families but also to their small communities in the village. Certificates of the graduates were handed over by Mrs. Iriyagolla, Kushil Gunasekera, Sampath Viraj, Asiri Suranga and Fazana Ibrahim.

The MCC Centre of Excellence – Women’s Enterprise & Empowerment Centre up to date has paved the way for 997 women to graduate since the first course in October 2007.  This was the sixth graduation ceremony, with the most number of students graduating after successful completion of their different courses.  The statistics are as follows:
187 Students from 19 villages in the Seenigama region


Courses

Number of students

Beauty Culture

34

Sewing

35

Bakery

26

General Cookery

15

Patchwork

15

Curtain

55

Beralu lace

07

The welcome speech at the ceremony was delivered by Sampath Viraj and Mrs. Iriyagolla followed suit. Her speech highlighted the importance of woman in a family. “It is important to learn how to save money for the future as the village is known to have abusive husbands who tend to waste their money on alcohol,” stressed Mrs. Iriyagolla.

Mrs. Iriyagolla also mentioned in her speech that Kushil has a wealthy heart to keep on giving back and to never stop. She also stated that the village community can exhale in many different skills and as a result can be courageous to do anything in life. Mrs. Iriyagolla gave many valuable lessons to the graduated students such as building networks, relationships, skills, knowledge, birth strength, training, education, business skills, and organization skills which are to be developed in every aspect.

Various types of food had been prepared for the joyous occasion such as pastries and desserts. Fried rice, devilled fish curry, pasta were laden on the table along with other pastries such as fish buns, pizza, Vienna buns, sausage rolls, egg burgers, pastries, jam tarts, éclairs, doughnuts, cookies, sponge cake, coconut cake, jelly tarts, croissants and sweet rolls. Yum! These women are sure to cook food enough for a whole army at least by 7.00am on almost all weekdays.

It wasn’t just the impressive food prepared by these women that showcased their brilliance; it was also their astounding ability to display their work in making curtains, sewing, patchwork and uniquely made candles. The curtains displayed were suited for any home and were designed in several ways such as rings, loops and pleats in the design.

Candles of all shapes and sizes, some scented, some unscented and some with dried leaves and flowers were displayed at the ceremony too. And to think that these rural women could become successful entrepreneurs with their talents is something that must come as inspiration for women and girls everywhere. Not just women and girls, but even men too. To understand and accept that women are the backbone of a family and a home. And perhaps, nothing is possible without the touch of a woman in a household.

Well crafted jackets fashioned out of beeralu lace were also displayed along with table cloths, table mats and cushion covers also sewn from the beeralu type of lace. Beeralu lace craft is dying in the south and the items completed with this lace are very costly and high priced. As always nothing is possible without the guidance and care showered by teachers. Volga, Ranjini, Mallika, Rasika, Venura and Asiri are the talented teachers who were applauded on the success of their students along with Asiri Suranga who is the manager for the Women’s Enterprise and Empowerment sector. And Kushil Gunasekera, the great force behind all the success was applauded too.

Kushil’s speech at the ceremony told the graduates certain simple things that don’t require much effort. He stated that even a simple smile is enough to ensure that one goes through a job interview successfully. “Beauty is not only in makeup and dressing; it is also in your thoughts, deeds, feelings and the inner beauty that creates true beauty in a person's within and outer appearance. It is important to clean up your heart by emptying the bad ugly emotions and filling it up with good and beautiful emotions.” explained Kushil.

As in every class, beneficiaries have completed many community service projects that come as very valuable to their community. Some are donating funds for eye surgeries, to get clean water for drinking, donating funds to start a self employment project, electricity to dispel darkness. This batch of students collected funds to hand over a coir weaving machine to a blind couple with children. Tears came to everyone's eyes when the couple came to receive this generous life saver which is a mode to earn their monthly expenses. There were many other people who came contributed more after seeing the couple with their children.

"Kushil says, If one wants to look at the positive side of the rural women, they now have a chance to learn a vocation, not one but many under one roof for their empowerment, effectiveness and greater productivity with the help of the Foundation of Goodness.  Prior to the tsunami they did not have these facilities free of cost to pursue different avenues of learning rather be satisfied as a housewife undergoing numerous hardships.

At least now they can wish for a better future by acquiring not only their preferred areas of interest, life skills and gain knowledge through those who have been successful which endorses the saying that if you empower a woman the whole family will reap the benefits and taken care of.

All of the above would not have materialized if not for our generous and caring sponsors who made the difference at the end."

“Courage allows the successful woman to fail – and learn powerful lessons from the failure – so that in the end, she didn’t fail at all.” – Maya Angelou

- By Sarah Kellapatha

 

 

 

2010.09.20

 
 
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