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17. January 2007

group of trainers kokilimedu © WwB

Group of trainers in Kokilimedu.

On the boat with widows © Peter Stefan

Edit Schlaffer and Ambassador Jutta Stefan-Bastl with women from Kokilimedu in the Women without Borders boat.

Car driving in Venpurusham ©WwB

Edit Schlaffer and Elisabeth Kasbauer as passengers in the Women without Borders car.

Shopping in the WwB Shop © Peter Stefan

Film presentation in Delhi, © WwB

f.l.t.r. Ambassador Jutta Stefan-Bastl, Elisabeth Kasbauer, Edit Schlaffer, Archana Kapoor

India - Together in the same boat

Well organised disaster management shows how catastrophes can lead to positive and hereto undiscovered energy.

The women empowerment projects „Connecting Women and Children for Hope!“ and “Take your Future into your own Hands!”, in the south Indian Tsunami-hit region Tamil Nadu, are models that show how much can be reached with little funding.
Instead of distributing clothes, TVs, cellular phones, or motors for the boats and then leaving behind a huge advertising board at the village entries, Women without Borders - in comparison to so many other NGOs - is still active and visible in the community. It is amazing to see with how much energy and effort the village people take their life into their own hands. Admiration alone however will not suffice; we have to continue supporting those women.

At the village gates we are already eagerly awaited with music, fire crackers, flowers and smiling faces.
Connecting Women and Children for Hope!” our successful village development project in Venpurusham und Kokilimedu, in the south Indian tsunami-hit region, is in its final stage.
On our last field trip, together with the Austrian ambassador in Dehli Dr. Jutta Stefan-Bastl, we were able to reassure ourselves that this project has been a complete success.

The women who formed cooperatives are busy renting out their nets and boat to local fishermen. People participated with enthusiasm in the literacy, computer and English classes, and queued for the medical camps. Even the men participated in meetings on alcohol and violence.
Mentioning the successes of the driving course for women is unnecessary. We had the exciting honour of being given an all female tour of the village, by car, as passengers!

The other project “Take your Future into your own Hands!” - a new economic model for women of 40+ and widows - encompassing 23 villages - contributed to supporting women in gaining ground economically within the region. A huge variety of daily required products are “manufactured”: from cleaning powder and detergent to pets, pickles, petticoats and bags. Ropes and walls are made of palm leaves. The first small businesses, formed by 5 women each, were set up. Women Without Borders experienced the thrill of buying souvenirs in the Women Without Borders Shop.

Together with our local partner, Archana Kapoor, we produced the film „Chronicle of Change. Life beyond Tsunami“. We are looking forward to presenting this documentary to you in the course of the International Womens´ Day in March 2007 (more details soon via newsletter).

Thanks to the active support of Dr. Jutta Stefan-Bastl we already premiered, in the Austrian Embassy in Delhi, on January 11th. The film was presented to a group of representatives from politics, culture and the media.


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