Ayesha Khatun

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The NGO, Mohammed Bazar Backward Classes Development Society (MBBCDS) is a non-profit, non-political, non-governmental, secular organization in West Bengal state, India. The operational area, Mohammed Bazar block of the Birbhum district consists of 35 declared economically backward villages. The proposed program will cater to 16 out of those 35 villages directly empowering 1000 tribal women living thereby adopting a holistic approach through group development initiatives.

The main problems prevalent in this region are low literacy rate, lack of job opportunities for women, lack of feminine hygiene, malnutrition, gender discrimination, lack of knowledge about reproductive health and safe sex, mental problems and domestic and social violence against women.

The program aims to address these problems with the motto ‘interconnected problems – interconnected solutions’. The program will provide vocational training (in tailoring, hand-embroidery, production of low-cost sanitary napkins and production of vermicompost organic fertilizer) for both skill development and income generation. The program also aims at establishing, strengthening and capacity building of women self-help groups to support tribal women.

The program plans to tackle the problem of mal-nutrition in women by nutrition garden initiative and address problems of feminine hygiene using awareness generation and promoting the use of low-cost sanitary napkins. In addition, campaigns and awareness generation camps will be held on various issues related to women such as reproductive health, removing myths about the girl child, educating adolescent girls about puberty, the campaign against child marriages and violence against women, educating tribal women about employment and other provisions offered by the government.

The program will also provide psychological counseling to depressed tribal women and legal support to women victims of domestic and social violence. Most of the components of this program are sustainable and will continue to empower tribal women of the community for long.

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