& political advisor
Ankur kala - women group
Sowing seeds of hope, dignity and self-confidence among the oppressed - especially women and children - is the mission of Ankur Kala. A voluntary organisation working in Calcutta, West Bengal in India.
Ankur Kala has a Governing Council, which meets regulary to discuss and decide on all issues concerning the organisation, and to help direct the momentum of its activities. Recently, an International Advisory Board was also created.
Read more about Ankurkala here; http://www.ankurkala.org
How Ankur Kala began.
In 1982, Annie Joseph, a qualified social worker from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, began the center with Mother Teresa's blessings and the inspiration of Brother Roger of Taizé, France. Since then, Ankur Kala has provided training - and economic and social empowerment - through teaching various vocational skills, functional literacy, small business management and alternative marketing of various handicraft products and food items produced by the center.
Most of the women who come to Ankur Kala are victims of oppression and exploitation, forced to shoulder a harsh burden of both domestic and economic needs of their families. They usually have no assets and live in small rented houses in appalling, unhygienic conditions. They come seeking the centers support to break free of the chains of poverty and oppression and to lead lives of dignity and hope.
• Parvi came to Ankur Kala from a poor and broken family.
At age 14, she was forced into a marriage with a sickly man of 40 years who died soon after, leaving her helpless, and with a little child. She first came to Ankur Kala emotionally broken, illiterate and without confidence. Today, she has blossomed - she now teaches other women to make and sell food products. Women, who like herself, are now on the road to regaining their dignity and self-reliance.
• Another girl, Bani lost her parents at a young age.
And Bani was forced to drop out of school, to support herself and her younger sister. Joining Ankur Kala in 1986, she has become a good artisan - today she is a supervisor at the center and trains other women in the art of Batik and Tie-And-Dye.
Like Parvi and Bani, there are many other women, from many different communities who came to Ankur Kala helpless and rejected. Today these have blossomed into confident and positive persons, economically self-reliant and socially aware of their rights. More so, inspired by Ankur Kala's Mission - which transformed their lives- many of them want to become agents of social change by motivating other women to become economically and socially empowered.
Unity in Diversity.
Although the women come from different communities and religions, they work and share together as one community, An important factor behind this spirit of oneness is the daily morning prayer and meditation at Ankur Kala, where the women meditate, pray and sing together as one family - "Saab ka mangal, saab ka mangal, saab ka mangal, hoi re," ... Let good happen to everyone. This is a special part of Ankur Kala's training programme and many visitors who participate in this morning prayer are very touched and inspired by the experience.
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