YWCA – Who, Where, What & How

Our Mission

In a changing world with changing needs, the YWCA of India needs to respond effectively with timely intervention in programmes and projects that specifically address the needs of marginalized communities. It calls us to be inclusive of all communities regardless of age, class, caste, creed, religion and to be committed to protecting human dignity and environment.

Our Vision

The YWCA in India continues to be challenged in empowering women and girls to face gender inequities, social and economic disparities, caste based discrimination and all forms of violence against women. Today in a world ridden with environmental degradation, violation of human rights, the YWCA as one of the largest women’s movements is in a strong position to be an agent for social transformation and change.

THE WORLD YWCA – A PAGE FROM HISTORY

England, 1855:

Emma Roberts Prayer Union and General Female Training Institute {GFTI} founded by Hon. Mrs. Arthur Kinnaird were two women who strove to improve the situation of their fellow women – separately initially – created because of the industrial revolution and the Crimean war. Their movements grew and soon they joined forces and formed the largest world organisation of women, the YWCA with the blue triangle as it’s symbol.

1855-1875:

Various groups had already formed in Great Britain, Sweden, Denmark, France, Germany, Switzerland, USA, Canada and British Guyana. In 1894 four existing National Associations Great Britain, USA, Norway and Sweden formed the World YWCA with London as Headquarters.

1930:

The Headquarters of World YWCA was later relocated from London to Geneva Switzerland.

The current World YWCA is a global network with presence in more than 120 countries, 20000 communities and 25 million outreach programmes.

THE YWCA of INDIA – A PAGE FROM HISTORY

1875:

Miss Hariette N. Butt, a missionary formed the YWCA of Bombay along with Miss Mary Vitters, Ms, E. Mc Ritchie and Ms. Sorabji – helping in the Pillow and Flower mission for patients in hospitals and work houses.

1887:

A home for 5 young women was the start of hostels in India.

1896:

Partly due to the efforts of Ms Hill and other YMCA leaders, the forty Indian language branches and fifty English speaking branches with twenty secretaries from abroad were united by a National Committee which came to be known as YWCA of India, Burma and Ceylon.

1947:

After the partition, The YWCA of India was formed.

Today the WORLD YWCA has more than 25 million women serving 22,000 communities spread across 128 Countries. With the presence of 86 YWCAs in India and a 7000 strong volunteer force, the YWCA of India reaches out to women and girls of different ages, economic, ethnic, occupational, religious and cultural backgrounds. It is a forum for empowerment, development, growth, sharing of ideas and formation of issue based partnerships.

OUR WORK

Since the first YWCA started in Bombay in 1875, it has grown from providing accommodation to working women and students to areas of advocacy and community outreach programmes.

Advocacy action :

which strives for the removal of all forms of discrimination and violence against women in the law, media, employment, status at home and in other spheres of life. It networks with other women’s organization and has proactively collaborated in the framing of drafts for Bills and Legislations. The YWCA of India also serves on Complaints Committees set up by Ministries, Government institutions and Public Sector Undertakings for prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace

Community Development services:

The YWCA works to improve survival, protection and participation of children of all ages through early childhood care, education programmes and advocacy for their rights. It has adopted a programmatic and multi-faceted approach to improve the quality of living in areas of education, economy and health. It also conducts Family Life Education for Adolescent Girls programmes and leadership development workshops and trainings. The YWCA also works to prevent child marriage and assists young and vulnerable mothers through various community initiatives and livelihood programs.

Other services:

YWCA of India also offers, hostels for working women and students, schools emphasizing a high standard to value based education, counselling and crisis centres, vocational training centres, school for the differently challenged, crèches and about 45 guest houses.

Our Projects:

The YWCA of India’s Community Development Project – Pippal Chhaya in TrilokPuri, Delhi:

This is a resettlement colony that focuses on empowering the children, especially girls, through education, socio – economic awareness and advocacy sessions on social issues, English and computer classes, fitness activities, character building workshops, health care through fun activities which are both engaging and informative.

Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights:

Projects on Sexual and Reproductive health and rights are conducted and these focus on educating youth on issues such as HIV/AIDS and Drug abuse. Training on gender justice for children at schools is also a key area of our work.

The YWCA of India – Dehradun { Spreadacre’s Project}:

This property, had been providing residence to the senior citizens who had decided to spend their retired life in this beautiful town. In 2010, the Home lost the last of its residents and the YWCA of India decided to renovate the heritage Cottage before new residents took up accommodation which is now reopening on 4th September 2016.

The Day Care Centre which has been functioning since 1986 on this property has been providing day care facilities to 30 senior persons. Recreational programmes, camps, income generation, rehabilitation, financial and medical aid are provided from this unit.

Guest Houses:

The guest houses run by the YWCA of India in Ootacamund, Coonoor, Nainital, Delhi and Mussoorie help raise funds for our work and provide clean, comfortable and safe accommodation for travellers.

The YWCA also offers services like hostels for working women and students, schools emphasising a high standard to value based education, counselling and crisis centres, vocational training centres, schools for the differently challenged, creches and about 45 guest houses.

OUR PURPOSE:

Being one of the largest women’s movements, the YWCA of India is in a strong position to be an agent for social transformation and change. We network with the government, policy makers, corporations, local communities and the general public. Our programmes in the communities aim at holistic development of women and girls making them employable citizens with a deep sense of commitment to society. The intent is to develop a scalable and sustainable model for development.

Disappearing Woodlands and Their Importance

With the recent Uttarakhand Forest fires – forests and their importance has been splashed everywhere from newspapers to magazines and even your news channels. It is a very big cause for concern to even those not in the vicinity of the forest fires.

What is Deforestation? The permanent destruction of forests converting them to lands for other uses other than forest cover is Deforestation. Forests cover over 31% of the Earth’s surface and about 1,19,000 to 1,50,200 square kilometres of forests are destroyed annually. In about 50 years, 17% of the Amazon Rainforest has been lost.

What causes Deforestation? There are many causes for deforestation, here are the main reasons:

  1. The logging industry has strong sanctions against felling of trees thus causing them to turn to illegal means – such as causing forest fires.
  2. Growing populations and the need for space for us humans, has caused many forests to be destroyed for road and infrastructure building.
  3. Agricultural lands, especially in India, has caused farmers to raise forests to the grounds in an effort to get more agricultural space. Forest fires also cause the land to become a little more fertile and create a good crop.
  4. Cattle ranching is another industry that requires a lot of space and forests are cleared for this.

Why are Forest spaces important?

  1. About 50% of the Earth’s Plants and animals call rainforests home even though rainforests cover about 2% of the Earth’s total surface area. Many plants, insects and animals go extinct with deforestation.
  2. Destroying forest cover shrinks the habitat for wild animals, causing them to roam closer towards civilization. These animals end up destroying crops and livestock because food in the forests becomes scarce for them.
  3. In India, tribals rely of forests for their food, clothing, fresh water, medicine and shelter. About 1.6 Billion people in the world, rely on forests.
  4. Global carbon emissions are absorbed into the forests. Less forests mean, more global carbon emissions floating in the atmosphere. Indirectly responsible for global warming.
  5. Removing forest cover, has also caused more floods to occur. Deciduous forests, like in Uttarakhand, helped ease the water into the rivers at a measured pace allowing for towns and villages on the banks of the river to utilise the water. However, with no forests to slow the waters, the waters spread over the banks and cause floods damaging properties and lives.

What can you do? United States, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, China, Russia and Dominican Republic of Congo are the 7 countries that cause about 60% of the Earth’s Deforestation. This is a concern that countries and governments have to actively participate in to pass stricter laws thus ensuring forests and the wildlife within are protected. Awareness has been at a minimum, however, because of the Uttarakhand forest fire, more information has come out. Forests fires are either caused intentionally or by the dry heat conditions.

  1. Increasing knowledge over the subject, raising awareness among you will help to a certain degree, ensuring that it is an important matter to discuss.
  2. Recycling furniture or any wooden goods. Reduce and recycle wood products whenever possible.
  3. Going paperless, recycling paper are also good ways to conserve forests

Remember – We cannot stop deforestation, however, we can HELP.

Sources: National Geographic, WWF, CustomMade

Are you Prepared?

We live in a world where the news is at our fingertips. Social media beats out news channels and papers in up to date and opinionated news. Everyone has an opinion, however, not everyone has all the facts. Half information is always a dangerous thing.

In our current climatic landscape with forest fires, earthquakes and other calamities, we need to be prepared. We need to know what needs to be done, we need to be quick thinking in those scenarios and that is only possible if we have the correct and complete information!

What is a ‘Disaster Emergency Kit’ and what does it contain? What do you do when you are trapped in a building during an earthquake? Or for that matter during a building fire? Some times timely intervention from the Government or emergency services is delayed and to survive and protect yourself and those around you, you need to remember these tips.

Be prepared, in this world, thinking ‘It can never happen to you!’ won’t help you when you do find yourself in one of these scenarios. Things happen that are beyond our control, and being informed is always a boon.

Disaster-management-1

Salient Points: Keeping copies of important documents outside of the home; having an out of town contact to coordinate with during a crisis; Do not spread rumours; Move away from falling objects, breakable objects, etc during cyclones/earthquakes/floods.

Disaster-management-2

Salient Points: Do not help injured/trapped persons – instead call for emergency services if you do not have training; As part of an organisation – network with other NGOs and government agencies to provide timely and appropriate distribution of relief materials; Make sure gender fair practices are carried out after a crisis as women and children are most vulnerable then.