Visit to India – Udaipur – 18.11.19
On November 18 2019, we met the representatives of the Ashta Sansthan Association, Udaipur – http://www.astha.ngo – founded in 1986, active in the fields of adult education, rural development, organizing women’s group, drought management and agricultural development. ASWA – Association of Strong Women Alone – is a member of Ashta Sansthan. In the 33 districts of Rajasthan, there are about 70,000 single women and the association helps them fill out the official pension application forms sent to the state. About 60% of these women are illiterate and do not know that they have rights. The association informs, advices them and makes every effort to ensure that they obtain a pension for themselves and/or for their children. Although these are very small monthly pensions, about 750 to 1,000 Indian rupees (10 to 14 CHF), this is a significant contribution. During our visit to the learning center, a course for trainers was offered to about twenty women from several districts. They meet once a month to discuss the difficulties encountered, on advances, specialists in the fields of agriculture and law lead the workshops. These women then go to villages to explain to women their rights, to inform about farming methods. These trainers are themselves “strong alone women” and they are full of courage.
In India, being alone is frowned upon by society, everyone is responsible for what happens to themselves because of the strong belief in reincarnation, the notion that he or she has done something “wrong” in this or a previous life is very present. A lot of work to gain self-confidence is therefore done by this association.
SWW hopes to help young women who have completed a schooling and who find themselves alone (following a divorce – still rare – or abandon by their husband – the most common case – or expelled from the family because they are pregnant) to take vocational training in agriculture or other.