BRIEF REPORT ON VIMUKTI AT CHIKKODI
Ten years back in 1997 the Diocese of Belgaum entrusted Chikodi
mission to the care of the Capuchins. Since there were not many
Catholics the apostolate of social action was thought of. The bishop
extended the services of BDSSS (Belgaum Diocesan Social Service
Society) to Chikodi. When Fr. Dominic was transferred after
initiating the mission, Fr. Martin D'Silva took over and coordinated
and started social work initially in 15 villages. It was difficult
to win the confidence of the rural people. There was lot of
suspicion about us. However as time went by we were able to win the
trust of the village folk. We started Self Help Groups of rural poor
women. For two years groups were formed and maintained for BDSSS. In
fact it was the first attempt in the province to start social work
officially and in an organized way. Mean time we started a project
under Vimukti and Andheri Hilfe from Germany sponsored it and still
continues to do so. The work of empowering the rural poor women
continued under both the projects with the leadership of Fr. Martin
D'Silva. Today we are working in 73 villages of Chikodi Taluka among
which 33 villages of Vimukti and 40 villages of BDSSS and total
women 3944 and 449 men are organized in 321 SHG groups.
The rural women who were very poor and marginalized are brought
to the centre stage of development. Today they have regained their
human dignity. They can now withstand the atrocities heaped on them
by the male dominated society. The rural woman who is under our
guidance is no more a mute spectator to the events happening around
her but she is able to participate in the dynamics of
decision-making. Vimukti has given her 'MUKTI' from male domination
in her house and from the dependency both economic and social. Now
she has her own money. She owns her own assets. She has a say in
domestic affairs, which were earlier the sheer domain of males of
the family. This change brought by our work signifies the success of
the mission, in spite of lack of adequate house or office or
training centre for six long years.
For the past nine years we have given number of trainings and
conducted numerous awareness programmes for the project
beneficiaries. Trainings such as Legal, Health. Rights, on Gender
discrimination, Management of Natural resources, Conservation of
soil and water, Modern agricultural methods, banking, personality
development. Herbal medicines Income generation, etc., were
conducted to enlighten the poor. Women were given awareness about
their dignity and their rights. They were taught to procure govt.
schemes. Series of awareness programmes, exposures, movements,
agitations, trainings and struggles made women self-reliant and
Finance and Self-Employment:
The women in the groups have saved so far Rs. 48,44912. 00 and
they have taken internal loans from the groups. As a result of this
many house holds in villages are free from the clutches of the money
lenders and rich people. The groups have got bank linkages and
almost every group has procured bank advances and using the money
for various development programmes. Women have got number of govt.
schemes and altogether Rs. 58,39.500.00 has been got as subsidy from
the Govt. departments. With this money women purchased buffaloes,
sheep or goat, brought sewing machines, women have started petty
business, started small poultries, and developed their agricultural
It is not that only on economic filed our women are thriving but
our thrust from the day one was change of their social and political
state. Woman, in this part of the world is considered just a
"thing''. She is just a property of the husband. He has got absolute
right over her life. As a result her social status is very decimal.
She lacked self confidence, courage, education, health, and just
compensation for her labour. Her movements were limited to temple,
washing place, and fields where she laboured. Her world was within
the four walls of the house. But after years of awareness building
and working in the groups the woman of our project has changed. She
knows that she is somebody. She has become assertive of her dignity
and rights, not only from her male family members but also from
society at large. She has brought a social change in her world. Now
she has respect and honour from her husband. They also have become
politically strong. No longer passive voter, who acted as husband
commanded but well informed citizen of democratic nation. They have
participated in panchayat elections and won 38 seats out of 56
contested. They take active role in village panchayat functioning
and other welfare programmes of Govt.
We have in each village one woman volunteer. Second week of
every month volunteers find joy to come together for meeting. They
come with prepared with the responsibility they had in their
respective villages. On the whole they feel happy having assisted
some one who is in need of them. There is lot of" enthusiasm to
develop their resource in the villages. We also give them in-puts on
various topics. We help them to grow their personality. We support
and encourage them for their committed service to SHGs, the animator
and people at their village. These are the key persons to sustain
and implement our project in the respective villages, because they
want to improve their resources and to make good use of the
This time Mahasanga Presidents and all Volunteers had excursion to
Ujire, Dharmastala with the involvement of decennial celebration of
Vimukti trust. They took active participation in the programme and
also spoke about our Vakkuta activities and understood the
activities held in Ujire Vimukti. Bankal Vimukti and Raichure
Vimukti. For the rally our Vakkutas former President Mrs. Meenakshi
Talwar (Vimukti Chikodi) gave speech and lighted the lamp. Mrs.
Shantha Hakkare, volunteer ( Vimukti Chikodi) spoke about her
personal development in the SHG, Mahasangha and in Vakkuta. There
were nearly 3500 women gathered.
excellent. All women know about their rights.
role in a democracy.
Aware of the role
of elected representatives.
regarding issues relating her life.
Women leaders have
20 women have been
elected as panchayat members.
contested for taluk panchayat from federation
Women also have agitated against the lack of legitimate
facilities like buses, drinking water, roads, and also fought
against corruption and liquor shops in the villages. Now they have
formed their own federation namely 'Maitri Taluka Manila Okkuta\ And
from Federation they take loans for development. They give
importance to IGP programme. On the ground of health and hygiene
they insist to build toiler to each SHG women.
Soil and water Conservation:
Ecology is another major concern of Vimukti; hence it has also
taken up land and water conservation programmes for the people.
People are trained in watershed, rain water harvesting, storing the
rain water in farm ponds etc. Since two years we have started to
organize small farmers and agricultural workers in groups, We hope
to help them with modern techniques of agricultural practices. In an
era of globalization, the small farmers are lacking knowledge and
becoming helpless. We need to support them so that they may
withstand the onslaught globalization.
Among the poor victims of Floods:
The Vimukti in Chikodi also has a wonderful history of working
with flood-affected poor of three talukas of Belgaum district. Last
two years consecutive floods have destroyed the livelihood and
shelters of thousands of poor. We rushed to help them. Two years
continuously we were with them with the help and support from Action
Aid, TDH and Caritas India. We have distributed the relief materials
to the tune of Rs. 12,00000.00 and organized the people in groups
and empowered them to assert their rights. We have supported them
with psychosocial care with the helps of experts from NIMANS, Today
as a result of our constant work pressure has been built on the
officials and govt. is forced to act upon the needs of the people.
Thus Vimukti has succeeded in bringing light and hope in the lives
of thousands of poor of Chikodi. They have become aware of various
oppressive structures, which were hindering their lives and equipped
to oppose them with necessary courage and knowledge. The empowered
rural poor women give Vimukti a new horizon of opportunity and goal.
And it surges with new vigor to usher light in the lives of many
more in Chikodi.
NREGA- 2005 -
Livelihood Programme, Right Based Approach:
At present from June 2008 Vimukti is working to organize whole
village people to avail the scheme NREGA. Awareness programmes have
been conducted specially the street plays. At the same time we bring
before them various schemes announced by the government. We have an
idea of organizing whole village people under the Village
Development Committee (VDC). The committee consists of various
organizations representative such as SHGs Mahasanga president.
School Betterment Committee, Grama Panchayath member, Anganwadi
teacher, Govt nurse, Village leader etc of that village. On the
whole it is peoples organization to solve their problems of their
village. Every month they come together discuss about the schemes,
which come to them and thinks how to improve the surrounding of the
village. This is also opposing committee to Gram Panchayath. Through
this VDC Gram Panchayath President and Secretaries are active and
ready to assist people in their problems. To build this VDC we have
a strong support of SHGs, Mahasangha and Vakkuta also the farmers
groups. Thus the vimukti in chikodi is concentrating not only on
women empowerment but also it reaches to all people in the village.
We have lot of support from government officers like Gram Panchayath
and taluk Panchayath executive officer. There are lot of changes in
women SHGs and Men SHGs. And our work of empowering to do the
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) for all the 28
target villages is in progress.