Zena 8 9 1999
Barli Development Institute for
Rural Women Indore.
Web Page, photographs and content by Janak and Jimmy McGilligan Director and Manager of
Barli Development Institute for Rural Women Indore 180 Bhamori, New Dewas Road, Indore 452010 M.P.
Barli Development Institute for Rural Women's Participation in
International Literacy Day September 8 1999

This is a pictorial view of a 3 day visit of Counsellor Zena Sorabjee Member of the Continental Board of
Counsellors of the Baha'i in Asia,  to Barli Development Institute for Rural Women Indore and Village Ali
Kamat in Jhabua District to celebrate International Literacy Day, and other events.
This year the Mahila Mandal (women's committee) of village Ali Khamit, near Umrali a remote village in Sondwa block of Alirajpur Teshil,
Jhabua District of Madhya Pradesh organised and hosted International Literacy day on 8th September in their village, as  Mrs. Zena Sorabjee,
Member of the Continental Board of Counsellors of the Baha'is in Asia was the Chief Guest.
To make sure that all arrangements for the programme were made, we sent Institute's Training in Charge Mrs. Dhedi Dawar to the area.
Two days before the programme date, the Institute got a phone call from Dhedi to say that as there were crops growing alongside the path to
the village, participants would have to walk the 5 kilometres from the nearest  paved tract to the village, she was requested to change the venue
as would difficult to get into the village, she agreed to consult  them.
Next day she phoned again (nearest phone from Ali Kamat  village is in Alirajpur 35 kilometres away) to say that the Ali Kamat Mahila
Mandal had consulted, and said that they could not change the venue of the proposed meeting, and were all set to receive the participants and
Mrs. Zena Sorabjee.
Literacy Day at BVIRW  

To celebrate International Literacy Day the Baha'i
Vocational Institute for Rural Women  held a 2 day
literacy workshop at the Institute for it's present
trainees. On the afternoon of 7th September Mrs.
Zena Sorabjee opened the workshop. She said that
the rate of literacy in the country is only 52%. In
this workshop trainees painted literacy posters
which depicted the real cause of the low level of
literacy in their communities. After training the
trainee should be able to say to the teacher to attend
the school, and make sure that she does attend the
school regularly, and by their efforts they can
increase the rate of literacy. If women become
literate they will understand the importance of
literacy, and they can oppose social evils like child
marriage and child labour, and they will be able to
manage a small family and send their children to
school and help them with their studies.
Journey and trek to Ali Kamat
On the 8th morning we left Indore at 5:00am to drive to the area, the 250 kilometre drive to the villages was quite uneventful the weather though
cloudy was very good for such a journey. We arrived in Alirajpur at 10:30 am, checked out the lodge where would spend the night, then drove
into the area of the village, when we arrived at the point where the path to the village left the paved  road many ex-trainee of the Institute were
already waiting,  
Mrs. Zena Sorabjee putting her best foot forward near the beginning of the trek to the village Ali Kamat, through the crops led by Mr. Dayaram
Solanki form Shajapur district in M. P, though he has  family links in this area, when he heard about the programme he came along, Abha (our
Niece from Chandigarh) looks for a stone that found a way into her shoe. Though there has been very little rains in this area this monsoon, and it
was evident by the many crops that had failed. There were some areas  where there were some good crops of millet, most of the other crops like
groundnut, mung and other lintels had failed.
Janak is seen stepping out among her ex-trainees, while also getting the news from their villages and about others who could not come,
while Mrs. Sorabjee looks back to see how far the other groups are behind her.
Having a well earned rest, "but look on the other path, another group of girls are coming".  Then the emotional reunion
The trek goes on and the line of girls gets longer
Dwarfed while passing through a good stand of millet, a little further on the
people come out of their house to watch the long line of brightly coloured
people pass by.
Through valleys, across dry stream beds, over rolling hills,   
passing small villages and farmland we eventually arrived Ali
Kamat, after refreshing cups of tea and some food the meeting
would begin,  they had planned to hold the function outside but
the afternoon sun broke through the clouds, so they had to
move the second planned option inside a village house.
The programme began with Prayers sung by
ex-trainees of BVIRW from villages of Dhar and
Jhabua Districts  
Success Stories
Then different girls told their success stories of what the had achieved since they  had taken training at BVIRW, for example
Ghichli told that her husband died and she has 2 children, she has sent one to small boarding school and one is with her, all this
she has been able to do as she could earn from her sewing work.  And Bepari told she is teaching people about importance of
educating the girls in their communities and how she was successful in setting up her own business in her community.
Shanti Malvia from Village Kawda explained how she holds the women's committee meeting in her village. Daram from Bhimpura
of Dhar district  also said she is now appointed as a tailoring instructor in her village by Government.
Kami Chouan from village Umrali explained how she had managed to set up sewing business and was also training other women
in this, she also told how she had trained her husband in the business and now they worked together sewing clothes and ironing
clothes and how they also sell various household and other ornaments like hairpins and bindis etc.  from small shop in her village.
Sangita Bhide  from Village Sukhi Bavri told how she got a job as aganwadi worker, and that the work she did was to see that all
the children in her village were clean and had proper nutrition and how she ensured that all children and pregnant women were
vaccinated against various diseases, she also told that she had a sewing machine for work in her spare time and grew green
vegetables in her kitchen garden for her  family
Some of the Audience
The audience was very varied and included those who were noisy and had a grand stand view of the proceedings and those who were on
a lower level and kept very quite throughout the meeting.
Survey Stories
Sake and Meera graduates of the Institute from Anjangaon Village in Khargone district tell their experience as they travelled through
the villages of Dhar and Jhabua district collecting data about all the ex-trainees of this area. Zena, Janak and Dhedi listen in
amazement at the stories they have to tell.  
National Open School Certificates
Mrs. Zena Sorabjee presented  mark  sheets and Pass Certificates to those girls present who has taken the National Open School
exam in May 1999.
Janak and Dayaram
Janak and Dayaram Solanki gave a talk to the audience of more than 150 which included ex-trainees of BVIRW who had come from
more than 20 villages had gathered in this cluster of Ali Kamat village.
Talk by Mrs. Sorabjee
Mrs. Zena Sorabjee in her talk to the girls and audience gathered,  said she is completely  impressed with the stories of the women and
highlighted the fact the importance of educating the girl child, who becomes the mother and is the first educator of the children and of
the future generation.  
Out side the venue some of the young women had put up a stall
to distribute leaflets and other literature provided by UNICEF
in preparation for their Girl Child Week and Meena Campaign
After some refreshments and a group photo of all the
ex-trainees and some others who had attended, we
headed back down the path through the crops to the
waiting jeep, that would take us to Alirajpur and some
Inauguration of Kalyani Institute for Community Development

September 9th 1999
Next Morning we left Alirajpur 7:00 am to drive the 50 kilometres to Kathiwada block to attend the inauguration of Kalyani Institute for
Community Development, an organization being set up by Sadhana and Herwig Struelbal from Indore and Austria at village Kavchha. As we left
the  tarmac road and started along the rough track we were uncertain if we would make the deadline of the inauguration of 9 minutes past 9:00,
but we made it with 10 minutes to spare.
The meeting started with lightening the traditional lamp, Mrs. Dhedi Dawar recited a prayer for peace. The programme was conducted Mrs.
Sadhana Streubel, after welcoming everyone to Kavchha.
She introduced the Chief Guest, Mrs. Zena Sorabjee, Member of the Continental Board of Counsellors of Baha'is in Asia, and the special
guests: Mr. Phool Singh, representative of the Rajendra Ashram Trust in Kathiwada,  Mrs. Dhedi Dawar, trainer at the Barli Development
Institute for Rural Women, and joint secretary of KICD, Pawanendra Singhji, internationally known for grafting the world's largest mangoes,
Mr. Prabhakar Khoche, engineer and advisor to KICD, Mr. Herwig Streubel, together with Sadhana initiators of KICD.
At 9 minutes past 9 am Sadhana and Herwig dedicated themselves towards the oneness of humankind and peace.
Outside the colourful pandal there were the flags of India and Austria and nine white flags of peace, fluttering in the gentle breeze.  Most of the
people  gathered were inside the colourful pandal before the accurate starting time of  9:00am on 9th day of 9th Month, Year 1999
Address by Mrs. Sorabjee
Tree Planting
After the official programme the visitors left the tent and 9 different kinds of mango trees
donated by different parties were planted, Mrs. Zena Sorabjee planted the tree of unity, Dhedi and Rani, the  tree for the upliftment
of the tribal people.
Sadhana and Herwig planted the tree of development and Janak and Jimmy  McGilligan, Director and Manager of BDIRW,  the tree
of friendship, Pawanendra Singhji and his brother, the tree of honour, Mr. and Mrs. P. Y. Khoche, parents of Sadhana the tree of the
family, representatives of Rajendra Ashram planted the tree of co-operation,  Mr. Perm Singh, supervisor of the house construction,
the tree of labour and Madhav a neighbour planted the tree of the environment.
The empowered women discuss the empowerment of women, to get lunch you had to wade across the river even though there is a
drought in this area this year.
In the afternoon we left Kavchha to drive the 275 kilometres to Indore arriving at about 9:30 pm.

This page was originally uploaded on 5th October 1999

Thank You for your time.

Janak and Jimmy McGilligan.

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