9th May 2008

On 6th May 2008 Barli Development Institute for Rural Women Indore held its 94th Graduation Ceremony. 76 trainees graduated after their 6 month training. These
young women came from 41 villages in Dhar, Jhabua, Dewas, Khargone, Badwani, Indore, Burahanpur Districts of Madhya Pradesh and Nalanda District of Bihar
and Vrindavan of Uttar Pradesh.
A number of the trainees shared their experiences of what they learned during the training and how it will impact their lives

•        A group led by Lila from Jhabua sang a song they composed, expressing how in their village the people drink alcohol, chew tobacco and smoke bidis and
cigarettes, and then offer these poisons to their guests. Their song is to give the message of the evils alcoholism and habit forming drugs  

•        Miss Jhalla Kirar 19 years old from Mundiva village in Jhabua district shared her experience how she prepared for National Institute of Open Schooling cutting
and tailoring exam. “When I came here I was illiterate, first we started with symbols then started making words, slowly picking up reading and writing skills. When I
joined the Institute I learned basic hand stitches, how to operate the machine, then how make the pattern on paper and transfer to the cloth for cutting, I learned how
to make a simple petticoat, small frock, different frocks, knickers, kurta, salwar, pyjama, and shirt.Before the exam for many days we would have practice tests,
earlier I was afraid of tests, I slowly picked up and developed confidence. On 28th April we went to another centre for the cutting and tailoring exam, without any
hesitation I wrote my name, my roll no. then date just as we were taught, and started writing the answers to the questions.  Next day on 29th April we had the
practical exam at the Institute lasting two and half hours”.    

•        Miss Rekha Snida 16 year old trainee coming from Hargama Nalanda District Bihar, “I was a shy person, I have completed 10th class. Initially I was not
feeling happy to live with the tribal girls, I did not know their language, and staying with them I understood that they are simple people at heart. Now I have
understood that one may be a good worker but the skill only develops when you start teaching others and help solve their problems. I will go back to my village and
where I will be able to conduct classes”.

•        A group led by Miss Kamla sang a song they composed about the importance of being human. One should not waste time. They should strive to have good
qualities and raise a good society.

•        Miss Nundari Chouhan 20 years old from Ojhad village Jhabua expresses the importance of family planning. If one has a smaller family the children will get a
good education and have a much better life.

•        Miss Amita Pathak 18 years from Indore highlighted  the benefits of using solar energy, she explained how the Institute used solar energy to heat the water for
bathing, drying the surplus vegetable and crops, preparing all the food they eat, saving lots of wood and gas. Solar energy is also used for heating the iron to press the
clothes and melt the wax for the batik.  She talked about what she learned about the environment during her training, at the institute water is all recycled and reused,
waste hairs are used for batik brushes, all biodegradable material is composted. The newspapers that they cut and used for pattern making are soaked in water mixed
with dead tree leaves pressed into briquettes and used for fuel when there are cloudy days.

•        Miss Ritika Permannand 16 years from Vrindavan Vatsalya Dhamin in Uttar Pradesh founded by Sadhvi Ritumbra has given her views how she is going to use
utilize her training in the Ashram. She is 12th pass and now she wants to teach everything in her ashram that she learned at Barli where she can use her skills and
talents and do her graduation.

•        Miss Sunita Chouhan 19 from village Palasada in Jhabua district expressed how she has benefitted with literacy, she said I was not expecting that in 6 months,
I gained so much, I will go back to my village and encourage children’s education and teach them.

•        Miss Balika Pamar 16 from Salitanda village Barwani district spoke on women’s empowerment. She said I will give the message, when the girls understand
their rights, only then they will progress

•        Miss Rita and her friends from Jhabua sang a song, to spread literacy in their communities.

•        Miss Anisa Heravian student from Berkeley University California came to institute as a volunteer. She learned Hindi, visited the villages from where these girls
coming from, and has adopted Indian culture.

Three graduates of the Institute are now successfully running three Outreach Centres in Chattisgarh.  Women who are not able to come to the Institute for residential
training attend the trainings offered at the Outreach Centres. These Outreach Centres offer health classes at Anganwari Centres, Junior Youth Empowerment
Programmes for adolescents and Moral Classes for primary school children, etc. One of the tribal trainees from the Jhabua District, Mrs. Dhedi Baghdare who
attended the training in 1990 is now working as Programme Officer. She had studied only up to 5th class when she first came to the Institute, but now she has
passed 10th class and passed the Cutting and Tailoring Exam and Typing exams from the National Institute of Open Schooling. Now she is able to make power-point
presentations at International Conferences does desktop publishing for work like Institute’s health manual and Barli Ki Duniya on the computer. She is also competent
trainer. The Institute staffs spend 100 days in the villages to do follow-up, evaluation work with the graduated trainees.  
•        Kavita Panwar 19 from Abhali Village Barwani District shared her
experience about Hiv Aids. When I came to the Institute, I was not very
comfortable and not liking the place, gradually while staying with he girls I
started liking it and now will stay for 1 year. In the beginning I did not know
reading, now here I learned reading and writing and I am confident that I can
teach whatever I have learned during the 6 months to others. After I go back to
my home, I will talk the people and the youth in the village about HIV AIDS
whose awareness I came to know at Barli. It is very important that we
understand this fatal disease that has afflicted mankind, for which there is no
permanent cure. But we can prevent it.  The HIV is a small virus, but very
dangerous, after the HIV virus enter the body you get AIDS in 5 to 10 years,  
this weakens the person immune system and are then very vulnerable to many
other diseases.

•        Mrs Rekha Chouhan 18 years from Kotha village in Khargone district
explained how she learned batik dyeing and printing, she said they first copy the
design on the fabric with chalk, then put on the hot wax and dye with different
colours, she also learned block printing on fabric using traditional designs the
block are prepared for the Institute.
Miss Jhalla Kirar from Jhabua district tells the audience how she
learned cutting tailoring and take the NIOS exam
Miss Anita Dawar from Ojhad village, proudly reads from her
literacy book to show off her new found literal skills
•        Miss Anita Dawar, 17 from village Ojhad district Jhabua read to the
audience a portion from the literacy book to show off her literal skills, she also
told the audience, “My father is a teacher he educated only my brother and sister,
I wanted to study, so I came to the Barli Institute. Now after 6 months at the
Institute, I can read and write, and I have developed the habit of reading the
newspaper daily”. Now I go back to my village, I will educate the others in my
family and I will go to the school and study for the 5th class exam.

•        Mrs Vasta Bai Morai from Barwani district, she proudly told the audience,
“I am 35 years old married with 4 children all studying in school, My niece after
taking training at Barli persuaded me to come here to get necessary some life
skills. Apart from becoming literate, I learned cutting and tailoring, dyeing and
printing of fabrics. I now understood that the reason we were not sent to school
because of discrimination between boys and girls in the family. Parents give
importance to boys in the common belief that they will look after them in old age,
sending them to school and giving proper food, and neglecting the daughter
because she will get married and leave the family.   At Barli I have understood
how women are the first educators of the children; therefore she should be well
educated, then she will understand her rights, rights of her family and
community, I now know the importance of education, health, money matters and
sexual abuse.”

•        The Chief Guest of the programme Dr.Bhumesh Gupta Director,
Academic Staff College Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya, Indore said that the
Institute’s training programmes have been developed systematically and was
replicable. The Institute has developed curricula specific to the needs of rural
and tribal women and can be used throughout the country. He presented
certificates and pens to all the trainees.

•        Mrs.Pritam Sandhu Regional Director, NIPCCD India, presided over the
programme and said that the Government of India realized in 7th and 8th five-
year plans that community development is not possible without the active
participation of women. The Barli Institute has been working to empower
women since 1985. The Institute has taken a holistic approach to training rural,
young and illiterate women. These women are empowered with knowledge and
can help to improve different aspects of society e.g. drug use, female
infanticide, health issues such as HIV/AIDS.

•        The special guest was Dr. V. Rengarajan a prominent economist and
development Consultant from Chennai. He said that India has used many
different techniques to develop the community, but they have been too focused
on economic development. However, the Barli Institute has presented a new
approach to community development, which includes social, economic,
spiritual, and scientific development. Dr. Rengarajan also referenced Mahatma
Gandhi saying that India dwells in the villages. Rengarajan addressed the
trainees and said that they have all come from the villages, have educated
themselves, have gained experience, and are now like a flame which can light
themselves and their community.
Barli Development Institute for Rural Women Holds its 94th Graduation Ceremony
•        The Director of the Institute Dr. (Mrs.) Janak P. McGilligan
welcomed the guests and gave an introduction on the Institute. She stated
that the Institute was first established as a project in 1st June 1985, under
the guidance of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of India. It
was originally named the Baha’i Vocational Institute for Rural Women. In
2001, the Institute became an autonomous organization and was renamed
the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women.  The Institute offers two
types of training programmes: a 6-month Community Volunteers
programme and a year-long Grassroot Trainers programme. The Director
also stated that economic development by itself is not sustainable
development. Sustainable development includes social, spiritual, physical,
scientific, and economic development. Dr. McGilligan stated that there
should be universal education for all, but unfortunately Dhar and Jhabua
Districts’ there are still villages where female  literacy rate is 8%, the
maternal mortality rate is high, there is a lack of water and electricity
facilities in schools, and the quality of education is poor. Education is
necessary for development.  
•        Also present on the dias were, Mr. Jimmy McGilligan,
Institutes manager and Dr. (Mrs.) Geeta Handa Member of the
Institute’s Board of Directors.

•        The programme was conducted by Mrs. Dhedi
Bagdhare, Programme Officer. Vote of thanks was given by
Dr. (Mrs.) Shirin Mahalati a founding member of the board of

After the programme all the guests we treated to a solar cooked
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