On 6th May 8, 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
• 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.”
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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.
• 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.
• 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
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.
|Barli Development Institute for Rural Women Indore
|Barli Development Institute for Rural Women Holds its 94th Graduation Ceremony
• 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 directors.
After the programme all the guests we treated to a solar cooked
|Miss Jhalla Kirar from
Jhabua district tells the
audience how she learned
cutting tailoring and take the
|Miss Anita Dawar from
Ojhad village, proudly reads
from her literacy book to
show off her new found
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|Trainees and guests seated
during the programme
|Chief Guest Dr. Bhumesh
Gupta presenting the
graduating trainees with
|Dr. V. Rengarajan
to a trainee
|Dr. (Mrs.) Janak McGilligan
Director introducing the
Institute to the audience and
explaining some of it's recent