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 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”.

•        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

•        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.

•        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 development.  

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
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 lunch
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
9th May 2008
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Trainees and
guests seated
during the
Chief Guest Dr. Bhumesh
Gupta presenting the
graduating trainees with
addressing the
Dr. V. Rengarajan
presents the
certificate to a
Dr. (Mrs.) Janak
McGilligan Director
introducing the
Institute to the
audience and
explaining some of
it's recent