Project Esther

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PROJECT ESTHER
“Restoring the identity, beauty & dignity of Women in distress”

What is Project Esther? Project Esther is about restoring the identity, beauty & dignity of Women in distress by giving them holistic opportunities to learn, work and develop resources for their families.

Why Project Esther? There are many Women in India who are not only battling struggles of their poverty but they also have to deal with other issues which puts them in deep distress. Some of their common problems are as follows:

Lack of education: In India women education never got its due share of attention. From the medieval India women were debarred from the educational field. According to medieval perception women need just household education and this perception of medieval India still persists in villages of India even today. Girls are supposed to fulfill domestic duties and education becomes secondary for them whereas it is considered to be important for boys. Although scenario in urban areas has changed a lot and women are opting for higher education but majority of Indian population residing in villages or slums still live in medieval times. The people of villages consider girls to be curse and they do not want to waste money and time on them as they think that women should be wedded off as soon as possible. 

The main reason for not sending girls to school is the poor economic condition. Another reason is far off location of schools. 
The lack of education is one of the major causes for many other problems. An uneducated mother cannot look after her children properly and she is not aware of the deadly diseases and their cure, which leads to the poor health of the children. An uneducated person does not know about hygiene this lack of knowledge of hygiene may lead to poor health of the whole family.

Mistreatment: 
In India violence against women is a common evil. Not just in remote parts but in cities also women bear the brunt. They are subjected to physical and mental violence. They are the one who work most but are not given their due. The women is not safe anywhere neither at home nor at workplace. Every hour a woman is raped in India and every 93 minutes a woman is burnt to death due to dowry problem. There are many laws such as The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, The Hindu Succession Act of 1956, The Hindu Widow Remarriage Act of 1856, The Hindu Women Right to Property Act of 1937, The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, to protect women and punishment is severe but the conviction rate of crime against women is very low in India.

Overworked: 
Indian women work more than men of India but their work is hardly recognized as they mainly do unskilled work. Their household chores is never counted as a work, if a woman is working in a field to help her husband it will also be not counted as a work.

Marriage & Expenses: The family mainly fixes the marriages in India. The scenario in villages/slums and especially the poor is very bad. The girl is not consulted but is told to marry a guy whom her family has chosen for him. They are taught to abide by the whims and fancies of their husbands. On top of it, the expenses for the bride’s family is huge usually – both in terms of the ceremonial and cultural celebration and the issue of Dowry. Unfortunately, Courts are flooded with cases related to death due to dowry harassment by husband and in laws. In ancient times women were given ‘Stridhan’ when they departed from the house of their parents. This amount of money was given to her as a gift which she can use on her and her children but her in-laws did not have any right on that amount. This amount was supposed to help the girl in time of need. Slowly this tradition became obligatory and took the form of ‘dowry.’ Nowadays parents have to give hefty amount in dowry, the in laws of their girl are not concerned whether they can afford it or not. If a girl brings large amount of dowry she is given respect and is treated well in her new home and if she does not bring dowry according to expectations of her in laws then she has to suffer harassment. Due to this evil practice many newly wed women of India have to lose their lives.

What are the practical ways Project Esther seeks to help Women in Distress?

S.No Issues mostly encountered by Women Addressing Mode
1. Illiteracy Evening Tuition & Educational scholarship for their Girl Child
2. Unemployment Training & Development in Skills and forming self – help groups.
3. Poverty Promotion of income generation programmes
4. Dowry Culture Awareness programmes through workshops, counseling and street theatre.
5. Women Battering Awareness programmes through workshop, counseling and street theatres.
6. Important aspects of Marriage Expenses Providing financial assistance for starting their family life.

The problems that Women in India face can easily overwhelm anyone. Project Esther therefore seeks to follow 5 practical doable steps to help Women selected and identified holistically. The S.T.E.P.S are as follows:

Selection of Women in Distress:
The Process of Selection will be based on personal visits and assessment of their application form. Our staff will visit Slums and villages and meet with concerned people to get an access to Women (Wives, Mothers, Daughters). Our staff will assist the women in filling their application form. We will seek to recruit 40 Women every quarter. We will scrutinize each form and finalize our acceptance of the right deserving candidates. Getting a reference form their local leaders or Pastors will enable us to screen the candidates. Once they are selected our Staff will inform the same to them personally.

Training & Development
We will have their training in formal and non-formal style. This will be customized as per their specific need. One of the most practical training we can give them is in tailoring and embroidery course.

Educating and Assisting:
Project Esther will seek to help and assist the applicant with scholarship for their college/diploma/nursing studies, financial assistance for their family life etc.

Providing Opportunities for income generation
At the end of their respective training module, we will give each Woman a sewing machine or money to set up a Flower Shop or help get them a job in housekeeping.

Support groups
Project Esther will facilitate our trained women by creating support groups. These groups will continue to serve by counseling, facilitating technical assistance if needed and coaching them to be Women of honor. These groups will also be a place for conducting awareness programs on issues facing them.