Collaboration with MSK on Adult Literacy for Women
Mahashakti Seva Kendra (MSK) is a non-profit organization based in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. It came into existence immediately after the 1992 Hindu-Muslim riots in Bhopal that followed the demolition of Babri Mosque by the Hindu fundamentalists. Women, regardless of their religion, were among the worst hit in Bhopal. In response to their deteriorating life conditions, MSK was founded by Mrs. Indira Iyengar who successfully led the formation of a Board of women representatives. The NGO was lawfully registered in Bhopal. At that time, the strength of the organization was about 5000 women mainly from the Bhopal gas affected areas. The Government reciprocated to this women-led movement and provided them with three work-sheds to start their income generating activities. It has now been close to three decades of governmental collaboration on various textile projects. “Say no Chemicals” is a slogan that MSK believes in. Their green products are naturally dyed and block printed on organic cotton cloth.
MSK has recently initiated marketing through its online Etsy Shop and has also established a marketing unit in New Jersey. By selling the products, MSK ensures that the funds go directly to the women who created these products as well as for the purchase of the raw materials.
Making women economically self-sufficient is the utmost priority of the organization. In engaging with this community of women the organization has realized several other important and urgent social needs. Most of the MSK women are illiterate. MSK has opened bank accounts for each of its beneficiary women, but many are unable to perform basic banking operations. Lack of basic literacy and numeracy also impacts their profession of tailoring and textile printing as many are unable to recognize numbers and standard measurements. They generally use a prototype to measure and tailor products.
MSK believes that true economic independence can only be achieved when women also become literate. To help with adult literacy work, MSK would like to collaborate with Nayi DISHAA a New York based non-profit that focuses on educational development. Nayi DISHAA board members have had a series of discussions with MSK staff and understand their needs of literacy. In these discussions, MSK women highlighted that they want literacy classes that are geared towards meeting their daily life needs-such as banking, tailoring, grocery shopping and helping their children do homework. Literacy in Hindi and English and Numeracy were prioritized.
MSK is funded through the Textile Ministry and the funds need to be geared towards production of women apparels. Therefore, there is lack of funding towards adult literacy, even though there is a great demand for it. MSK would like to collaborate with Nayi DISHAA to raise funding for adult literacy initiatives. MSK in turn would spare some time daily for the women to get basic literacy skills. The funding would go towards hiring a teacher who could visit the work-shed to teach classes, purchase of textbooks, and writing material as well as some snacks for the class. Nayi DISHAA has team members who are experts in international educational development and would like to support with the pedagogy to teach adults. This letter is to confirm MSK’s support for Nayi DISHAA’s fundraising efforts. The funds will go towards running adult literacy classes for MSK Women.