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The unexpected demise of a colleague has left the activists of the Centrally initiated Mahila Samkhya Society in distress, putting a break on its community-oriented initiatives in the district.
The death of Manjula, 37, after she was thrown off a two-wheeler on which she was riding pillion near Kallambalam, recently, has left the activists here in a state of shock.
“Our activists are all unnerved after the incident and I have told them to take a break,” Seema Bhaskaran, State Project Director, Mahila Samkhya Society, said.
The society is an organisation working for the empowerment of women. It was started in 1989 for the uplift of women in rural areas, especially those hailing from economically marginalised groups. The programme imparts vocational and life skill training to girls who have dropped out of schools. There are nearly 200 girl students in the age group of 13-19 in the four units of the centre functioning in the State. Two of these units are in Idukki and provide educational support and assistance to girls hailing from tribal families.
The society recently proposed the launch of learning centres for adolescent boys to prevent them from becoming victims of sexual abuse in tourist destinations. The decision to launch the centres was taken following complaints that boys were being sexually exploited by a section of foreign tourists for financial favours.
“We now expect these centres to start functioning by February,” Ms. Bhaskaran said. The objective of the centres is to create awareness among boys in the age group of 7-18 of their rights, apart from providing reading and learning material to them. The centres will be located in colonies adjoining the beach areas in Athiyannor block panchayat. The learning hubs, headed by an educator appointed by the society, will utilise the infrastructure facilities available within the colonies.
Though sessions on child rights will be a major component of the programme, issues relating to environment and other topics of contemporary relevance will also be discussed. “Our idea is to inspire the participants to form vigilance committees that will protect them from exploitation,” she said.
Starting educational hubs for boys also marks a shift in priorities for the activists of the society who have hitherto focussed exclusively on issues concerning women.
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