WHEAT – (Women Health and Education Animation and Training Programme)

Women empowerment and community development programmes have been important projects carried out by Don Bosco Beatitudes. A Mother and Child Health Programme was started for the slum women and children in the year 1977 which was aided by Catholic Relief Service. At that time the major emphasis was on charity: the distribution of food, clothing, and medicines. Slowly a Nutrition-Education Programme emerged in the year 1989, and the main aim was to educate the slum women on health and nutritional aspects and to supply nutritious food. The main activities undertaken were mother and child care, supplementary nutrition, immunization, and health education. From 1992 onwards, a new Nutrition Education Programme (NEP) has grown from a charity-oriented service to awareness education and the formation of Madhar Sangams. (self-help groups). Its main aim is the development and the empowerment of women who live in the 30 odd slums around Vyasarpadi. The Salesian Sisters supervise the entire project.
Today it is called WHEAT (Women Health and Education Animation and Training Programme) There are 5 active Social Workers (animators) who look after 8 units of self-help groups reaching out to around 2500 women. They get assistance with the process of applying for a loan through NABFINS bank. Every woman gets an opportunity to realize her dream of starting a small scale business and getting involved in community development by addressing local issues such as the functioning of street lights, availability of water supply, sanitation, waste disposal, medicine sprays to eradicate mosquitoes, etc. Nutritious Multi-Grain powder is also being produced. We are working on ways to make this programme a sustainable movement.