Isaac Arackaparambil sdbKAPADVANJ, MARCH 10, 2009: Don Bosco Rural Integral Social Training Institute (DRISTI) Kapadvanj had a memorable second annual Woman’s Empowerment Day on March 8, 2009. 650 women from the SHGs established through DRISTI attended this event. Mr. Prakashchandra Christian (Deputy Secretary & Monitoring Officer: Govt. of Gujarat) was the chief guest. He spoke on Woman Power and brought to light facts of gender discrimination against women, with the rider that in actual fact women are the real enemies of woman, not just because of their inactivity in ushering the change needed towards transforming mindsets for upholding the rights of women, but for their proactive role in maintaining the status quo. He encouraged them to take the examples of Pratibha Patil, Sonia Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla, and Mother Theresa in using Women’s Power for change. He informed the women about the Gujarat Governments initiatives for Women’s empowerment and encouraged them to make the best of the opportunities created by Don Bosco in Kapadvanj. It was wonderful to witness the selfless commitment of the Staff, the Vocation centre boys, and the Confreres in executing this day efficiently and successfully.DRISTI had an eventful year under the able experience of its director Fr. Ivan D’Souza who took charge of the development works at Kapadvanj in June 2008 after the legacy was handed to him by the founder and former director Fr. Gregory Almeida. Just two years into its institution, DRISTI currently runs a total of 72 Self Help Groups for women in 36 villages with a total of 1250 members and this shows that the work has picked up with momentum thanks to the types of programmes held this year. These programmes for women empowerment include: Book-writers training, Animal husbandry, Monthly PMIC meetings conducted by NABARD to evaluate the groups, Training for the DRISTI staff, and a SHG picnic to Ambaji and Shamlaji. The efforts of DRISTI towards women’s empowerment have earned the delight of the Indian Bank Manager Mr. Saradva and the Nabard DDM Mr. Gurram at the healthy state of the groups and the competence of the women. Kudos!