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A Community College for Women

After 25 years Grihini had been upgraded from a non-formal education project to a local community college.

Grihini Students

Grihini Students

The developments of the last 18 months have been quite amazing. Grihini has been upgraded from a non-formal education program for rural women, most of whom had not even reached 5th standard, to a local community college where women from the same villages enter with a 10th standard education. Dency Michael emphasised that the formation of the new Grihini community college is not a break with the past, but an upgrading of the program to meet the current need.

Three factors led to this development. First, due to the influence of Gihini, there were fewer young women in the villages who had not reached 10th standard. The second factor was the rise of self-help groups who subsidised the income of the poor. And third, textile mills initiated a sumangali (marriage) scheme that promised a big bonus for girls who worked in the factory for several years. The conditions under which they work, however, are very poor.

After a detailed evaluation by Anne Benjamin from Australia, the Grihini leaders spent 6 months exploring their options, including closing Grihini. The outcome was an upgrading of Grihini to a community college involving four streams: garment design, office management, computer application and care for those with disabilities. The diploma granted by Grihini community college is accredited by Indira Gandhi National Open University.

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