WISH (Women's Independent Self-Help) Network

The WISH Network consists of an eclectic mix of mentors, community leaders, teachers, alumni, students, social workers and volunteers who work for the upliftment of poor and marginalized women. Grassroots India’s WISH Network provides scholarships for housing, food, vocational training, education, medical aid, legal aid, and counseling. Its vision is to build individual and group capacity for self-sufficiency, self-governance and service to others. The WISH Network approach to personal growth is multi-faceted and holistic, encouraging positive development of body, mind & spirit.

 


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Teambuilding and Mainstreaming

The girls who come to the WISH Network rarely have dependable family or community support. One of the most valuable and heartfelt benefits of our program is its ability to create a strong team spirit and support for those in distress. From 2015-18 we continued to build the WISH Network brand through exhibitions and various promotional materials given to the girls such as backpacks, hats, and uniforms. This gives the girls a sense of belonging and builds peer unity, self-confidence, and team spirit. A solid network of support from both peers and mentors gives individuals and families the self-confidence and encouragement required to pursue a meaningful role in society.

 


Apprentice Program

During 2015-18, WISH girls who had completed 6 months training qualified for our Apprentice Program and earned a stipend for making items that could be sold at the WISH Shop & Exhibitions. This includes packing spices, stitching clothes, embroidering items, creating jewelry, and any other products made in the training. Stipends were paid monthly, 20% in cash for personal expenses and 80% was saved, earning 10% interest. Upon graduation the girls were given their savings to help them with home businesses, marriages, or to further their education.


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Village Change Agents

Odisha villages are still socially very conservative, caste-oriented and locally governed, with a hierarchy of power and control which is often corrupt. Young girls, especially those who are of a lower caste, are at the bottom of the social ladder. Those who do not cooperate with arranged marriages, who are sexually abused, or become pregnant, are subject to extreme ostracism. The WISH girls earn respect in the village for their new skills and association with the WISH Network. Trained WISH girls who return to the village after graduating confidently communicate their experiences and often recruit others. Many testimonials and stories are spread through cell phones, word of mouth, extended family members and computers. By their example, other young girls gain confidence and hope. The WISH girls are dynamic change agents at the grassroots level.