(Women’s Independent Self-Help)

A green background with the word " wish ".

W.I.S.H. Network  (Women's Independent Self-Help)

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.

A group of women sitting around each other.

Teambuilding & Networking

The WISH Network aims to strengthen the girls’ family and community resources. 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. We continue to build the WISH Network through our social workers who create and monitor our contacts and regular communication. Various promotional materials support the idea of belonging to a social club of girls who are uplifting their lives. All students receive backpacks, hats, and uniforms for use in the training and social work. This gives the girls a sense of 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 more meaningful role in society.

A group of people standing around a cement bowl.

Village Change Agents

Odisha villages are still socially very conservative, caste-oriented and locally governed, with a hierarchy of power and control. Young girls, especially those who are of a lower caste, are often 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 painful ostracism. In a society where community is important, girls are often marginalized and neglected. Our 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, social media, word of mouth, and family members. By their example, other young girls gain confidence and hope. By their referral, many new girls come to our center. The WISH girls have proven to be dynamic change agents at the grassroots level.

A woman in yellow shirt putting on face mask.

Upahar: Gifts of Love

Tailoring students begin their social service activities as soon as they take admission to Hariharananda Vocational Training Center. Through our Upahar: Gifts of Love project students distribute tailoring practice items (frocks, blouses, petticoats, salwar kamez, masks, etc.) to children in need. The joy of giving to others encourages students’ confidence and eagerness to learn. It also gives an opportunity for learning event planning, public relations and small business. In addition to clothes from the tailoring classes, art supplies, books, and snacks are also distributed to the children.

A woman in green dress holding an indian flag.

WISH Annual Foundation Day & Reunion

Each year the WISH girls attend the Foundation Day Reunion on February 10. Senior WISH alumni, new students and staff have an opportunity to offer encouragement and support to each other. Achievement awards are distributed for various accomplishments. Popular guest speakers present topics of interest and a lunch is served.

A group of girls in green and pink dresses standing next to each other.

Pilgrimage & Field Trips

Educational and recreational field trips are offered during the year to expose WISH girls to unique experiences. Many of the girls have not been out of their village, so these outings are often the highlight of the year. Visits are made to famous temples, museums, social service projects, and tourist attractions.