READ is proud to announce the opening of our 13th Center in India, the Mohini READ Center in Devli village, Bharatpur, Rajasthan on May 9, 2014. Only 70% of people in the Bharatpur district are literate (just 54% of women), making the resources provided by the new Center critical to the education of the village.
Before the establishment of the Center, the only nearby library was in the local public school, which was available only to students, not to the entire community. Devli village is almost 5 km away from the closest town and 50 km from the nearest city, a long trek for those seeking information and economic opportunities. The Mohini READ Center will provide educational resources and programs to 4,469 villagers.
This Center was made possible through a generous donation of land by Mr. Darshan Singh, CEO of PAN India Consultants Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Singh says that he gave this land to the Center because he wants the READ Center to provide opportunities to people in the community by giving them a chance to showcase their talents, and empower rural women by providing them with livelihood trainings. Mohini Center was constructed in partnership with Socio Demographic Society.
The Mohini Center, like all READ Centers, includes six main areas. There is, of course, the library with books, magazines, and newspapers in both English and the local language. There is an information communications technology (ICT) section with computers, Internet, and computer skills training, and a women’s section to provide a safe space for women and girls. The Center also has an early childhood section, a multimedia section with a TV, DVD player, telephone, fax machine, and copier, and a meeting hall where programs will be held on literacy, health, and livelihood skills.
Mohini Center is off to a great start. They have already begun a three-month basic computer training course and a stitching and sewing training program for women, both of which began just days after the inauguration ceremony. The stitching and sewing program will become one of the sustaining enterprises of the Center – providing local women with a source of income, and additional profit to support the Center’s ongoing operating expenses.
The eight members of the Center’s Management Committee are exploring other sustaining enterprise ideas. They are investigating a “common service center” to provide IT services to villagers, a distance education program offering Center users the chance to attend an online university, and a mustard oil processing unit, as Bharatpur district is famous for its oil industry.
We cannot wait to see what other exciting and empowering programs the staff at the Mohini Center will develop over the coming years. Congratulations to Devli village and our India team on the opening of the 13th READ Center in India!
About the author:
Helen Greene, READ Global Communications Intern
Helen is a senior at Princeton University studying Comparative Literature. Home for the summer of 2014, she joined READ Global as a Communications Intern, writing blog and social media posts, among other things. She looks forward to a career in the non-profit field focusing on women’s empowerment, health, and education.