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Development of a family, society or country starts with an empowered woman. Women are the engines for development,” said Shri Shyam Parande International Coordinator of Sewa International while addressing a gathering of women farmers in Chandrapuri, Rudraprayag District, Uttarakhand. This was the first gathering of farmers from some 10 villages in the district and looked more of a festive gathering because of the environment which was overflowing with enthusiasm and everyone experienced the positive energy that emerged. He also appreciated the response from the people, especially the women, who have converged here for their enthusiasm they have exhibited by joining this program run by Sewa International.

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Shri Parande was addressing a gathering of women drawn from 10 villages along the river Mandakini in Kedarnath valley, that experienced the worst kind of disaster less than a year earlier. It was a unique scenario some of the women were seen descending the mountains while some more ascending the mountains to reach the venue, not to mention that some used the surface transport also. The program started right on the dot with cultural presentations by local Saraswati Shishu Mandir students like singing and dancing. Some traditional colourful dances and enchanting songs of Garhwal region enriched this event. The guests were received ceremonially by the Shishu Mandir Student’s Band. A brief on the agriculture in those particular villages was presented by Shri Kailash Goswami, a Best Farmer of Uttarakhand awardee, who narrated his efforts in overcoming the problems to be a successful farmer. He assured the gathering that he would be available to them for guidance and support whenever they need some.

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Shri Bhajjan Singh Khatri, a local social worker with rich experience in this region, narrated that it will be the initiative of the locals who would bring in development and people from outside can only guide or help. He stressed that role of the women in Uttarakhand is very important as they take care of the kids and their education, family and all. He urged the gathering for whole hearted participation in Sewa International’s empowerment program which would provide them both- short term benefits and longterm benefits. Bara Devi, President of the Federation of the Self Help Groups in that area with 191 SHGs under it helping more than 3500 women, that women in the state are in need of support and guidance in the field of agriculture and would surely benefit out of this program.

Quality Seeds were distributed to the villagers free of cost at the end of the program. The program concluded with vote of thanks by Shri Devendra Thaplial.