Udupi: "Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta", the federation of women’s organisations of the Udupi Deanery, was inaugurated by Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo on Monday, November 5 at St. Francis Xavier Parish Hall, Udyavar. A banner depicting nine boats representing the nine parishes of the Udupi Deanery-Udupi, Kalmady, Udyavar, Katapadi, Yermal, Moodubelle, Kuntalnagar, Manipal and Perampalli, was unveiled on the occasion.
Bishop Gerald was the chief guest of the event. Fr. Valerian Mendonca, Dean of Udupi Deanery, presided over the programme.
Inaugurating the event, Bishop Gerald Lobo said that the dream of establishing a federation of women’s self-help groups in all the five deaneries of the Udupi Diocese has been fulfilled with the inauguration of the last of the Okkutas-the Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta of Udupi Deanery. He complimented all the women from different parishes of the deanery for fulfilling this dream. The bishop added that the next step would be to set up a federation at the diocesan level self-help groups (SHGs)and later the same at the Karnataka state level. He then expressed his wish for at least one woman from each family in the diocese to enlist in the women's self-help groups.
Emphasising on the need to unite and organise at a wider level, the bishop said that it was not enough to be active within the four walls of the church. "There is a need to be active outside by participating in various socio-economic and political activities. Even if it is difficult to participate in electoral politics by contesting as candidates, women can participate in ward and grama sabhas and make their voices heard with their strength and unity," he said adding that last year at the diocesan level, the women’s self-help groups availed around Rs. 5,50, 45,nine34 worth government grants through various schemes for minorities. The bishop stressed the need to encourage the youth to join government service at the central as well as state level. He impressed upon the women to imbibe a spirit of competitive examination and motivate their children to enter government services.
Earlier, in his introductory speech, Fr. Reginald Pinto, Spiritual Director of Stree Sanghattan of Udupi Diocese and Director of Sampada, said that through women’s organisations, the SHGs were born. With the inauguration of the Okkuta, the evolution of the organisation has reached the third stage, after completing the ward level and parish level self-help groups, he added. There are still two more stages to be reached, i.e., diocesan and state level. He then listed the aims and objectives and as well as the need for women to empower themselves by joining the Stree Sanghattan and SHGs.
Fr. Valerian, who also spoke on the occasion, complimented the women for organising themselves in the Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta and wished them well.
Prior to the inauguration of the Okkuta, the presidents of the stree sanghattans from the nine parishes lighted the lamp representing the five deanery okkutas.
Fr. Ronson D’Souza, Parish Priest of Katapady, former presidents of Stree Sanghattan of Udupi Deanery- Irene Pereira (2016-17), Judith Fernandes (2017-18), Janet Barboza, President of Stree Sanghattan, Udupi Diocese, Sr. Janet Fernandes, Animator of Stree Sanghattan, Udupi Diocese and Fr. Stany Lobo, Chancellor of Udupi Diocese, Spiritual Director of Stree Sanghattan, Udupi Deanery and Parish Priest of Udyavar were present.
Hezel D’Lima, President of Stree Sanghattan of Udupi Deanery welcomed the guests and the gathering and Anita Monis, Secretary proposed a vote of thanks. Precilla Alva and Vinutha Noronha of Kalmady compered the programme. Women's groups from Yermal and Katapadi conducted the opening prayer service and the women’s groups from Udyavar, Moodubelle and Udupi presented the cultural programmes.
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