Monday, June 24, 2024
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Empowering women to be ‘independent’

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By Lamphrang Nongspung

Members of the Seng Teilang, Kynthei Laban

 SHILLONG: Seng Teilang Kynthei, Laban, an organization set up at the height of the communal tension in 1979 has been working relentlessly for empowerment of women by providing them training so they can become economically independent. In recent times the organisation has also taken up issues of environmental protection.

The organization which was founded by late Ms VM Simon during the communal tension of 1979 to promote peace and communal harmony in the area has been ably guided by Ms Queenie Rynjah, former principal of Pine Mount School and a renowned activist of the State for decades.

In 1982 the organisation set up a crèche for children below five years of age. This enabled many young women to start working as they were able to keep their children at the crèche while at work.

Initially, Dr Muriel Dunn (mother of late Education Minister Thrang Hok Rangad) provided a room for the organisation to start the crèche.

It was only in 1995 that they were able construct a permanent building for the crèche with the financial assistance of the Government on a piece of land donated by the Laban Sports Club.

“Before constructing the permanent building, we had to shift from one rented house to another due to increase in the number of children in the crèche,” Seng Teilang Kynthei, general secretary Wandashisha Myllliemngap told The Shillong Times on Wednesday, a day before the organization completes its 32nd Anniversary.

She also informed that the organisation receives annual financial assistance from the Government for maintenance of the crèche.

“At present, there are 25 children in the crèche. We are charging a minimum fee of Rs 150 per month for each child,” Ms Mylliemngap said.

She also informed that the organisation has a training centre on tailoring, knitting and embroidery for young unemployed women especially those coming from difficult backgrounds.

“It is satisfying to see many women who have passed out from the training centre and have been able to set up their own shop or are working with some established institutes,” Ms Mylliemngap said, adding that they are charging Rs 100 per month from each of the trainees.

She said quite a few women from the rural areas have also undergone training. Interestingly, the organisation is also playing an active role in protecting the environment.

Besides organising cleaning drives, the Seng Teilang general secretary said they also organize poster campaigns for creating awareness on environmental protection.

Recently, the organisation has come up with the idea of cloth bags following the decision of the Government to ban plastic carry bags.

“The cloth bags are one way of helping the campaign against plastic bags, and also in generating funds for the organisation,” Mylliemngap said.

She informed that the organisation generates funds for various project by holding sale exhibition of their products. Being a non-profit organisation we are sustaining our programme by generating our own funds,” Mylliemngap said.

Some members also provide counseling to the adolescents of different schools in Laban area.

Another major achievement of the organisation is to get the women of Laban the right to vote in the election of the members to the local Dorbar Shnong, Mylliemngap informed, adding however that women still do not have the right to hold office in the Dorbar Shnong.

The organisation has however failed to make Laban alcohol free. “We are still working very hard on this. I hope one day we would be able make the locality alcohol free,” the organisation secretary said.

It may be mentioned that the organisation had preponed its 32nd Anniversary celebration, which was held on November 18. The celebrations had to be preponed since the children of the members were having their annual examinations.

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