Newspaper Reading Program

May 17th, 2022
Newspaper Reading Program

As often happens with good ideas, the Newspaper Reading Program grew in complexity and meaning, supporting the women's personal and professional growth in many ways. The original impetus was to give the women the chance to learn about current events. Some of the women could not read and most of them had little exposure to newspapers. For each meeting one woman chooses an article from the recent paper to read. All the members in the group join in to discuss the article and give their opinions. During government-ordered stay-at-home periods, the women found a way to continue their meetings online. Recently they have been happy to resume in-person discussions. We asked some of the participants for their thoughts:

Sarita Pandey

Embroidery artisan - Ghar Udyog Collective

"During newspaper meetings we learn and share a lot of news. But there is one more important thing that we are improving, our knowledge of language. We have basic education but we never used it to read or write much. The social worker encourages all of us to read one news article for the meeting, and it is helping me to use the language I have learnt and also learn new words."

Shalini Shelar

Embroidery artisan, Nirmaan Collective

"The social worker recently shared an article about plastic in our body. I didn't know that plastic can also go in our body through the food we consume and putting hot food in plastic containers. The article also talked about the various diseases due to plastic in our body. Since then, I am always trying to make sure that there is less plastic around the house especially related to food and vegetables."

Rabiya Shaikh

Embroidery artisan, Nirmaan Collective

"I read an article about the increased heart attack rate in India. There were so many cases of young people dying due to heart attack which is mostly due to unhealthy lifestyle. I got very scared and thought if it can happen to such young people then we should take more care of ourselves. I have started walking every day after dinner. There is not much space and sometimes I feel tired but still I do 45 minutes of walking."

Sobha Pednekar

Embroidery artisan- Pragati Cooperative

"I read an article on how unfiltered water is being sold as packaged mineral water at various train stations. It was mentioned that empty bottles are collected from trains and other places and water from stations (which is used for washing trains) is used to fill them and then they are re-sealed. Since then, I have vowed not to buy any such bottles. When I am traveling I carry extra water from home. We all should be careful and if we are buying any packaged water we should crush the bottle so that they cannot be used in this wrong way."

Anjum Ansari

Tailor artisan- Aashiyana Cooperative

"Whatever we read and share, good or bad, in the newspaper meeting it affects us and our emotions. It makes us think about various things. Different women share different opinions and sometimes that helps us see things in a different way. We may not agree at that time but in our free time those discussions come to our mind and makes us think of different options and opinions."

Seema Yadav

Embroidery artisan - Ghar Udyog Collective

"During the last two years we have started using technology especially WhatsApp for many things. In one of the newspaper meeting we learnt about cyber-crime and how it has increased. We did not know much about it. After the meeting, I searched on-line and found different articles and realised that there are so many cases. I also came to know of cases which had happened with people I knew. Since then, I am very careful and never share any personal information about bank account, password etc. I have also passed this knowledge on to other relatives."

Embroidery artisan, Aashiyana Cooperative

"There are so many cases of rape that we hear in the news, it makes us feel unsafe especially for our children. But at the same time, when we share news of women achieving so much in sports and winning medals for our country and excelling in all the fields we find hope that we should educate our daughters and make them independent. We can bring the positive change by not letting negative things stop us from progressing."

Tags:   What We Believe  
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