Shimoga, March 12, 2020: The Shimoga Multipurpose Social Service Society®, Shimoga celebrated the International Women's Day on 12 March 2020 at Kuvempu Rangamandira, Shimoga. The celebration began at 11.00 am with a prayer dance. Smt. Saraswathi K.N., Member Secretary, DLSA, Shivamogga inaugurated the programme. Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ, the Bishop of the Diocese of Shimoga and the President of SMSSS presided over the programme. Sr Zeeta D'Souza FMM, the Regional Coordinator, Women Empowerment Programme, KROSS Bangalore, was the chief guest. Smt. Saroja P. Changolli, Lawyer was the resource person. Smt. Anitha Mary Susairaj was the special invitee.

Rev. Fr Clifford Roshan Pinto, the Director of SMSSS spoke about the purpose of the programme and highlighted the various programme SMSSS is implementing to empower women. He also spoke about SPARSHA: A Mission Against Cancer, a programme spearheaded by Caritas India through all the fourteen Diocesan Social Service Societies in Karnataka. This ongoing campaign against Cancer is begun from 01 November 2019. The director urged the women participants to be change makers in the society. It is through their willingness to effect change they can make a difference in the Society.

Inaugurating the programme Smt. Saraswathi K.N. said, the careful observation of legal cases clearly indicates that there is no co-ordination among women, and they are responsible for their own pathetic state. It is not the men who are part of the cases pertaining to violence against women, but women themselves. In spite of a strong legal support, women still become victims of various social evils. She urged all the participants to make the full use of the free legal support available to them from the local Free Legal Services Authority.

Sr Zeeta D'Souza FMM noted that several programmes are organized for the empowerment of women. It is only through one's own conviction and hard work one can develop one's family. Through women empowerment programme several women have become role models in the society and their case stories are an inspiration for other.

On the occasion of the International Women's Day Celebration four women were honoured for their achievements. Mrs Nagarathna from Doddadanavandi, Shimoga, Gram Panchayat President, Kohalli, Shimoga for her contribution to the Society as the president of Kohalli Gram Panchayat. Mrs Shobha from Surahonne, Honnali Taluk, an entrepreneur who is preparing vermicelli. She has provided work for 22 women of our SHG. Mrs Nirmala from Honnali through her tailoring business has provided work for 4 more women of our SHG. Mrs Manjamma from Masadi, Honnali Taluk for her initiative to implement organic farming in her 2.5 acres of land and getting better results in her attempt.

Mrs Anitha Mary Susairaj, a Teacher and Social Worker was the highlight of the programme. She was honoured with Seva Chethana award for her loving motherly care of supporting 383 sick children from the age group of 0-18 years suffering from heart related sickness and other illness. She herself takes the initiative to meet the parents, relatives of the sick children and provides information to them about the possibility of getting financial support upto 6 lakh from the Government for treatment of children with heart disease. She personally works out all modalities to get the support from the government. She spends 40 percent of her salary towards this purpose. Her own personal experience of spending a huge amount of money for her own heart operation motivated her to initiate this great mission. Her future dream is to start her own NGO with a name Thayi Madilu in Bhadravathi. She noted that her mother is her inspiration and the difficulties she had undergone during her childhood days motivated her to take up this noble task.

Smt. Saroja P. Changolli , a lawyer by profession was the main speaker of the day. In her address she noted that India had the first woman Prime Minister, the first Woman President, etc. but so far there has not been the second. We should not just be satisfied with the fact that there have been first women achievers but we should think of why can't I be the second or another in that list of achievers. Women should not become slaves to age old beliefs and customs but move on with a definite purpose in life. Giving her own example she said that if we have a vision in life then we can overcome hardships in life and achieve success.

In his presidential address Most Rev. Dr Francis Serrao SJ said that the four women honoured during the programme are the four messages each and every participant can take for life. Drawing inspiration from the lives of these women we too should become change makers in life.

Smt. Reena David, member of our SHG welcomed the gathering. Smt Precilla Martis, President of Streebandhu Multipurpose Souharda Co-operative Limited proposed the vote of thanks.  Smt. Vathsala Padmavathi, the animator and Smt. Nagaveni, member of our SHG compared the programme. More than 900 women participated in the programme. Smt. Chaitanya C., office staff of SMSSS entertained the audience with her Bharatanatyam. At the conclusion of the programme food was served for all. The entire staff under the able leadership of the Director, Rev. Fr Clifford Roshan Pinto worked tirelessly for the success of the programme.        

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