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Govt pledges focus on SHGs

FIGHT FOR EQUALITY: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik at an women’s day event and women artists exhibit their work in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati
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Bhubaneswar: On International Women's Day, chief minister Naveen Patnaik pledged to enhance the role of self-help groups (SHGs) at the grassroots level to economically empower women.

"Women empowerment has reached grassroots level. Around 6lakh women SHGs have been formed till date," Naveen said at the state-level women's day celebrations here on Thursday.

If Naveen spoke about empowerment women, more than 100 women took part in a bike rally to create awareness against sexual harassment. The rally started from Sikharchandi hilltop and ended at Salia Sahi Nagar.

Flagging off the rally, police commissioner Y.B. Khurania said: "The rally spreads the message to raise voice against any kind of violence and also educate women staying in slums about their rights. Women must come forward to help and support women."

A live demonstration of self-defence techniques was held, while an animation film on sexual abuse of children was also screened.

Human chains were formed at six different slum pockets to sensitise people about the need to combat domestic violence, promote gender equality and women empowerment. More than 600 slum dwellers, SHGs took part in the event.

To mark the occasion, a non-profit organisation Humara Bachpan launched "Sambhavi - Empowerment of Women with Enterprise and Employability". It will implement its pilot project to create 1,500 skilled and economically independent women from the city's urban slums skill development and creation of linkages. The National Skill Development Corporation will fund the project.

The project aims to develop entrepreneurship skills among slum women and adolescent girls by providing training to build skills in various trades to generate assured employability. Strong post-training support will ensure their improved socio-economic status.

In a departure from usual practice and to mark the occasion, city's brick kiln operators allowed women workers to go for a day-long social gathering - a break unheard of in the sector.

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