SKDRDP not only provides financial aid to the women but empowers them. With the loans, people are equipped with the abilities to make something for their future and to improve their standard of living. Also it bestows upon them the responsibility of them making their own decisions and controlling their fate. Empowering the poor and enabling them with the capabilities is what SKDRDP strives to do with its programs.
The 2 Parts of women empowerment programmes are
- Jnanavikasa- Flagship women empowerment programme.
- Gelathi - A counseling program.
Beedi (hand-rolled cigarettes) rolling and farm labour are two of the major revenue sources for women in the coastal districts, who can earn up to Rs 800 per month from these activities. However, women do not retain much in savings and continue to remain socially backward. SKDRDP recognized the need to empower women into developing a habit of thrift and hence began organizing the Jnanavikasa program.
Jnanavikasa Kendras are unique centers of socio-economic empowerment for uneducated, unemployed, rural women with no land. In the Jnanavikasa Kendras, women empower themselves through weekly two-hour group sessions sharing knowledge on health, family welfare, hygiene, children's education and clean surroundings. Besides finding inspiration from each other, women also learn about inculcating family values and developing savings habits. Such participation imbues usually shy women with confidence and transforms them into self-respecting, determined women.
Jnanavikasa Kendras are now attempting to train women in various production activities like floriculture, dairying, vegetable cultivation and home industries.
Counseling is an effective means to help people out of distress and difficulties, to bring them back on track. SKDRDP has established a counseling center at Belthangady to help women who need support. The center called Gelathi offers the services of a sociologist, an advocate, a psychologist and a doctor, who provide counseling services to the women on demand. Initially the women in villages seek counseling from the village level worker, who acts as a point of reference. The services are given free of cost. If required the counseled is referred to hospitals for treatment. Legal aid is also given in times of need.
The role of a woman as bread earner, house keeper and social link within the family creates tremendous pressure on a young woman, especially when she comes to a new family through marriage. Additionally, she is not well equipped to accept this challenging role. She often has no formal coaching for performing the said roles either from her parents or from the schools. The stress felt by the women is expressed in the form of physical illness or behavioral changes. This will complicate matters at home, which could result in strained relations, perceived illness and disturbed mental status.