Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Kochi Kendra conceptualised Mahila Vibhag in the year 1984 and was formally inaugurated on 17th August 1984. The purpose and goal was to make a positive difference in the lives of the residents of an underdeveloped slum. Andhakaran Colony, situated in the midst of Cochin city yet socially excluded from the benefits of urbanisation.
The first project was a feeding centre for kids below five years called “Samraksha”. This was followed by the opening of a crèche and Anganwadi by employing the women of this slum. The aim was to provide good and nutritious food, care and early education to the children.
Appreciating the work done by Mahila Vibhag, the then GCDA Chairman Sri. Paul P Mani allotted 20 cents of land on lease for 30 years. Here a building was constructed with the help of FACT, Cochin Refinery and Hindustan Organic Chemicals. The foundation stone was laid in April 1985 by Honourable Minister Kamalam and was inaugurated in September 1985.
A free clinic was started with the help of J.J.H.O Mumbai (Janatha Janardhanan Health Organisation), which was a great help for the colony. The second health unit was started in Kakkanad. Bhooshitha, a tailoring unit with its 11 staff stitches uniforms for students from LKG to Std XII. Every year more than 8000 uniforms are stitched here.
A notebook manufacturing unit with 10 staff makes the necessary notebooks for all the seven schools managed by Kochi Kendra. Mahila Vibhag runs a store in each of the 7 schools under Kochi Kendra where stationery like notebooks, pencils, pens etc are available to students during school time.
As a part of cultural activities, Children’s Day, Navarathri, Independence Day and Onam, Women’s Day and Senior Citizen Day etc. are celebrated.
Elder Mahila Wellness programme (Alambaheenarkku Ashadeepam) and a Palliative care unit are the feathers in our cap. Since 2015 we are associated with the Palliative care unit of Government Hospital, Ernakulam. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has donated a van and provided the service of a nursing staff for the palliative care visits.
In the last 35 years, a lot of changes and improvements have taken place, both in the colony and among the residents. Many of the women of the colony have been empowered to be self-employed. Some of them are highly educated. There are no more emaciated children and scabies has been eradicated. The narrow roads have been widened under the UPAID scheme of Cochin Corporation. The small hutments have been replaced by pakka building and sanitary conditions have improved. Bhavan’s Mahila Vibhag has succeeded in their mission to a great extent by providing social and economic empowerment to women in the area. The original Andharakaran Colony, the slum of darkness, has now been transformed into the upbeat Udaya Colony in Gandhi Nagar. The entire building of Bhavan’s Mahila Vibhag has been recently renovated and the printing unit was modernized with latest technologies.
Last updated on:14, June, 2022