From 'Art' to 'Crime and Violence Prevention' - The Kudumbashree Silver Jubilee Closing Ceremony was kicked off in grand style with separate panel discussions. The Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Kudumbashree, which has taken strong roots in the Kerala society and led 46 lakh women from darkness to light in the last quarter of a century, got off to a fiery start at Putharikandam Maidan, Thiruvananthapuram on 15 May 2023. At first, there were art programmes performed by Sangha Chetana NHG members of Amarambalam CDS of Malappuram district. This was followed by panel discussions with personalities who have made a mark in the fields of art and entrepreneurship and who have overcome adversities.
A panel discussion on 'Art as a medium of expression and social change' moderated by Ms. Rekha Menon, Journalist provided a platform for open expressions of opinion. Ms. C.S Chandrika, Activist & Writer said that art is against violence and the politics put forward by art is human love and humanity. Ms. Vidhu Vincent, Film Director & Media Activist said that Kudumbashree women coming forward as role models in many fields is an exciting and energetic experience. She also reminded about the need to involve Kudumbashree entrepreneurs in the film industry as well. Ms. Kavitha Balakrishnan, Artist, said that Kudumbashree transforms the women of Kerala into extremely influential people and is proud to be a part of Kudumbashree, a female ocean of thousands of women. Ms. Deepthi, Ms. Biji. M, Members, Rangashree Theatre Group, Ms. Annie Vishwanath, Mentor, Kudumbashree National Resource Organization, Ms. Deepa Mohanan, Kudumbashree Entrepreneur and Poet shared their success experiences they had gained with the strength of Kudumbashree.
'Women Entrepreneurs, Driving Forces for Social Change' was the topic of the discussion moderated by Dr. Nirmala Sanu George, Development Consultant. Ms. Binitha Thambi, who is an IIT Professor, said that women entrepreneurs can face the challenges created by the patriarchal system. She also opined that a system should be established in Kudumbashree itself to study the problems of entrepreneurs who are not able to achieve success in Kudumbashree where there are many good entrepreneurs. Ms. Geethu Mohandas, the founder of 'Let's Go for a Camp', Women's Travel Group who started her love of travel through her first trip to Nilambur during her 5th grade, shared her experience of traveling and also talked about the marketing opportunities for Kudumbashree entrepreneurs in the tourism sector.
Ms. Bhagirathi, a Kudumbashree entrepreneur, shared her joy that the Nutrimix unit, which was started with a desire to start her own business, has grown to a turnover of around Rs 2.5 crores per annum today. After completing her degree and PG with Kudumbashree's encouragement, Bhagirathi is now trying to get her Ph.D. She is an inspiration and a guide to many in her sixties. Ms. Sandhya, a farmer and woman entrepreneur, shared her happiness that by giving up teaching and coming to agriculture, she was able to provide employment to many women around her. Ms. Vijaya, who was battling cancer, said that it was Kudumbashree that made her stand on the stage after 20 years and she used to forget about her illness amidst the activities of the Technoworld IT unit. She shared the joy of successfully progressing her venture with the help of Kudumbashree NHGs. Ms. Rumana, owner of Meat and Egg Exports, Ms. Jiby Varghese, Mentor, Kudumbashree National Resource Organization also shared his Kudumbashree experiences in the discussion.
The third discussion on 'Crime and Violence Prevention' moderated by Ms. Nishanthini IP. S, Rural DIG discussed a very topical issue. Along with Ms. Aaj Sudarshan, Special Judge, POCSO Court, Ms. Chelsasini. V IAS, CEO Gender Park, Ms. Josephine (Kerala State Planning Board), Adv. Sreela Menon, Nirbhaya State Coordinator, Ms. Rajani, Kudumbashree Community Counsellor, Ms. Savithri V.L, Gender Resource Person and Ms. Sunitha, Mentor, NRO became part of the discussion.
As part of the three-day-long Kudumbashree Silver Jubilee celebrations, the panel discussions organized on the second day, 16 May 2023, at the Putharikandam Maidan, Thiruvananthapuram were noteworthy. The first panel discussed the topic 'Role of Kudumbashree as a Social Organization to Combat Climate Change'. Ms. Aruna Roy, Magsaysay Award Winner & Environmentalist said that Kudumbashree, which deals effectively with all social issues should ensure effective participation in climate change issues as well. Ms. Sarada Muraleedharan IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Local Self Government Department, Government of Kerala moderated the discussion. Ms. Amrita Bhattacharya, Environmental Activist and Tribal Rights Activist, Ms. Mini Sukumar, Member, State Planning Board, Ms. Sasikala, Mentor, Kudumbashree National Resource Organization, Ms. Anila, Secretary, Harithakarmasena Vadakara Consortium and Ms. Reena Suresh, President, Guruvayoor Harithakarmasena Participated in the panel discussion.
Ms. Aruna Roy also conducted the online release of the book 'Ayaluravukal-Oru Kudumbashree Yathra' written by Shri. Sajith Sukumaran, Chief Operating Officer, Kudumbashree National Resource Organization. The first copy of the book was received by Ms. Sarada Muraleedharan IAS from Ms. Aishabi, Kudumbashree's youngest CDS Chairperson.
Dr. Sharmila Mary Joseph IAS, Principal Secretary, Local Self-Government Department, Government of Kerala moderated the panel discussion on the theme of 'Finding a Full Life Beyond the Formal Work Framework'. Dr. Khadija Mumtaz, Gynecologist, Writer & Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award Winner, shared about how she was able to study and become a doctor with the support of her mother, and how she became a writer with the habit of reading from a young age, amidst the difficult childhood. Ms Anitha Thampi, Director, Technical & Operations, HLL Lifecare Ltd and Poet said that she became a wanderlust by seeing an airplane flying in the sky. The audience was surprised with the experiences of Ms. Mohana Vijayan, a tea shop owner who has traveled to 26 countries during this time. Ms. Sonia Giri, Chairperson, Irinjalakuda Municipality & Actress, Ms. Brijeena, Snehatheeram CDS Community Counsellor and Folk Song Artist, Ms. Yashoda, Kudumbashree Balasabha Resource Person, Craftsman and Theatre Actress also participated in this panel discussion. A book written by Ms. Anjana, Kudumbashree Haripad Block Coordinator of Alappuzha district, titled 'Some wounds that overcome forgetfulness', was also released at the function.
Ms. Subhashini Ali, Ms. Smithaben Bhatnagar, Ms. Sathidevi, Ms. K.G. Rajeshwari, Ms. Baby Balakrishnan, Ms. C.S. Sreeja and Ms. Rathi Marath participated in the Panel Discussion on 'Enabling Women's Associations - Social Perspective and Legal Mechanisms' moderated by Ms. Liz Mathew, Political Writer. The discussion on the topic 'Steps towards Social Inclusion - Hopes and Dilemmas of Women's Communities' was moderated by Ms. Shyama S Prabha. Padmashree K.V. Rabia, Padmashree Laxmikutty Amma, Ms. Tiffany Brar, Ms. Yasmin Arimbra, and Ms. P.A. Razeena were part of these discussions. Following the Panel Discussions, Cultural Programmes were also staged.