Udupi: Bishop Gerald Lobo inaugurates Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta

Report: Dr Eugene D’Souza

Pics: Mummy Digital Studio

Udupi, Nov 6: The Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta, the Federation of Women’s Organizations of the deanery was inaugurated by Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo on Monday November 5 at a function at St Francis Xavier parish hall, Udyavar by unveiling the banner depicting nine boats representing nine parishes of the deanery- Udupi, Kalmady, Udyavar, Katapadi, Yermal, Moodubelle, Kuntalnagar, Manipal and Perampalli.

In his inaugural address, Bishop Gerald Lobo said that the dream of establishing federations of women’s self-help groups in all five deaneries of the diocese has been fulfilled with the inauguration of the last of the Okkutas- the Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta of Udupi deanery. He complimented all the women from different parishes of Udupi deanery for fulfilling this dream. The bishop further said that the next step would be to set up the federation of the diocesan level self-help groups and later the Karnataka state level federation.

Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo continuing his address said that there are 15,643 families in the entire diocese and he hoped that at least one woman member of each family would enlist as the member of the women’s self-help groups in their respective wards and parishes. However, there are at present 8,300 members all over the diocese. The bishop said that it is important for the women to organize such groups so that their voice would be heard by the authorities. In this way they can demand various government facilities and raise their voice against injustice and exploitation. Besides, through the organization it is easier to become part of the mainstream in society. Registration of women’s self-help groups federation at district level would be achieved by March 2019.

Emphasizing on the need to unite and organize at wider level, the bishop said that it is not enough to be active within the four walls of the church. There is much need to be active outside by participating in various socio-economic and political activities. Even if it is difficult to participate in electoral politics by standing as candidates for local governments, women can participate in ward and gram sabhas and make their voice heard by their strength and unity. He said that last year at
the diocesan level the women’s self-help groups availed around Rs 5,50, 45,934 in government grants through various schemes for minorities. Bishop Gerald Lobo stressed on the need to encourage the youth to join government service at central as well as state level and impressed upon the women to imbibe a spirit of competitive examination and motivate their children to enter government services.

Earlier, in his introductory speech, Fr Reginald Pinto spiritual director of Stree Sanghattan of Udupi diocese and director of Sampada, said that through women’s organization the self-help groups were born. With the inauguration of the Okkuta, the evolution of the organization has reached the third stage, two being the ward level and parish level self-help groups. There are still two more stages to be reached, that is, diocesan and state level federations. He further said that in Udupi deanery, there are 60 self-help groups with 1,081 members. There is still scope to increase the membership as only 37 percent of the total women in the deanery have joined self-help groups. In his speech, Fr Reginald Pinto narrated the aims and objectives as well as the need for women to empower themselves by joining the Stree Sanghattan and self-help groups.

Janet Barboza- president of Stree Sanghattan, Uudpi diocese, Sr Janet Ferandes- animator of Stree Sanghattan, Udupi diocese, Fr Stany Lobo, chancellor of Uudpi diocese, spiritual director of Stree Sanghattan, Udupi deanery and parish priest of Udyavar and Fr Valerian Mendonca- dean of Uudpi deanery who presided over the programme spoke on the occasion and complimented the women for organizing themselves in Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta and wished them well.

Prior to the inauguration of the Okkuta, presidents of Stree Sanghattans from nine parishes lit the lamp representing five deanery okkutas.

Fr Ronson D’Souza, parish priest of Katapady, former presidents of Stree Sanghattan of Uudpi deanery- Irene Pereira (2016-17) and Judith Fernandes (2017-18) were present.

Hezel D’Lima, president of Stree Sanghattan of Udupi deanery welcomed the guests and the gathering; Anita Monis, secretary proposed the vote of thanks; Precilla Alva and Vinutha Noronha of Kalmady compered the programme; women's groups from Yermal and Katapadi conducted the initial prayer service and women’s groups from Udyavar,
Moodubelle and Udupi presented cultural programmes.



Title : Udupi: Bishop Gerald Lobo inaugurates Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta


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