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Women empowered by the Sona Group of institution’s community engagement initiatives have shown rare level of resilience during the pandemic. Recognizing Sona Group’s women uplift initiatives, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on April 11, 2021 gave away the Lilavati Award 2020 for creating a better society for women in India.
Team SWEAT (Sona Women Entrepreneurship and Training) and Team SWSAH (Sona Women Sanitation and Hygiene) brought home two of the national level AICTE’s Lilavati Award 2020 out a total of 456 entries. 25 best entries across the 6 sub-themes were selected by renowned experts. The award’s overall theme was Women Empowerment. SWEAT and SWSAH bagged the awards under sub-themes, Women Entrepreneurship and Sanitation and Hygiene. SWEAT was declared winner and SWSAH the 1st. runner.
Transforming lives through technology
A six member women group who were trained in paver block making using steel slag under SWEAT is in the process of starting their own manufacturing unit in their village. They have bagged a contract to supply 1.5 lakh paver blocks to Vee Technologies Pvt Ltd and are now taking home an income of Rs. 600 to Rs.800 daily.
A total of eighty rural women from weaker economic background were trained in paver block making and ten of them have become entrepreneurs says Dr.R.Malathy, Head, Civil Engineering Department and Team leader of SWEAT.
Like these six women 725 rural women from 41 villages in Salem District who have been trained in five different technologies under SWEAT have found new means of earning a livelily hood under SWEAT’s training programmes. An exclusive training centre has been established for this purpose.
“We adopted villages near by Salem and trained rural women, physically challenged and farmers on five technologies,” explains, Dr.R.Malathy.
Other interventions under SWEAT
To make life easier for the differently abled women, the Department of Fashion Technology developed a sewing machine with a hand operation feature and trained many weaker section women. Dr.D.Raja, the Head, Department of Fashion Technology says that the women are able to hand-operate the machine without having to use their impaired legs. They also don’t have to remove their special foot wear while operating the machine. Many of them have found jobs in garment industries and many have become entrepreneurs says Dr. Raja.
The Solar Food Processing training was imparted to 83 women by the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering. The trainees were taught to set up solar driers and to preserve vegetables and food items. The women were encouraged to tap the potential for providing solar drier service and 15 of them have become entrepreneurs said Dr.Padma, Head, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering.
The Mechanical Engineering Department took up the project of training women from 14 villages in making value added products from recycled paper wastes. They were taught to make envelops and bags and make a livelihood selling them says Dr.Ranjit Kumar from the Mechanical Engineering Department.
Salem is the hub of hundreds of silver anklet making clusters. The intricately made anklets are polished and embellished before hitting the shelves of the jewelry showrooms across India and also abroad. Hundreds of poor women are directly engaged in silver anklet making and in polishing units. While the traditional chemical based polishing is not skin friendly, the pulse plating technology using pulse rectifier is a harmless and non-polluting alternative. Out of the 80 women trained 10 now run their own business said Dr.K.R Kavita Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering.
SWSAH shows the way for women’s hygiene
Long before the pandemic started, in October 2018 to mark the World Hand Washing Day, the College set a Guinness record by organizing a massive mass relay hand washing involving 4024 persons in the same place in the presence of former Salem Collector District Rohini Bhajibhakare.
“Realizing the serious impact of personal hygiene on public health, the college also carried out awareness programmes on personal hygiene especially among women says”, SWSAH Team Leader Dr. S. Priyalatha.
The Department of Fashion Technology developed a 3D mask, personal protection equipment (PPE), coverall and protective wear with the help of Women’s self-help groups. This provided financial support that will elevate their livelihood status. Many of the products were donated to hospitals during pandemic period in large scale.
A nurse bot developed by the institution helped automate many of the nursing tasks thus reducing considerably human-to-human contact and thereby bring down clinical cross infections of the coronavirus. More than 3,50,000 people benefited through the initiative and hence seen as another major breakthrough in COVID 19 mitigation.
Sri.C.Valliappa, Chairman, Sona Group of institutions and Vice Chairmen Sri.Chocko Valliappa and Sri.Thyagu Valliappa appreciated Dr.S.R.R.Senthil Kumar, Principal, Sona College of Technology for taking the initiatives and motivating the faculty and girls in achieving the big feat. “The conferment of the AICTE Lilavati Awards reinforces and recognizes the fact that Sona Group provides the best environment for the empowerment of the girl student”, they said.
They also, appreciated all the women faculty and girl students for their committed efforts and activities in their respective areas which paved way for this tremendous success.
The Lilavati Awards 2020 were given away at a glittering ceremony in AICTE Office, New Delhi. Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal along with Chairman, AICTE Prof. Anil Sahasrabudhe; Vice Chairman, AICTE, Prof. M P Poonia, felicitated the winners.
In his speech at the awards ceremony, Dr M P Poonia told, "Ensuring empowerment of women is very much necessary for a better future, and initiatives like Lilavati award from AICTE could catalyze these efforts to ensure strengthening of women in the nation. In his speech he pointed out the contribution of Sona College of Technology towards the women Enterprenurship under the leadership of Professor R. Malathy.