In Fall 2012, activities at the Someshwarwadi centre took an unexpected turn. The vision for this centre was women empowerment and the need for this was felt because girl students had been refusing to attend the classes earlier because of male predominance in the students as well as volunteers. They were to be taught handicrafts and cottage industries to give them confidence to stand on their own feet.
The volunteers, however, encountered a big hurdle in this well-thought-out and ambitious plan. The target population of girls still refused to turn up for classes. The smaller girls who turned up did not take to the activities that were designed for an older target population. Therefore, the original idea of the abhyasika was restored for both boys and girls. A public event was also conducted during Ganapati festival with competitions and prizes.
When even talking to the girls in their homes did not work, the centre stuck to the original format of abhyasika.
An event was also organised at Diwali when the children painted diyas which were then sold at IISER in a stall during the cultural fest, Karavaan.
The coordinators aim to return to the earlier vision soon and have plans of coordinating with NGOs and women’s empowerment groups for the purpose.