Convenor's Desk :

Dr. Sister M. Carol A.C., Convenor, ICWA.

Looking back over the years, I feel that the ICWA has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life - because it has brought tangible success, both in terms of work done, and in terms of the target society that was, when we started, and that is, today.. The parents were so reluctant, so apprehensive, about sending their children to us. They needed their children, they said, to help with the work. They did not trust us, they added, to do an ongoing job. And we had to coax and cajole them into sending their children to the literacy centres. Today, seeing how the children have progressed and are on the way to holding their own in any profession, they badger us to take more and more children, when we just have no space. That’s for the awareness of the value of education that has come to the slum-dwellers, in the last 25 years, since 1987.

In the Special(Remand ) Homes, the Hell that was, has been transformed into Homes Away from Home. The inmates are happy and at peace. They are taught discipline, and given value education, personality development and vocational training, So, when they are released, they have no taste for the old life and set to work like good citizens.

The other projects have also had success, though not so easily evaluated - awakening and empowerment of the women students in the member colleges; income generation training for the slum women, social support for middle-class women ostracized by the society.

As we begin our new web site on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of the ICWA, we thankfully announce that ours has indeed been a success story, notwithstanding all the hurdles that we have faced down the years. These hurdles , however, have come from the outside, never from the ranks. The 30-odd college teachers, who have formed the Core Group of the association over the years, have always worked together with a team spirit and with camaraderie, so that belonging to the group was in itself a reward for the work we might be assigned to do. It may seem utopian, but is nevertheless true, that, belying the belief that a number of women cannot work together without disagreeing, our members have worked at the various projects in teams, peacefully, with difference of opinion at times, but without friction. . A piece of good advice that we were given at the start was not to have portfolios, for which the members might be tempted to fight. So, the association has a convenor and a secretary, no other offices. No one envies these offices, because they mean work without any benefit. Freed from all that might cause friction, we enjoy one another’s company at the monthly meetings, helped on by the tiny hot cup of tea, giving vent to our ” free child” in the place where we can be completely ourselves, away from the classroom situation, with friends whom we look forward to seeing each month at the meetings. And the benevolent work goes on apace. - Dr. Sister M. Carol A.C., Convenor, ICWA.