Grihini Community College
The over-arching vision of the Grihini Community College is to provide education appropriate to the needs of poorly educated Dalit, Tribal and marginalised young women of the remote villages of the Palni Hills in Tamil Nadu so that they will be empowered to transform their lives, find suitable employment and in so doing improve conditions in their villages.
The courses offered in the College aim to help these women free themselves from their plight through a program of literacy, personal development, social awareness, skills training and confidence building.
Grihini was established as a non-formal education centre in 1987 after a period of planning by a group of expatriate and local educators, social scientists and philanthropists. Grihini is located in the premises of Sacred Heart College, a Jesuit Retreat Centre at Shembaganur, Kodakannal. The governance of the program is with Kodai Grihni Trust, which is assisted by its Executive Committee, the Council and the Administration.
The Administration and teaching team also work in close partnership with a group of Jesuit priests called the PEAK Team, who have formed a long term trusting relationship with the remote villages that have largely Dalit, Tribal populations and villages that were formed by the Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka when they were released from bonded labour. These priests assist with the recruitment of the girls to join Grihini, because beased on their trust that has been formed between them and the villages leaders, the girls’ families are less reluctant to let them leave their home and relinquish ther daily care to Griihini. In addition, the Peak team contribute to the teaching of some aspecst of the program.
Maintenance of a sense of connectedness to their village and families is also considered important so that the families and villagers are prepared to work for necessary changes that would be all too obvious to the women once they returned to their village.
Continuance of on-going contact and support with the women beyond the initial program was deemed to be an essential component of the program to help graduates to maintain and continue their learning and their social awareness as well as provide support in the transition back to village and family life.
After more than 20 years of non-formal education, the Grihini program, has become an accredited a Community College offering vocational diplomas recognised throughout India.
The goal of these programs is ‘to build empowerment’ and alliance among marginalised women’