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Catholic Sthree Sangatan, Udupi and “Sampada”, Social Development Center, Udupi jointly organized Inauguration of “Sugamya” Udupi District Women Federation and International Women’s Day Celebration at Mathura Kalabhavan at Udupi on 10th March, 2019.

Most Rev. Gerald Isaac Lobo, Bishop of Udupi Diocese; Rev. Fr Reginald Pinto, Director of Sampada; Sr Janet Fernandes, Director of Udupi Diocesan Women Commission: Sr Zeeta D’Souza, Region Coordinator of Women Empowerment plan of KROSS, Bengaluru;Mrs Shahanaj M., Editor of Anupama Monthly; Mrs Gracy Gonsalves, Deputy Director of Women and Children Development Department, Udupi District; V. Rev. Fr Valerian Mendonca, Dean of Udupi Deanery; Mrs Janet Barboza, President of Catholic Sthree Sangatan, Udupi; Mrs Precy D’Souza; Mrs Leena Roch; Former Presidents, Five Taluk Women Federation Presidents and others were present on the dais.

The Program Began with a prayer song sung by members of Uzwala Women federation, Brahmavar. Sr Janet Fernandes presented briefly the history, aims and objectives of initiating and promoting the self-help groups right from the parish unit level to the district level. She said that empowering women has been one of the chief aims of the self-help groups. She further said that so far throughout the Udupi District women have been organized in 456 self-help groups with  6500 members. They are further organized in 50 parish level Okkutas and five taluka level federations-Arpana Mahila Okkuta, Karkala Taluk, Bhavana Mahila Okkuta, Kundapura-Baindoor Taluk,  Inchara Mahila Okkuta, Kaup Taluk, Ujwala Mahila Okkuta, Brahmavar Taluk and   Sharadhi Mahila Okkuta, Udupi Taluk. The confederation of all these Okkutas is the ‘Sugamya’ Zilla Mahila Okkuta. 

A minute of Silence was observed for the eternal rest of those soldiers martyred at Pulwama recently due to terrorist attack.

Prior to the formal inauguration of ‘Sugamya’ Zilla Mahila Okkuta, three women representatives read passages from the Holy Bible, Quran and Bhagwadgita. Thereafter, Bishop Gerald Lobo poured a measure of rice into the ‘kalshi’ containing the coconut flower bunch which was unfurled by Sr. Zeeta D’Souza, thus officially inaugurating the ‘Sugamya’ Zilla Mahila Okkuta of the Udupi District.

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V. Rev. Fr Valerian Mendonca, Mrs Gracy Gonsalves, Zeeta D'Souza, Mrs Shahanaj M. also spoke on this occasion.

Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo along with other dignitaries felicitated the past Presidents of the Diocesan Central Committee of Sthree Sangatan Presidents of five taluka level Mahila Okkutas.  

In his presidential address, Bishop Gerald Lobo conveyed his compliments to all women on the occasion of the observance of International Women’s Day and the inauguration of ‘Sugamya’ Zilla Mahila Okkuta. The Bishop further said that women have an important role to play in society. Realizing the greatness of Indian women, Swami Vivekananda said that he bows his head to their motherhood and sacrifice.  Today, the condition of women has changed. Women have been participating in economic activities and have been supporting their families financially. They have many opportunities in different fields. This is chiefly due to the empowerment of women through Indian Constitution and education. Socially, economically, intellectually and politically they are becoming more and more conscious and empowered. This empowerment is being streamlined through the self-help groups. It is not enough to organize up to the district level, the next stage should be the state level confederation of all women self-help groups and organization of a bank at the Udupi District level conducted by women themselves. 

Proposing vote of thanks, Fr. Reginald Pinto recalled the services of Sr. Treeza Martis who did a lot of work in organizing women in the initial stage of the development of the self-help groups. Fr. Reginald expressed his gratitude to the support and encouragement he received from Bishop Gerald Lobo in the task of building the self-help groups in the Diocese of Udupi and asked the women to give him standing ovation for his patronage.  

Mrs Janet Barboza welcomed the gathering and Mrs Flotilda D’Souza proposed vote of thanks. Mrs. Vinaya D’Costa from Kundapur and Stanley Ferandes-staff member of ‘Sampada’ compered the program. 

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