In cooperation with the SANNI Foundation, St. John’s was actively supported in the definition and implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Programme 2010 by the Foundation “Hand in Hand” Anstalt Balzers. Widows and destitute women with HIV/AIDS infections were motivated to take part in training courses.

The training courses are intended to strengthen self-confidence and help to generate self-employment. The programme consists of various training courses such as jewellery making, mushroom farming and organic farming. This programme has a sustainable and positive effect on many families. In addition to St. John’s teachers, professors and teachers from other social institutions are also involved. This has resulted in an exemplary agricultural farm with mushroom, oyster and milk cultures as well as outlets for jewellery production in front of the St. John’s Community Clinic.

The focus is now on income-generating measures through refresher courses and training in organic farming. Furthermore, the cooperation with the SANNI Foundation enables that the jewellery can be sold in Europe. This is a great motivation for the groups involved in their production. Local markets are also being established. This will give many families an income to earn their daily bread and give the children the opportunity to go to school.

One of the advantages of the women’s empowerment programme is that the Kerala Agricultural University has chosen the centre as a demonstration model for mushroom cultivation. The St. John’s project planner was selected as the appropriate consultant. As a result, mushrooms have become known as an organic and natural foodstuff, which increases their sales potential.

The training in mushroom cultivation and the promotion of the cultivation of organic vegetables helps the families to live healthier and brings them closer to their traditional eating culture. The sale of the products becomes the livelihood of the families of the weaker part of society.

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