Vimala Welfare Centre
Mission: Integrated development of women and children, especially the poor and the deprived through empowerment, economic independence and self reliance.
The Vimala Welfare Centre in Kochi, was established in 1961 and in the last 60 years has succeeded in empowering over 6,000 marginalised women.
Over the years the work of Vimalalayam has expanded to meet the increased needs of deprived women through its various projects:
Vimala Welfare Centre
The centre is a very inclusive place to work, and is open to women of all ages, backgrounds, castes and religions. Vimalalayam is a second home for many women.
Beautiful basket ware is made from the abundant waste of locally-sourced sustainable banana fibre, palm fibre and sisal.
Many artisans work from home because some are now quite elderly, and this also reduces travelling costs, though they miss the friendship of their fellow workers this way. With covid restrictions, the artisans can continue to earn a living and take their finished products into the centre as and when.
In the embroidery section, exquisite hand embroidery is created by talented and trained women who maintain the quality for which it is reputed. Cut work, smocking and shadow work on sarees and dresses are made to order, and newborn baby clothes and smocked dresses, nightwear and handkerchiefs are readily available to buy.
Vimalalayam College has adapted to the ever-growing needs in society by introducing a variety of courses for women and young ladies. The courses on offer are designed to equip students for both a career and family life:
B.Com and M.Com in Commerce following the MC University syllabus
Other short term courses include:
Diploma in social work with counselling
Cooking and baking
Sewing, cutting and tailoring
Skill training & job orientated courses
Vimalalayam Hostel for students and working women
The Vimalalayam Hostel caters to the needs of female students studying at the college, but also provides affordable accommodation to girls from other local colleges. It is a safe abode in the heart of the city, well connected to other institutions of work and study.
The word 'pallavom' means 'tender shoot'. it is something that needs nourishing and care. Pallavom provides a home (if needed) and day centre for the integrated development of specially-abled girls through skill training programmes. The educational, physical and emotional requirements of the young ladies are catered for here.
They are given training in sewing, cutting and tailoring, flower making, bag making, beauty treatments and make-overs, dance & music, drawing & painting and pottery.
The goal is to bring the best out of these talented women and thus help them to find one or two activities that can help them earn their livelihood and thus not be a burden for their families. Side by side they are helped to find their identity through personality development programmes and various entertainments.
Vimala Counselling Service
This essential service provides a listening ear to all students, staff and workers and their families associated with Vimalalayam. Qualified staff are on hand for those finding themselves in need of emotional support.
This service offers both individual and group therapy, as well as maithri (suicide prevention).
Moolampilly & islands
These remote islands, 6 miles north of Kochi, connected by lagoons and backwaters have largely been forgotten by society. But the staff at Vimalalayam have extended their outreach to this island over many years.
The poor inhabitants of Moolampilly traditionally found employment in fishing and pot making. Women were mainly housewives.
With the arrival of aluminium and plastic, traditional clay pots were fast disappearing. Vimalalayam has helped many to find other ways to earn their livelihoods such as masons and daily workers.
Women are given training in stitching, cutting, tailoring, candle making, cookery classes and basic computer training.
The island also has a day centre for the elderly, meeting in a temporary building. A new pre-school/day centre is at present being constructed, funded by Kerala Crafts.
The neighbouring island of Kadamakudy has benefited from this support too. Recently Kerala Crafts has enabled an ambulance to be purchased to take folk to hospital. No-one owns a car, and the urgent need for the vehicle became clear with the struggles that covid brought.
Essential food parcels were distributed during covid recently.