Ladies Club Mangalore – of women, by women, for women
Women’s History Month, celebrated annually in March recognises the vital role of women in society and appreciates their invaluable contributions. In regard to this, The Manipal Journal had a telephonic interview with Ladies Club, Mangalore, an organisation that integrates women empowerment and social work. Since its inception in the year 1923, the club has worked towards uplifting women in the local community and has also involved itself in social work of various kinds.
Elaborating on the growth of Ladies Club, Una Mascarenhas, the club’s current President, mentioned that the land presently under the club used to be a quarry and was almost barren when the club was founded. It was developed by women and brought to the level it stands at today with a total strength of around 130 members. The primary objective of the club is to help underprivileged women and it further branches out into other social work. Talking about women empowerment, she said that financial support is provided to girls and young women who wish to complete their education and stand on their own feet. The club also takes up initiatives to supply toiletries, rice, and other necessary commodities to aged home institutions and others like the same. Family outings, games and dances are organised by the club as part of their fundraisers to help various needy institutions and causes. It is a completely independent organisation known to have built and managed Anganvadis, also known as pre-primary schools, and local badminton courts previously.
“It is all about the ladies,” said Una elucidating on the platform available for women to meet and support each other, express opinions and do what they choose to. ‘Ladies Day Out’ is a fun concept where all the members get to be part of cooking demos, games, skits and gatherings. On the other hand, guest lectures by eminent speakers, stress management workshops, burning issues and women-related topic discussions are also regularly conducted. “Education is one of our focus areas and ladies find the club a comforting place to be there for each other and learn together through the computer and yoga classes we conduct,” commented Una. The club is open to all age groups but majorly consists of elderly women due to flexible time availability unlike the working middle and younger groups.
Headed by a 12 member committee, the club also focuses on child welfare and organises regular get-togethers for orphans and children from the lower strata of society. All the events and gatherings are organised by the ladies who involve themselves with the utmost enthusiasm and dedication. “Our main source of income is club bookings for weddings and other functions. But because of the fluctuating weather and the coming up of so many areas and venues, our hall bookings have considerably gone down and peaks only during the Christmas or Diwali time,” mentioned Una regarding funds. She also added that there are certain paying members in the club who extend support for the upkeep and smooth running of the club.
Being a much-needed platform where women empowerment integrates with social work, all the ladies actively participate in all the happenings of the club and dedicate much of their time to it. Una stated that men do encourage and support them as they rightfully should, and furthermore added that such platforms are very essential for women to collectively grow and stand tall in today’s fast-paced world.
Featured Image Courtesy: Nirdesh Singh
Edited by: Nayanatara Jacob