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  Reaching out …31  
  For WIT 2008 has been a landmark year, a very special year, when the Fortieth Anniversary has been celebrated with three successful events.  
 
  40th Anniversary Celebrations
 
  Opening event at the WIT Centre , Panvel :  
 
The year started with a bang! A special event was arranged at the Kamila Tyabji WIT Centre, Panvel, in January with eminent guests gracing the morning. The Hon’ble Sheriff of Mumbai , Shrimati Indu Shahani and President Mrs. Anu Aga, addressed the audience comprising of Governing Body Members, Friends of WIT, donors, well- wishers, Guests and the staff ,all of whom joined in the celebrations enthusiastically.

Shrimati Indu Shahani pointed out the importance and relevance of being computer literate in a technology – driven world.

Mrs. Anu Aga exhorted women to avoid gender disparities and similar attitudes and to encourage girls to study. She also regretted the decline in the population of women vis-à-vis men, and stated that by 2020 the gender ratio, would be alarming, much worse.

The speakers emphasized that the need of the hour in the face of accelerating economic growth of about 9% per annum was the challenge of increasing purchasing power of the lower income groups. Unless they were integrated into the main economic mainstream , growth would be threatened and meaningless.

Awards were presented for long service and Outstanding Performance to about twenty five members of staff, who were all pleasantly surprised and quite delighted.

A commemorative silver coin, presented to all the WIT staff and Governing Body Members, carried a replica of Kamila Tyabji and mentioned the Fortieth Anniversary.
 
     
 
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  Seminar at the British Council:  
 
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The next event to celebrate the passage of forty years and to initiate the approach for the next few decades was the important and topical WIT Seminar on " Changing Lives in a Changing World, " held on February 14, Founder- Chairman, Kamila Tyabji's Birth Anniversary.

The panel of eminent speakers included Vicki Treadell, British Deputy High Commissioner, Laila Tyabji, Chairperson DASTAKAR, and Rama Bijapurkar, Management Consultant.

The seminar started with the screening of an effective and informative audio- visual on WIT.

Vicki Treadell spoke eloquently on "Global Perspective." She mentioned that across the world tremendous progress was being made in promoting gender equality at the middle levels in corporate and the media, etc., but that at the higher levels, the numbers diminished drastically. She urged women to speak out loud and clear and not to be cowed down by other women or men in order to please superiors or to toe the line.

Lalia Tyabji ,niece of Founder - Chairman Kamila Tyabji , explained how handicrafts like embroidery had given an impetus not only to increasing family incomes but also to increasing confidence levels and brining about social reforms over the last twenty five years.

Rama Bijapurkar shared experiences from the corporate world and explained that a silent revolution was happening among even uneducated women who were now purchasing products on loans repayable on EMIs. She also pointed out that for matrimony, men were looking for working women now whereas in the past they sought homebound women.

Discussing issues of importance to women and impact of changing trends is definitely of vital concern today. This Seminar succeeded in addressing these issues.
 
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  Fun - Fund Raising Event at Taj:  
 
 
As the highlight of the celebrations, a glittering Ruby Anniversary dinner was held at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower on April 11,2008.

The Celebrations Committee , chaired by long - time Friends of WIT, Parveez Aggarwal, organized a fabulous and fun evening at the Crystal Room, which helped to raise an amount of INR 20 lakhs specifically earmarked for the major structural repairs, so urgently required, to the WIT Centre buildings at Panvel.

A lavish spread of gourmet dishes and culinary delights, courtesy the Taj, was greatly appreciated by the guests.
 
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  Sales, Exports and Income:  
 
 
In the financial year 2007-2008 sales recorded a new high, largely due to the export of Home Linen, Toys and Paper products and the increasing Food sales of Marmalades, Jams, Chutneys, Pickles and Squashes. It is expected that the total turnover in the current financial year will be even higher.

A concerted effort to enhance the earnings of the staff and women workers has been consciously made to combat inflationary trends impacting them. Moreover additional staff has been appointed in an effort to increase the marketing thrust into new areas. It is hoped that this will pay off soon by being translated into increased sales and income.

As our educational and income generation activities continue to increase , additional income to support these activities is necessitated. Efforts to achieve this are definitely beginning to bear fruit.
 
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  Marketing of Foods:  
 
 
With the untiring inputs , on a purely voluntary basis, from marketing professional Astad Parakh and Uday Mallik, along with Dhanoo Khusrokhan, Vice chairman and Shyamla Nath CEO, WIT Food Sales have increased considerably over the previous year.

This marketing team meets regularly on Monday mornings to monitor the efforts to increase the number of retail outlets , to appoint staff as necessitated by the increasing the workload, etc. Within a year retail outlets in Mumbai have increased from 32 to 100! These include supermarkets such as Nature's Basket, Sahakari Bhandar, Food Bazar, Magnet, HyperCity etc.

The food department is now equipped with a Laboratory and a Food Technologist to ensure quality control.

It is hoped that with the team's tireless efforts , the food department will soon break even and contribute a substantial income to support WIT's educational activities.
 
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  Way to go - Exports:  
 
 
In a global economy, exports assume great importance. We are happy to report that WIT has succeeded in receiving orders this year too from the UK, Europe, the US and Singapore - this, mainly due to the relentless efforts of our CEO, Shyamla Nath and Governing Body Members.

An array of bed and table linen, an assortment of bags, colouful cushion covers, toilet cases, etc., have sailed across seas.
 
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  Repairs and Restoration:  
 
 
The Kamila Tyabji WIT Centre and the adjacent Hostel building, now more than two decades old, have been sorely in need of major structural repairs. As mentioned , the major fund - raising efforts of the Fortieth Anniversary Celebrations Committee successfully raised around INR20 lakhs which have been earmarked for structural repairs. Work on both the building will be starting shortly and should be completed in three to four months.
 
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  Nursing and Nurturing:  
 
 
The expanded Nursing Course with forty students now as compared to thirty students earlier, has successfully completed the first year.

Additional expenses for equipment and furniture to cater to ten more students was managed through internal resources.

On the completion of the course last year students were offered immediate jobs with salaries ranging from INR6000/- onwards - with one student even getting INR24,000/- per month. Our Nursing Director, Anshu Kaul, ensures that the course is run in accordance with all requirements of the Maharashtra Nursing Council requirements.
 
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  Home Linen, Paper Products and Toys:  
 
 
All the departments involved with production at the WIT Centre have worked round the clock to complete all the export and local orders received this year. It has been heartening to note that the staff has risen to the occasion and the Kamila Tyabji WIT Centrehas remained an important hub of activity.

Encouragingly, the Taj Group of Hotels , through their Corporate Social Responsibility Department , have placed orders for cosmetic nags, slippers bags and newspaper bags. Many other samples are being developed.

For Diwali, a collection of new designs was developed .New curtains, cushion covers, runners, table mat sets, mobile covers all in festive colours were introduced. A special collection of products for children, like bags and floor mats were also introduced.
 
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  25th Anniversary of The KamilaTyabji WIT Centre:  
 
 
It has been a time of double celebration for WIT with the completion of 40 years of WIT and 25 years of the Kamila Tyabji Centre at Panvel.

To celebrate this occasion, the Governing Body members and the staff organized an enjoyable event at Panvel on November 24. The Chief Guest was Dr. Bakhtawar Mahajan, President, Indian Women Scientists Association, who strongly suggested to all those present to make greater efforts to all those present to make greater efforts to keep abreast of rapidly advancing changes in technology around the world. The only sure way to progress was to embrace the advances with an open mind.

Students of the various sections of the Kamila Tyabji WIT Centre entertained the gathering with a Fancy Dress Competition and a Fashion Show in which the students modeled their own creations in a confident and professional manner.

Coincidently, on the same day a prestigious Fund-raising Lunch was being held in USA, organized by the Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) , Utah, to raise resources to enable the SLCC team to conduct another Women Entrepreneur Workshop for WIT in Mumbai. A successful sale of WIT products was also held that day at the SLCC event.
 
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  Continuing Community Development Programmes:  
 
 
The Train the Trainer Programme sponsored by Times Foundation and initiated in Nov '07 was completed successfully this year. The Mayor of Mumbai, Dr, Shuba Raul, Times of India Mumbai Head, Mr. Ram Maheshwari , felicitated the women. Women were taught Technical skills in Hand and Machine tailoring, Hand embroidery and Teaching Techniques like Lesson Planning, conducting Group session, etc.

An Entrepreneurial Development Workshop was conducted for sixty women in Basic Financial Literacy , Entrepreneurship Development , Marketing Skills, among other topics. The workshop was conducted by Mrs. Dannielle Lower and Mr. Randy Schouten, two trainers who flew down from Salt Lake Community College , Utah, USA. We thank Ms. Karenn Gunn, Dean of SLCC for her valuable assistance and encouragement. Recently, Tata Communication has been sponsoring a Tailoring Training Project and Income Generation Programme being conducted at the Mahim Centre for women for one year.

The process of getting women artisans' identity cards and Medical Insurance from the Ministry of Textile was initiated and it is hoped that this process will be completed soon.

A Right to Information Workshop was also held to promote honesty, transparency and accountability in Governance conducted by the Public Concern for Governance Trust.
 
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