Vision, Mission & Core Values
Women are the backbone of the family and society everywhere
To stop violence against women, and empower underprivileged women to rise above poverty and inequality through encouragement, basic education and vocational skills.
- Action-oriented to solve problems
- Build the organization brick by brick
- Commitment to serve the cause
- Demonstrate results of efforts
- Ethical conduct and transparency
- Foster teamwork and cooperation
- Genuine care and respect for the individual
- Help people lead healthier lives
In nearly every country, women work longer hours than men, but are usually paid less and are more likely to live in poverty. In subsistence economies, women spend much of the day performing tasks to maintain the household, such as carrying water and collecting fuel wood. In many countries women are also responsible for agricultural production and selling. Often they take on paid work or entrepreneurial enterprises as well.
Unpaid domestic work – from food preparation to care giving – directly affects the health and overall well being and quality of life of children and other household members. Poor women do more unpaid work, work longer hours and may accept degrading working conditions during times of crisis, just to ensure that their families survive.
Women make up 70% of the world's working hours and earn only 10% of the world's income and half of what men earn.
Women’s rights are the biggest unfinished agenda of 21st century...this is a core imperative for every human being in society, in every country.
Gender Equality and Women Empowerment
Gender equality implies a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, outcomes, rights and obligations in all spheres of life. Equality between men and women exists when both sexes are able to share equally in the distribution of power and influence; have equal opportunities for financial independence through work or through setting up businesses; enjoy equal access to education and the opportunity to develop personal ambitions. A critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances and giving women more autonomy to manage their own lives. Women's empowerment is vital to sustainable development and the realization of human rights for all. The roles that men and women play in society are not biologically determined–they are socially determined, changing and changeable. Although they may be justified as being required by culture or religion, these roles vary widely by locality and change over time. Applying culturally sensitive approaches for any given community can be key to advancing women’s rights while respecting different forms of social organization.
Throughout much of the world, women’s equality is undermined by historical imbalances in decision-making power and access to resources, rights, and entitlements for women. Either by law or by custom, women in many countries still lack rights to:
- Own land and to inherit property
- Obtain access to credit
- Attend and stay in school
- Earn income and move up in their work, free from job discrimination
Quotes from Women
“We need a feminine principle in all genders.”
"We must stop treating violence against women as women’s issues; they are human rights issues, all our responsibility."
“When you educate girls, you educate an entire community; education is the great equalizer.”
Who We Are?
Surya-Chandra Foundation is a Los Angeles based not-for-profit corporation (EIN#: 45-4708552) under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.
Surya-Chandra Foundation intends to contribute to the welfare and advancement of impoverished young women and their children in poor countries of the world. The foundation intends to render assistance in the following ways:
- Empower women and children through education, training and intervention programs
- Serve the marginalized people especially with formation of women self help groups (SHGs)
- Establish linkage between women SHGs and financial institutions for sustainability
- Provide free shelter for homeless, and orphanage for children
- Implement awareness education training
- Conduct health education camps
What We Have Accomplished Thus Far?
Surya-Chandra Foundation started by helping six deserving young girl students pursue college education in Chennai, India. Here is a Times of India article that describes one of the six recipients–S Bhavani– in 2012:Times of India - Counting on numbers to brighten her life
S Bhavani exudes confidence in her speech and body language. But that's on the outside. The 17-year-old knows that despite coming first in the Class 12 board exams in Chennai district, it is a long road ahead.
"My father, L Subramanyam, was a sorting postman. He died in 2008 and we have been living on his pension," says Bhavani. "Now it is 9,000 a month, but we were told that it might reduce by half in another couple of years." Her mother was not able to work as she had to take care of two daughters.
When Bhavani did well in Class 10, she knew that she wanted to be a chartered accountant. "My father's friend helped us. He told me about Sri Ahobila Math Oriental Higher Secondary School, which is the best place to study commerce," says Bhavani, who scored 1,188 out of 1,200.
When Bhavani joined Ahobila Math, she knew she was among the lowest income group. "Other students were toppers from CBSE and matriculation schools. I was the only one from a corporation school. No one noticed me."
That was until the results of the first quarterly exams were announced. Bhavani stood first and the girl from Saidapet became the centre of attention. All through her plus two, Bhavani focused only on studies. "The competition was high and I had to be on my toes. My marks motivated me to do better," she says.
Bhavani would study till 8pm after school and then be up by 4am. Since the house has just two narrow rooms, she would study in the room near the kitchen, while her mother and sister slept in the other room. "At sunrise, I would turn off the lights and head to the backyard," she says. Bhavani's family lives in a tiny outhouse that is one of the three houses in the same compound. The families share a small area at the back, which is Bhavani's study room at dawn.
She is hoping to do well in a common proficiency test on Sunday to start her accountancy career. "It will cost me 20,000, including course fee. I am hoping to do well because this could mean slight reduction in fees," she says.
After seeing her daughter's marks, Kannagi feels the struggle was worth it. "I wish her father was around to see what she has accomplished. He dreamt of seeing her picture in the newspaper. She is the first in our family to have finished her 12th," adds Kannagi.
We have partnered with ANEW (Association for Non-traditional Employment for Women) and Sarva Vidya -- both organizations helping young women -- to educate and empower girls from very low income families and distraught segments of society.We have helped 34 young women at ANEW to receive vocational training as Home Nursing Assistants over the last two years. After six months of intensive class room and internship work, they have secured gainful employment providing care for elderly patients in their homes. In 2014, we have also supported five girls to receive basic IT education at ANEW. We have funded scholarships for 69 young women in 2-year Nursing Certificate program at Sarva Vidya Nursing Institute. Upon graduation, they will be employed by local hospitals to provide patient care.
Youth Mentoring Program
We intend to start a mentoring program to enable behavioral and attitudinal change for boys and girls, young people and communities living in poverty in India, focusing on education, health and gender equality. By enabling girls, the world will allow them to be equal participants, with an equal voice, with equal access to opportunities in society. Women and girls in developing countries are currently denied basic human rights, freedom, respect and dignity, so what can the world's girls do to change this? Following questions will be addressed by the participants in this program:
- What role do women have to play in ending global poverty?
- What role can communities play at a grassroots level to create an equal playing field for boys and girls?
- What does the future hold for the girl child living in poverty?
- Why does gender equality make good economic sense?
- What impact does lack of education and poor health have on a woman's prospects?
- What needs to be done to address cultural and traditional discrimination against women?
- How can women be enabled to break the poverty cycle and have the same rights as men?
Why do we want to help young women?
In many developing countries, women are still much more likely than men to be poor and illiterate. They usually have less access than men to medical care, property ownership, training , employment and credit. They are far less likely than men to be politically active and far more likely to be victims of domestic violence. Where women’s status is low, family size tends to be large, which makes it more difficult for families to thrive. We need to address the educational opportunities, status and empowerment of women. When women are empowered, whole families benefit, and these benefits often have ripple effects to future generations.