What is Awwa ?
AWWA – Army Wives Welfare Association is an Indian non-profit organization that works for the spouse, children, or any dependents of Army personnel. The association was founded in 1966 and aims to rehabilitate war widows and battle casualties. Mrs Archana Pande, wife of General Manoj Pande is currently serving as President of AWWA. It is also called the invisible hand that shapes the punch of the Indian Army.
The association was officially registered as a Welfare Society with the Registrar of Societies, Delhi Administration on 23 August 1966. Since its inception, AWWA has grown in its scope and reach and today it stands proud as one of the largest NGOs in India.
Aim/ Mission of AWWA
The welfare of troops is of paramount importance in the Army. We work on the premise that a soldier performs best in his line of duty when he knows that his family back home is taken care of now and for all time to come. The aim of the Army Wives Welfare Association therefore is to support and augment the official welfare efforts within the Indian Army, focusing primarily on the welfare of families, children and widows of all ranks including those of retired personnel of the Army.
Rehabilitation of Widows
Looking after war widows referred to as Veer Naris is the core focus of AWWA. Because of the nature of an armyman’s job nearly 1200 widows are added to our fold every year. While their dues and pensions are taken care of by the organization, AWWA provides the much-required emotional and moral support to the widows to help them cope with their loss while also addressing any concerns that they may have. AWWA plays an important role in making sure that an army widow does not feel abandoned at any point in time.
How Do We Do This
- An ex-gratia payment of Rs 15000/- is made by AWWA to the veer nari immediately on the occurrence of death.
- Depending on where the veer nari is residing, a geographically co-located army unit normally adopts her and looks after her needs. The first lady of the Unit takes the lead in providing succor to the veer nari. AWWA maintains a record of veer naris with the help of DIAV.
- It reaches out to the veer naris on a regular basis. AWWA functionaries visit the lady when a casualty occurs.
- It makes the veer naris aware of their dues and benefits
- AWWA acts as a mediator or a channel of communication between the veer naris and the official set up of the Indian army for the settlement of their issues.
- Veer naris are invited to AWWA day functions, regimental reunions and other important functions.
- Regular health camps are organized for the veer naris.
- AWWA gives education grants to the veer nari and her children as a lump sum for the marriage of the daughter.
- Whenever a job vacancy arises in the AWWA ventures, preference is given to veer naris and their children.
Promoting Health Awareness and Well Being
AWWA is committed to creating a health-conscious community that adopts a healthy lifestyle by choice. It looks at promoting the physical as well as the mental and emotional well-being of its members. It also promotes environment-friendly practices.
How Do We Do This
- AWWA and FWOs and actively engaged in creating awareness of lifestyle diseases by conducting regular lectures, seminars, talks, street plays in its welfare meets.
- It organizes physical activities for its members for example nature walks, marathons, aerobics, and yoga and zumba classes.
- It participates in the government of India drives like the Pulse Polio Drive, Swatch Bharat drives etc
- It organizes health camps on a regular basis.
- It organizes counseling for cases of marital discord and domestic violence.
- It encourages judicious use of water and electricity as well as waste segregation and home composting through awareness drives.
- AWWA is actively involved with patient welfare in military hospitals.
- AWWA sensitizes ladies on pregnancy and early childcare.
- It supports the parents of children with learning difficulties and sensitizes the environment on inclusive education.
The nature of army service makes it imperative for the men to be away from their families for long periods of time. The women more often than not are engaged in single parenting. Frequent moves also make it difficult for wives to complete long courses or get jobs in every new station. Keeping the above exigencies in mind AWWA is committed not only to making the wives self-reliant but also helping them to bloom where they are planted.
How Do We Do This
- AWWA runs Vocational Training Centres (VTCs) in military stations across the length and breadth of the country. These VTCs offer short courses to the ladies. Popular courses are Nursery Teachers’ Training, Beautician and Tailoring courses.
- In some stations, AWWA runs Army Skill Training Centres under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. These ASTCs offer government-recognized and funded courses to our ladies.
- Thirty-seven ASHA schools for special children are currently running all over the country under the aegis of AWWA.
- Wishwas is a Vocational training institute for special children is in operation under AWWA
- AWWA is in a supportive role for bringing about inclusive education in Army schools and funds resource rooms wherever possible.
- In many stations, AWWA runs hobby courses for women and children.
- AWWA runs driving schools for women.
- AWWA imparts life skills training to ladies on how to operate bank accounts, ATM cards book railway tickets and so on.
- AWWA is committed to nurturing the talents of its members. It also endeavors to create learning and earning opportunities for its beneficiaries especially the veer naris.It is also sensitive towards the needs of the girl child.
- AWWA runs outlets in many military stations. These are basically fair priced gift shops that cater to the needs of the families residing inside the military cantonments. When employing sales staff at these outlets, preference is given to veer naris and their dependants. Handcrafted products made by the ladies as also the special children occupy a pride of place in these shops.
- Beauty parlours in military utility complexes are run by AWWA. Veer naris and VTC/ASTC graduates are encouraged to take up employment in these parlours.
- AWWA runs women’s’ hostels in bigger stations so that the daughters of army families can pursue higher studies in a safe environment.
- AWWA disburses education grants annually to the widows and their children. It also gives one time scholarships to deserving students.
- AWWA also gives a marriage grant for the dependants of widows.
- It gives a grant for the purchase of sewing machines to widows of severely disabled soldiers.
- AWWA recognizes the good service of its members by felicitating them with Awards of excellence.
- It awards good academic performance among school children.
- AWWA also contributes to national disaster relief when the need arises.