ABOUT US Mahila Shakti Kendra, popularly known as “MASK” was established in the year 2002.On 01 April 2002, 25 SHGscame together and formed themselves into a Federation in view of their sustainability after they would be soon weaned away from Gana Chetana Samaj, the organization that promoted them. Socio-economic empowerment of women of Balipara Block was the main objective of MASK. MASK began promoting new groups which were added to the Federation and it began addressing women’s issues through a unique method of their “Women’s Court”Simultaneously, MASK addressed the burning issue of SHG members of the Federation being trapped in the vicious circle of indebtedness to money lenders. The Micro-Finance programme of MASK, with a systematic methodology and procedure, has proved successful in relieving all the SHGs from the clutches of the money lenders and is now in the process of empowering them economically through income generating activities. On 08 February 2006, MASK was registered as a Society, under the Societies Registration Act. The initial major social issues successfully addressed through the “Women’s Court”, boosted the morale, confidence, self image and status of the women in their villages and in Society. Consequently, the solidarity among members of the Federation and their collective strength began growing and they soon became a powerful women’s group to be reckoned with in the region.Women’s Empowerment by MASK, was a result of the vision, concept, objectives and methodology adopted by MASK in promoting and nurturing their groups. (in formation of the groups; in supervising and monitoring their growth and development; in periodically evaluating the groups; in implementing their Micro-Finance Programme and in addressing social issues). MASK soon came to be recognized, in the North East, as a training institution for training of trainers.Since then, MASK has been actively engaged every year, in conducting residential Training of Trainer’s (TOT) Programmes, ranging from 3 to 15 days for NGOs of the North East.MASK has conducted TOT programmes for personnel and NGO partners of NABARD (Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur), IGSSS (Indo Global Social Service Society), Action Aid (Delhi), MRDS (Meghalaya Rural Development Society), NIRD, SIRD, DRDA Sonitpur,and other NGOs. These institutions and NGOs, also send their personnel and partners for exposure to the SHGs of the Federation of MASK. Bankers and Government officials too have come to MASK for such exposure programmes.