Our Program

The WEP Academy

The WEP Academy is a lively, safe place within the NGO partner.  After the college day, young women, who receive scholarships to area colleges and vocational institutes, come to the Academy to meet friends, study and participate in the Academy’s rigorous curriculum of courses, workshops, field trips, guest speaker internships, training programs, and activities. There are four main components: 

The SISTERHOOD, the foundation of the Academy, is a lively community of inspiring peers, role models, and mentors. MY LEADERSHIP – A certificate offering a series of courses in leadership, life skills, health, nutrition, gender issues, personal finance, civic rights and community activity. MY ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE, a field trips and course based certificate to explore opportunities and gain skills. MY NEXT STEPS, a certificate offering entrance to vocational, higher education, training, internships and other programs. 

Through this vision-expanding curriculum exploring life’s opportunities and ideas, Scholars find their voice, discover entrepreneurial and formal sector career ambitions, expand their understandings and ignite their inner spark.  They become confident, informed leaders in their homes, communities and workplaces. Typically, Scholars attend the Academy or two to three years. Their with WEP is life-long as well as life-changing.


WEP I am a Leader Activity

Field Trips

I Am a Leader Activities

Field Trips

I Am a Leader

Field Trips

WEP Center Activities

Home visit

WEP Center Activities

Courses and Workshops

WEP Center Activities

Peer Study

“My favorite part of I am a leader is the life skills workshops to help our students make informed decisions, communicate effectively and [become self-reliant]. Students have a huge potential. I Am a Leader also imparts soft skills relating to emotional and social intelligence to cope in a competitive world.”

A. Vijayalakshmi, Sudar Center Director

“I Am A Leader journals teach life skills, taught neither at college nor home. These journals fill the important gaps in their understanding of the world around them.  The self confidence, skills, and self-worth they develop at WEP – one cannot put a price tag on it.”

Esther Subhashini, Hyderabad Center Director

“In our first year in Madurai, we noticed girls crying to friends about their mother’s illness, a loan shark’s visit, or their own marriage pressure. We began I Am a Leader for young women to understand and gain their voice by visiting their community, meeting women leaders, volunteering and discovering career options.”

Zoë Timms, Founding Director

Our Students & Alumnae

WEP Students

WEP students are young women, ages 16-24, from semi-urban and urban communities, 10th standard graduates, whose parents are mostly illiterate or semi-literate, daily-wage workers in critical need of financial, academic and social support. Due to poverty’s overwhelming pressures, they lack confidence, study skills, and the ability to express themselves. They are unaware of their potential – and their opportunities – and are at great risk of entering early marriages, low-wage employment and subject to violence in their homes. In spite of these, they have the ambition and grit to explore becoming economically independent leaders.

Our Students

Hi I am Vasantha, I am 24 and live in a remote village. I dropped out of my 2nd year of intermediate because of pressure from my family. My parents are older, my older sisters were married off at a young age. My brother is handicapped and can’t work. I had to work to support the family. I insisted that I go back to college and I succeeded. I worked at an Institute for the deaf and did a 2yr diploma in Hyderabad. I now have a job as a teacher. I travel 3 hours to school and teach 1st class to the 7th classes and am paid 6000/- Rs. Much of my salary goes to bus fare but I can’t afford hostel fees. I want to study sign language and a P.G in Political Science. I have still withstood the pressure to get married.

Esther Subhashini, the Director of the Ushassu WEP Center Ushassu, wrote:” This girl is the spirit of Ushassu.”

My name is Lalitha. I have completed the Basic Computer class at WEP Sudar and am studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce (Business), at a Madurai college. I hope to be an accountant. I appreciate the exposure to new things that WEP has allowed me. I have visited the court house and the YMCA deaf school, both of which I would not have been able to do without WEP.

I am close with my family. My mother works as a helper and my father is a security guard at a hospital. I know that women’s education is vital to get a good position in society.

MeetT. Patham Priya
My name is T. Patham Priya, I’m an engineering student, currently studying Electronics and Communications Engineering at the Sethu Institute of Technology. I have 1 more year until graduation! Through English classes at WEP’s Sudar programs, I now feel comfortable about finding a job after graduation, as I must work right away – my father deceased, and my mother makes very little. I want to work to support my younger brother’s education, and help my family leave the “poor state”. Sudar is a place where I can vent about these problems. There are people to talk to, and friends I can share everything with. My favorite workshop at WEP is the “Life Skills” workshop, as it allows us to find solutions to real world problems.

Alumnae Association

WEP Alumnae Association

WEP Alumnae visit the Madurai Center

Like all underprivileged young women in India, the background and life of a WEP student is hard. And the reality is that, even after moving up and obtaining relatively well-paid employment, her hold on happiness and security may, for a variety of reasons – frequently domestic – be precarious. At the same time, WEP alumnae are deeply inspiring and a rich source of knowledge and advice. Their return visits to the WEP Centers are, for both students and staff, informative and highly motivating.  For these reasons, the doors to Alumnae are always open.

Our Alumnae

My name is Mahalakshmi and I completed by final year B.A.English and B. Ed at a college in Madurai. My father drives an auto driver and does not take care of our family. My mother is illiterate, and despite this, and not even knowing how to count money, started a small snack shop at a bus stand. After college hours, I helped my mother in her business. Now I teach the 6th standard at a school in Madurai.
I successfully completed my BDS Degree with lots of struggle and support from helping hands. Now I am practicing in a private clinic at Koodal Nagar. I like one beautiful proverb is that “A friend in deed is a friend in need” likewise Sudar has given me lots of support when I was in need. Sudar equip me in a very well manner especially reading habit & communication skills. I always proud to being a part of the WEP-Sudar family. I would like to convey my gratitude to every legends of Sudar Foundation for doing such a great job.
My name is Tamilarasi. I just graduated with my BA degree from Madurai Kamaraj College. The workshops are extremely helpful. I loved the one conducted by Aravind Eye Hospital. I now have a clear idea about job opportunities for my perspective future at a hospital. I work part time in a medical shop, while I apply for jobs. My dream for the future is to eventually get my BL, a law degree. I also love leading the workshops at Sudar- which has helped me improve my leadership skills. I enjoy the uplifting atmosphere of Sudar, the fun drama workshops, and games that we play together.

Our Partners

WEP partners with established and well-run girl focused NGOs to provide the I Am a Leader Academy, a cost-effective, efficient, curriculum easily adapted to local circumstance to meet the needs of diverse partners and the girls and women served.


WEP Center Directors at the 2018 Partnership meeting

If you are interested in becoming a partner, please contact us.

Contact Us

Current Partners

THE WEP CENTER ATSudar Foundation
Directed by A. Vijayalakshmi
“Light” in Tamil
Madurai, Tamil Nadu, South India
Founded in 2002
Directed by Esther Subhashini
“Morning Light” in Telugu
A partnership with Cerena Foundation, in Hyderabad, Telangana
Began in 2007
Directed by P.V. Sandhya
A home for girls
Kadapa, Andhra Prades
Began in 2012
edweb beyond borders forum

edWeb.net is a WEP sponsor and award-winning professional learning network that serves the global education community. edWeb provides free edWebinars and an online forum to support women’s leadership. Below is a list of past edWeb Women’s Leadership and Education sessions.