The Women’s Initiatives Network began in 1991 as the brainchild of Sister Alice Lukose and Fr. Dominic George.S.J from Kerala – both of whom had been active campaigners in the fishermen’s struggle for their rights in the 1970’s. They brought together a group of committed Catholic nuns who wanted to dedicate their lives to the service of the poor and marginalized in innovative ways. They formed the WIN Society of Jesus – a Secular Institute of dedicated women recognized by the Church under the Ernakulam Archdiocese in Kerala. This group of dedicated women worked with the support of Fr. Dominic George for the empowerment of women and children through innovative social involvement, and interventions aimed at building their capacity to help themselves.
The WIN sisters now work in different parts of India, including Maharashtra – in a tribal development project; in Karnataka – in a Dalit (“untouchable” caste) development project; in Uttar Pradesh; and in Kerala as the WIN Society, for the empowerment of fisherwomen and children
The WIN Society– Kerala chapter is the most extensive of all the development initiatives undertaken under the WIN Society of Jesus, and is now an independently registered charitable trust in Kerala, which also serves as the headquarters of the operations of the WIN Society of Jesus. WIN Society has its main office in Eramalloor in Alleppey district of Kerala.
The WIN Centre is an independently and legally registered body in the District of Alappuzha, and is now the headquarters of the operations of the WIN Society and the WIN Project. It has a sub-centre, again called ‘WIN Centre’, in Chellanam, a coastal village in Ernakulam District. The WIN Project has a well trained Social Animation Team consisting of over 40 field workers who are responsible for the organisation of women into Self Help Groups (SHGs) and for nurturing them quite systematically. This team works very democratically, through a process of weekly meetings, review of activities, evaluation and planning for the future.