Click on the links given in the list below to know more about the visits and opinions by dignitaries from across the world. Hundreds of other visitors who have visited the WWF include Smt. Janaki Venkataraman, wife of the then President of India, the late Queen Mother of Netherlands, Her Excellency Ms. Juliana, Minister for Social Policy and Human Rights of Venezuela, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands and others.

Welcome Address - Dr. Jaya Arunachalam
Madam Hillary Clinton's speech
Letter from Consulate, Chennai
U.S Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer paid a courtesy visit to the Working Women's Forum
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visits WWF as part of her historic 2011 visit to Chennai
Dr. Jaya Arunachalam meets Mr. Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Asia Meet at Hong Kong
Governor Speech at the function in Working Women's Forum (India) during the rehabilitation of Tsunami victims - 28.06.2005
Jason Brown, Consultant, USAID -5th December, 1979
Sidney Jones, Indonesia, 7th March 1980
SEEDS Marty Chen, Harvard Institute for International Development' USA 1982
Robert Chambers Institute of Development Studies University of Sussex Brighton BNI 9 RE England, 1984
Her Excellency MADAM SCHOO (SD) Ambassador Netherlands
M.S. SWAMINATHAN - International Rice Research Institute. Headquarters: PO Box 933, Manila, Philippines
PAUL TER WEEL. Director General, Rural Development Section Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, 1990
Ms. JOKE MUYLWIJK, First Secretary, Gender and Development Visits Rural Areas of Andhra Pradesh
IFAD President Mr. Lennart Bage visits Working Women's Forum (India)- 1st December 2002
Citibank - WWF (I) Partnership Exhibition-23rd to 26th December 2002
Mr. BHORIA, I.A.S., Central Registrar of Co-operatives VISITS WWF(I) 4th January 2003
Visit of Mr. HERMAN VAN DER LAAN, Director, ILO to Working Women's Forum (India)
The Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Working Women's Forum and Inauguration of the Kamaraj Memorial Auditorium by Shri Digvijay Singh, Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh
Visits of Officials from Citibank to WWF Ms. Marjorie Magner, Chairman and CEO of Global Consumer Group, Citigroup visits Working Women's Forum (India) - 29th October 2003
Mr. & Ms. CHARLES RAYMOND, President, Citigroup Foundation - 30th September 2003
Reserve Bank Officials Visit WWF(I)
Mr. Bob Annibale, Global Director -5th February 2005
Member of Opposition Canadian Parliament, Canada visits WWF - 7th April 2005


Governor Speech at the function in Working Women's Forum (India) during the rehabilitation of Tsunami victims - 28.06.2005
Working Women's Forum is a spontaneous social initiative and was born out of an activist commitment to facilitate up-liftment of women by promoting their social and financial independence to fight poverty.

I am happy to learn that WWF which was started in 1978 with only 800 women members has now turned into a social movement separating and spreading to 3400 villages and 2100 slums in the Southern States of India with more than 7.76 lakhs women as its members. WWF has rendered remarkable service for the cause of women, their health, happiness and gender equality. In addition to income generation, forum has been working on reduction of violence against women and promoting a small family norm. The main contribution has been to integrate the poor women at all levels to fight poverty. The Indian Co-operative Network for Women has more than 5 lakh working women in its shareholders. The network has a distribution of over Rs.1154 million with recovery rate of 98.79%. That is how when I was in Andhra Pradesh I attended a meeting of the self-help groups (SHGs) of women. Many bankers were vibing with each other to give loan. I called for them why are you so keen to give loan to these women with no property or asset but just starting the new life. They said they are very good paymasters to get the recovery rate of 98%. That is the reason why I mentioned it here. The WWF is thus contributing a lot to social and financial independence of women and their families. It has facilitated their establishment of lakhs of micro and small enterprises by arranging credit at low interest rate and thereby generated enormous employment opportunities in income by helping the poor families to cross the poverty line.

The women have always been in the forefront of charity caring and sharing. From various Gods regarding history, we have stories of philanthropy, queens and in the same way kings particularly at the time of famine/disasters. In Kalanaas and Rajtharankani, there is a story of a queen who worked along with her husband among the famine-stricken people and she gave all her possessions including her jewellery to fight the famine. During the 20th century, women have played a very significant role in the development and organization of voluntary welfare work in India. Before independence, women groups also participated in civil disobedience along with Gandhiji. Durgabai Desmukh who was in jailed in 1930 at the age of 21. She made serious studies while in jail and afterward became fully qualified lawyer and took up social work and social welfare as career. She was the India's first member of Planning Commission and the architect of this Central Social Welfare Board. She inspired many social workers in India. Our Jayaji, founder of Working Womens Forum (India) is a great social worker in the same tradition.

Jayaji is a well-known personality in the field of women's empowerment and has received numerous awards from state and central government and from various institutions. She was also awarded the Padmasri award in 1987 by the President of India for her distinguished services. We wish God to give her a strong life, long life, healthy life, good health and strength to continue her excellent work for many more years.

Regarding Dr. Jaya Arunachalam, I will tell you that when I was Agriculture Minister in Government of India 1977, I looked for my committee an important committee of the agriculture department and to nominate one women worker so called the names from all over India of women who are actually working at that time. I received various bio-data's and ultimately I selected Jaya Arunachalam the member of that important committee. She came in my contact in 1977. Since then I found that she has been working very hard all the time for the welfare of women. Wherever she is, in her mind the only thing that rests is the welfare of women. When I was in Andhra Pradesh as Governor she came here also for the same purpose and when I came here I found her again working in the same strain. She has been recently awarded with an international award for which she had to go to America for receiving the award recently. So let us all congratulate her on this reputation. Thank you very much. Nantri. Vannakkam.

'Jason Brown, Consultant, USAID -5th December, 1979':
The key ingredient in my view is leadership, without the right kind of leadership programmes like this cannot exist. There are many potential people like Jaya around, and it is the task of the development practitioner to find them and facilitate their emergence.

'Sidney Jones, Indonesia, 7th March 1980':
Despite the fact that neither Dr. Arunachalam nor other members of the staff have ties to specific political parties any longer, the political potential of WWF is enormous. Any attempt to start such an organisation in Indonesia would have to take this into account, the finding of organisers with the necessary experience is the main question, it occurred to me in the course of this trip that we know nothing about other activities of social welfare agencies there that work with the poor on a regular basis may be it's time we did.

'SEEDS Marty Chen, Harvard Institute for International Development' USA 1982':
The success of the Forum is primarily due to the following four factors:
a) Selection of one critical issue (credit);
b) Utilisation of local leadership;
c) Organisation of women around existing neighbourhood ties
d) Decentralised, participatory management.

With this structure the WWF has not faced any problems in communicating messages or receiving feedback from its members.

'Robert Chambers Institute of Development Studies University of Sussex Brighton BNI 9 RE England, 1984':
"For those who seek to help the oppressed and excluded to help themselves, there are many lessons in the experience of the Working Women's Forum. Four factors in its success are as follows:
a) Putting poor women's priorities first.
b) Working only with the poor.
c) Promoting leadership from below.
d) Exercising clout to get the poor their rights.

For the sake of the tens of millions of oppressed working women in India, and other women in other countries, one may hope that this exhilaration will spread, and that the Working Women's Forum and its example will inspire others to make reversals, to start similar movements, and to help many, many more of the deprived and oppressed in their just struggle for a better life".

'Her Excellency MADAM SCHOO (SD) Ambassador Netherlands':
The Working Women's Forum is one of the most interesting organisation I ever had the possibility to visit. I feel very grateful that after two years of reading and hearing about this Forum. I had the opportunity to discuss the Forum activities with the workingwomen themselves. I admire them, their products and above all their solidarity. I wish all of you all the best and hope to see you more often in the future, during the coming years of WWF's cooperation with the Dutch Government.

'M.S. SWAMINATHAN - International Rice Research Institute. Headquarters: PO Box 933, Manila, Philippines':
"I am extremely happy that your dedicated, selfless and fearless work in the services of the underprivileged, downtrodden and exploited sections of our community has received recognition from the President of India. You have an unusual combination of vision and action and humanism and humility. You serve as a bright affirming flame in the midst of a sea of despair. Please accept my congratulations and best wishes for your continued success and happiness".

'PAUL TER WEEL. Director General, Rural Development Section Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands, 1990':
I have appreciated all your attention very much and I have been impressed and touched by the spirit, courage, dedication and enthusiasm of Forum members and staff. I must say that everywhere, be it in Adiramapattinam, Vellore, Bangalore or in Madras, I felt the same strong commitment to work on improving the conditions for women to be full and equal members of a more human and decent society. Together with you, I feel proud of being able to participate (be it from a distance) in this process. And at the same time I feel ashamed that so many of the people over here in 'the west' are so alienated from the basic issues Forum members and leaders are addressing. Still I feel convinced that we have to continue the communication, the dialogue, never getting tired to try to understand each other, how difficult sometimes that may seem. Central to the Forum in achieving goals for equal rights for women, for equal social, cultural and economic status and a social order based on more female values, is its inner strength based on identity, solidarity and autonomy.

Ms. JOKE MUYLWIJK, First Secretary, Gender and Development Visits Rural Areas of Andhra Pradesh:
Ms. Joke Muylwijk, First Secretary, Gender and Development, Royal Netherlands Embassy along with the President WWF(I), visited Narsapur, Malkipuram, Palakol and Bhimavaram branches of Andhra Pradesh as part of her review mission and had several meetings with the members of the Forum.

'IFAD President Mr. Lennart Bage visits Working Women's Forum (India)- 1st December 2002':
The IFAD President Mr. Lennart Bage visited Working Women's Forum (India) on 1st December 2002. During his half day visit to Working Women's Forum (India) Mr. Lennart Bage inaugurated the new women's training centre at Chennai and interacted with the members, organisers and trainers of Working Women's Forum (India). A mass of 500 people gathered to listen to Mr. Lennart Bage. Dr. Nandini Azad's (Member of WWF's Standing Committee and Director, ICNW) book titled "Coalescing the Unreached for Poverty Reduction - Voices from the Ground", was released by Mr. Bage during the mass meeting. The members shared their experiences of coming up in life after joining the Forum. Mrs. Nagammal, Vice President WWF received the first copy of the book. The President WWF requested the President IFAD to explore possibilities of forging relationship with non-governmental organisation to support innovative initiatives. During his speech Mr. Lennart Bage said that women governmental organisation to support innovative initiatives. During his speech Mr. Lennart Bage said that women are the most vital component of society and he was amazed to see women coming out of their houses and speaking boldly. He said "I believe your empowerment as you are looking at my eyes and you do not put your head down and speak boldly." He wished the Forum all success and said that he would tell the world about the challenges and achievements of the members of Working Women's Forum (India).

'Citibank - WWF (I) Partnership Exhibition-23rd to 26th December 2002':
To perk up the life of silk weavers of Kanchipuram and handloom weavers of Narsapur, WWF (I) in partnership with Citibank organised a buyers / sellers exhibition at the Citibank office headquarters in Bombay from 23rd to 26th of December 2002. Similarly Citibank also organised a buyer/seller meet on the 9th and 10th of January 2003 for the products of silk weavers of Kanchipuram, lace makers of Narsapur and agarbathi makers of Bangalore. The WWF / Citibank partnership worked out successfully. This has enabled even the poor women to participate in the globalisation process.

'Mr. BHORIA, I.A.S., Central Registrar of Co-operatives VISITS WWF(I) 4th January 2003':
The year 2003 started with the visit of Mr. Bhoria, Central Registrar of Cooperatives, who visited the ICNW and acquainted himself with the activities of the organisation. He was impressed and said that this organisation is doing a real job of economic upliftment of the women. Dr. Jaya Arunachalam is really providing a right kind of leadership. He felt that the organisation should further expand and help more and more women in the rural as well as urban areas in the northern part of India. He wished the organisation all success in future.

Visit of Mr. HERMAN VAN DER LAAN, Director, ILO to Working Women's Forum (India):
Mr. Herman Van der Laan, Director, ILO visited Working Women's Forum (India) on 29th April 2003. About 1000 members had gathered to welcome him. The President of Working Women's Forum (India) elucidated the training charts to Mr. Herman. She also explained the role of training and how the training has helped the members improve their life.

One of her concerns was that ILO should direct its attention to the needs of the unorganised sector, particularly the women workers who in the recent times are becoming more and more aware of the rights and privileges. The ILO/WWF project on the economic diversification of women beedi rollers of Vellore and Gudiyattam has been successful. Over 3910 women have participated within the period of August 2001 to October 2002. The partnership project facilitated a large number of beedi workers to find alternative employment. The revolving fund of Rs. 8,00,000 provided by the ILO has been rotated to Rs. 21,86,600 to 3910 members. 14 new alternative skills have been identified in Vellore. Further these new initiatives have been integrated into the regular training programmes.

After the members shared their experiences the Director of ILO Mr. Herman Van der Laan addressed the gathering. He thanked the gathering for the big reception given to him. The 25 years of existence of the WWF is due to impressive programmes implemented by the organisation. The project economic diversification of women beedi rollers of Vellore and Gudiyattam has been successful and I am happy about this.

The ILO concentrates in working for women in the unorganised sector. Mr. Herman Van der Laan also spoke on the responsibility of both men and women in professional as well as family life. Both men and women should realise that they are responsible in looking after their family, particularly, now when more and more women have taken to work and have become aware of their rights. The next issue was on effectiveness of globalisation and economic role. He drew the attention of the President, of the meeting with the Director General ILO, Mr. Juan Somavia to improve the working and the living conditions of the unorganised sector. He thanked the President and the members for the kind reception given to him.

'The Silver Jubilee Celebrations of Working Women's Forum and Inauguration of the Kamaraj Memorial Auditorium by Shri Digvijay Singh, Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh':
The Working Women's Forum (India) celebrated its 25th anniversary i.e., it's Silver Jubilee on 10th of July 2003 and had invited Shri. Digvijay Singh, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh to inaugurate the celebrations. To commemorate the occasion, the new Auditorium built on the top of the Administrative building of the WWF was dedicated to the memory of Shri. Kamaraj. Shri Kamaraj was the first Chief Minister and whose centenary has fallen this year and whose heart has always been with the poor. The other special invitees were Justice S. Mohan, Dr. Anandhavalli Mahadevan, Vice Chancellor, Mother Teresa Women's University and Dr. Nandini Azad, Member Secretary ICPRD. Nearly 4000 members attended the Silver Jubilee celebrations. On this occasion members attended the Silver Jubilee celebrations. On this occasion members and the field staff from the various branches of the Working Women's Forum spoke out their experiences on how their entire lifestyle has changed after joining the Forum. The members / officer bearers who lived and worked through these 25 years garlanded the Hon. Chief Guest. Shri. Digvijay Singh on this occasion. The Chief Minister handed over a plat of 25 lamps to the young women to carry the movement forward. The Chief Guest Shri. Digvijay Singh said that he was happy to inaugurate the Auditorium in memory of Shri. Kamaraj an illustrious son of Tamil Nadu and also a Chief Minister who was pro-poor, pro-dalit committed to the traditions of the Congress party and following the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi. As a Chief Minister Shri. Kamaraj never had a portfolio of his own, unlike the practice that is in existence today where Chief Ministers hold all the important portfolios. He said that like Shri. Kamaraj he has no portfolio. He said that as an activist Dr. Jaya Arunachalam's name has become synonymous with micro credit and women empowerment. For the last 25 years Dr. Jaya Arunachalam has been working amidst poor women and slum dwellers. She has been given many awards like the International Activist Award and we are really proud of her. Our old scriptures and heritage tell us that where there is respect for women in the family it is destined to prosper, and where the women are harassed, the family is bound to ruin. Women have always been more enterprising and are better managers.

'Visits of Officials from Citibank to WWF Ms. Marjorie Magner, Chairman and CEO of Global Consumer Group, Citigroup visits Working Women's Forum (India) - 29th October 2003':
Ms. Marjorie Magner Chairman and CEO of Global Consumer Group, Citigroup, Mr. Sarvesh, Ms. Madhulika Gupta, Ms. Uma, Mr. Sriram and other Citibank officials visited Working Women's Forum on 29th October 2003. The Chairman first inaugurated the Computerised Banking Section of the ICNW. She later issued loans to the new members and visited both the loan issuing and repayment unit. The President, Dr. Jaya Arunachalam, later explained to the visitors the bottom up structure of the organisation. Ms. Magner interacted with the producers group of the WWF who were agarbathi rollers from Bangalore, lace makers from Narsapur, chumki workers from Hyderabad, silk weavers from Kanchipuram and incense stick makers from Vellore. The Vellore members explained the alternate employment programme, which are being given to them by WWF in partnership with the ILO. She also later had a look at the exhibited products, which were produced by the members, and she purchased some of them.

Dr. Arunachalam presented the Chief Guest with the book titled "Structuring the Movement and Spreading it on...". She further said that a German and herself edited the book jointly, and it traces the history and growth of the WWF. Ms. Magner in her speech said that she was very happy to see the women come up well in life and that their children will benefit a lot in future. Citibank has been operating in India and worldwide, and it has many partnership programmes. Apart from actually giving resources we also volunteer to participate in the programmes the Chief Guest added. She also said that the Citibank provides marketing support to its members.

A website is being opened by the Citibank to let the world know about the products which the members of the WWF are producing and also their activities. The Citibank today has introduced a new scheme; this is to make the clients participate in the voluntary work particularly in the community support programme. For each new account opened a small amount of contribution will go to the WWF, the Citibank Officials said. This scheme will greatly help the WWF they added. Mr. Sarvesh, CEO, Citibank Consumer Banking India said that he is really happy to meet the people and he hoped that the next meeting will be in the field so that he could interact with the people well and not in the auditorium.

'Mr. & Ms. CHARLES RAYMOND- 30th September 2003':
President Citigroup Foundation, Ms. Madhulika Gupta and the President, WWF, Dr. Jaya Arunachalam visited Kanchipuram on the 30th September 2003. The President explained to the visitors the functioning of the branch and they later visited the saree and lace exhibition. Mr. Raymond addressed the women weavers and said that he was very happy to be amongst them, who were doing women service.

Later they visited the Chennai branch and acquainted themselves with the banking operations of ICNW. He later addressed a meeting held in the Kamaraj Memorial Auditorium were more than 1000 members had gathered. The Supervisors spoke on the problems that prevailed in various branches namely Vellore, Kanchipuram, Dharmapuri, Adiramapattinam, Narsapur and Bangalore. Ms. Raymond said that she was very happy to see the women come out of their houses and take part in the meeting. She wished them all success.

'Reserve Bank Officials Visit WWF(I)'
It was a day of momentous happiness that the President of the Working Women's Forum Dr. Jaya Arunachalam had been invited by Mr. Vepa Kamesan, Deputy Governor of RBI to Bombay for a discussion on the activities of the Forum and the Indian Co-operative Network for Women Ltd. Consequently a team of officials from the RBI Chennai branch, consisting of Mr. J.G. Gupta, General Manager, Rural Planning and Credit Department, Mr. Raman Kutty, AGM and Mr. Shivdass of the Non-banking finance department visited the WWF on the 18th November 2003 and met the President and also got to know the micro credit activities of the WWF and the ICNW. The President presented an overview of the structure and activities of the organisation. She further highlighted that how the ongoing training process that is an integral part of the micro credit options to poor women. The officials were also taken to Mattan Kuppam market on a field visit to observe the working and living conditions of the clients of the ICNW. Most of them spoke out to the visiting team that the forum's micro-credit options had been an enriching partnership for them. A face-to-face area meeting with the clients was arranged in PM Dargah in South Madras. The members spoke out their traversing a long road from persistent poverty to a two square meals a day prosperity today. The RBI team and in particular Mr. Gupta observed about the Forum in action thus, "We were highly impressed the way training is imparted to the organisers / 'workers' in important issues like social evils, healthcare, etc. who in turn educate the prospective members. An interface with the borrowing members in a cluster in the city and also with the leaders/supervisors showed the latter's commitment to the initiative taken by your organisation. I wish all the success to your organisation in the coming years."

'Mr. Bob Annibale, Global Director -5th February 2005'
Micro-Finance Division, Citigroup, on 5th February 2005 visited the tsunami-hit areas of the Chennai Marina coast at the Foreshore estate. He said it was the President of the Forum who informed them the news of the tsunami disaster. He was happy that his colleagues were able to organise the relief measures quickly. He said he could provide the Forum with whatever help that is required.

'Member of Opposition Canadian Parliament, Canada visits WWF - 7th April 2005':
On 7th April 2005 Mr. Ted Menzies Member of Opposition Canadian Parliament, Canada visited WWF and the tsunami-hit areas. The purpose of his visit was to know more about micro-finance and its beneficiaries, and to tell his government that more resources should go to help MFIs who would in turn assist their poor members. He visited the tsunami-devastated areas of Pattinapakkam in Chennai and interacted with the members. The President said that she and her team have made all efforts in their hands for the victims to get back on their feet and added that rehabilitation work has been started.

Hundreds of visitors visited the WWF including Smt. Janaki Venkataraman, wife of the then President of India, the late Queen Mother of Netherlands, Her Excellency Ms. Juliana, Minister for Social Policy and Human Rights of Venezuela, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands and so on.