Friday, April 6, 2018

Sewa Sandesh 

March 2018

Celebrations of Fyunli Kauthig
International Women’s Day in Uttarakhand

Sewa International celebrated 'Fyunli Kauthig', a celebration of enduring free spirit of Uttarakhand Women, on the occasion of ‘International Women’s day’ on March 8, 2018 at Gaucher grounds in Chamoli. Sewa International celebrates Fyunli Kauthig every year, to pay tribute to the spirit of being a woman, to show acts of courage and determination by ordinary women to set extraordinary examples for their country & communities. This auspicious celebration was simply a reflection on the progressing journey of the people in Devbhoomi.
The chief guest of the program was H’ble Dr. Rajini Sarin, International Coordinator of Indian Medical Association. Being a woman herself, she encouraged the audience and all the women to have faith in themselves, consider themselves equal to man and move ahead in all aspects with no fear. The event was graced with the other distinguished guests including, Shri Mukesh Negi (President of Municipality of Gaucher), Smt Vinita Devi, Shri Prahlad Puspwaan and Shri Nishant Aggarwal (Sewa International).
More than 3000 women from faraway villages, many of them starting as early as 4 am in the morning, ensured their presence before the event at 11 am. Teams of women belonging to various SHGs, Sewa Kaushal programs, PMKK centres; demonstrated their acting/demonstrative skills in the fields of agri-livelihood, tourism, knitting, healthcare, digital literacy and skill development, via informative skits. A competition of tug-of-war added energy to the mix with many teams participating in the event. To showcase the native culture of Uttarakhand, various teams performed beautiful dance and song sequences, which were enjoyed by the audience thoroughly. 
It’s incredible and unbelievable that a woman plays various roles and that too with love and full enthusiasm. To encourage her to showcase her extraordinary strength and help her nurture that power, Sewa International felicitated the local women from Uttarakhand on this Women’s International Day. 
Selected women achievers were honored for adding value to their communities in their respective areas of work - Smt. Nathi Devi (Health Area, Ringi, Tapovan), Smt. Baishakhi Devi (Health, Narayankoti), Smt Darshani Rawat (Health, Phata Guptakashi), Dr.Kavita Bhatt (Literature, Kalimath, Kotma), Ms. Geetika (Poetry/literature, Lambgondi), Smt. Beena Maithani (Education, Gaucher), Smt. Amara  Devi (Folk and Culture,Ukhimath), Smt Poonam Rawat (Mass & Communication,  Bhanaj), Ms. Archana Bahuguna (Social Work, Khumera) and Smt Kavita Rana (Technology, Ukhimath). 
Every Celebration must bring with it, the euphoria of triumph and possibility for a future that is not just visible, but also bright. “Fyunli Kauthig” is the first step towards this and as the day spread the Dusk, “Fyunli Kauthig” bids goodbye to everyone with a promise to meet next year, bigger and better…..

Weaving Dreams

Inauguration and PMKVY Certificate Distribution at Khakchangpara Camp, Tripura

Sewa International has been consistently working towards providing succor to the Bru Refugees Tribes through its initiatives in education and skill development by organizing various training and sustainable programmes to create better opportunities for growth in North Tripura.
Sewa International PMKVY centre at Khakchangpara Camp was formally inaugurated on 18th March 2018, in the august presence of Shri M.K.Singla (MHA(IS) Special Secretary), Shri Animesh DebVarma(DC, Kanchanpur) and dignitaries from Assam Rifles. The event also witnessed the Certificate Distribution to successful candidates of the first batch of PMKVY training in Self-Employed Tailor program, completed at Ashapara Camp. Shri Singla appreciated the efforts of Sewa International for the forgotten communities of Bru Tribes, and expressed his full support for the future endeavors in the region. The feelings were echoed by the dignitaries at the event. The event was very well received and new trainees promised to give their best to complete the training for a promising future.
On 11th March 2018, Sewa International Family Services Bay Area team, arranged the second workshop on ‘Food for Health’ with an objective to spread understanding and awareness about the choice of food and eating habits one develops in daily lifestyle. Ms. Kamini Kelkar, a clinical dietician at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Clara managed the seminar, held at the Village Square Library Hall in Evergreen, San Jose CA.
Starting at 10 am, with a brief introduction to Sewa International and its projects around the welfare and the development of the society, Ms. Kelkar enthusiastically provided education on the mindful eating habits and its direct relevance to the balanced nutrition. She emphasized to support it with regular physical activities to look after a compound balance of healthy mind and body. Ms. Kamini Kelkar explained how ‘Fad Diets’ were dangerous and may promise of weight loss or other health advantages without backing by solid science, and in many cases are characterized by highly restrictive or unusual food choices. Also, different props and visual presentations were used on nutrition pyramids, cooking techniques, portion sizes to help the audience connect with the seriousness of the topic. Continuous two hours session kept the participants engaged and inspired with an effective learning. Sewa International’s efforts and support were appreciated at the end of the session with a humble request for a similar workshop focusing on children’s health.

Envisioning the Future

Greenhouse For Better Farming

Farmers in the remote villages of Kashi, were informed on the benefits of GreenHouse and it was installed by the agricultural team of Sewa International Kashi, to improve the cultivation of vegetables and to get rid of them from harmful effects and viruses. Dr. Nagendra Rai (IIVR, Varanasi) provided instructions on the installation of the net and its usage. The farmers listened with great interest as Dr. Nagendra Rai spoke to them about the benefits of a greenhouse net. A greenhouse is a framed or inflated structure cured with a transparent or translucent material in which vegetables or flower crops can be grown under controlled climatic conditions of at least a partially controlled environment. Greenhouse technology provides a controlled and favourable environment for crops to grow in all seasons. The technology saves crops from cold in winter, from heat in summer and from the rainsin the monsoon. Initiatives like these by SI, keeps the farmers informed with up to the date of the latest techniques, technologies, and in return help them with information to make agriculture sustainable.

Kisan Sangoshthi

Sewa International Kashi organized Kisan Sangoshthi, meeting of farmers with Senior Agri-scientists, aimed at spreading awareness about agricultural insights, organic farming, and latest technology. The meeting focused on extremely important topics such as vegetable farming and information on improving produce variety, weed control, nutrient and water management, pest and disease management, post-harvest management, processing and seed production. The farmers were also educated on the importance of self-health care for a good health and the other primary factors associated and related to it.

Enabling Sanitation: Transforming Lives

Sewa International is dedicated towards Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. Every year SI analyzes the cleanliness and toilet conditions of the states in dire need of the movement. It is for the support to poor people for affordable, safe and sustainable access to water and sanitation. The big cities of Uttar Pradesh like Varanasi, Kanpur, and Agra are notorious for lack of sanitation.
During the visit to Sewalasarai, a slum area in Agra was found with a large population with no toilets in the area. A mobile toilet with six toilet units having a capacity of 3000 liters of water was identified in terrible condition and couldn’t be used in any way. SI took an initiative to educate the people here on the importance of sanitation before it provides any toilets to use. Among a population of 2000, 900 kids were seen in market areas for wages instead of schools. Also, for the next five months, Sewa employee, Smt. Monica will be visiting this slum for several hygiene awareness programs and get the children admitted to the local government schools. The task will require considerable effort to bring changes and awareness in the slum.
Moving to Lucknow, as per the analysis, approximately 50% of schools had toilets but in a dysfunctional state. 23 toilets were installed in schools and the students have taken the responsibility for its cleaning after use. The efforts are appreciated by the teachers and SI will be now working on the repairing and maintenance of the existing toilets to make them functional for everyone’s use with local support for maintenance.
The continuous efforts to the movement in Chunar located in Mirzapur District are progressing with the construction of 6 toilets around the Chunar fort and 29 toilets will be constructed in Chunar for the benefit of over 500 families. SI will also be providing 15 toilets in Jaunpur, UP to help the sanitation situation there.

Road to Progress – Straight from Japan 

Sewa International Uttarakhand welcomed Shri Takumi Kunitake from Japan International Cooperation Agency(JICA) on March 17, 2018, who was on a personal visit to experience first-hand socio-economic conditions of rural Uttarakhand. Between 17-20 March, he stayed in the homstays in Rudraprayag district and conducted field visits for interactions with farmers and local villagers’ to educate himself first-hand, on the current socio-economic conditions through the very people living in real situations. In his own words, "This trip provided me of opportunities to listen to people without any restriction, observe and participate people's lives, and eat authentic Indian food. This experience helps me a lot for my professional works, and I will do my best to improve the quality of projects/programmes I am responsible for based on the experience I acquired in Uttarakhand." Sewa International would like to thank Shri Takumi for his kind words of appreciation and look forward for a greater association in the near future.

Sewa Sandesh
(Jan - Feb 2018)

Inauguration of PMKK Centre at Chamba, Uttarakhand

A skilled workforce is the key for tackling the huge challenge of ensuring employment for youths and create a New India. Taking a major step in that direction, Sewa International in consortium with F-TEC, inaugurated its 6th PMKK Centre in Uttarakhand, at Chamba (Tehri) on Feb 18 2018.
Chief Guest, Shri Dhan Singh Negi (MLA, Tehri), Smt. Anandi Negi(Block Head,Tehri), Principals from nearby schools/colleges and many other dignitaries graced the occasion. SIB also organized Kaushal Mela, where hundreds of trainees registered for the courses running at the new centre.
Chief Guest Shri Dhan Singh Negi inaugurated the centre by cutting the ribbon, and then proceeded to visit the whole centre with other guests. All the guests were very pleased to see state-of-the-art IT/Lab equipments for the relevant job roles at the centre viz. Domestic Data Entry Operator, Front Office Associate, Self Employed Tailor, Home Health Aide & Mobile Phone Hardware Repair Technician, which have a huge potential to provide jobs for the youths of the region.
Shri Abhishek Mishra, Programme Manager (Sewa International, Uttarakhand) delivered the welcome speech for the guests and introduced the PMKK scheme and its various benefits to the audience. Various cultural events were presented in the form of song and dance performances by the trainees, which were very much appreciated by all.
Shri Dhan Singh Negi in his address exhorted the local youths to take full advantage of the centre by enrolling in the various skill programs for having a bright future. He also encouraged the parents and elders to encourage the youths at their homes to be proactive and get skilled. He appreciated the efforts put by Sewa International to ensure that a world-class centre is setup in such a remote location and assured all help in the future.

Free Medical Camp for Bru Refugees in Tripura

Sewa International organized Free Medical Camp at Shadakratan Mani Seva Sadan, Anand Bazar, Tripura for the benefit of the displaced bru tribals of nearby Ashapara and Hazacherra settlements, from 16th-19th Jan 2018. This camp coincided with the health awareness training and helped understand the problems of the local bru population in order to serve them better.
Around 200 patients received free medical care and medicines during the camp with the health awareness trainees also participating and learning from the process.
Dr. Viren Naik, who was the main force driving the events at the camp was ably supported by Dr. Arpan Chakma and few other doctors from local Govt Hospital in conducting the Medical Camp.The camp was very well received and appreciated by all in the community.
The inputs from the medical camp and health awareness training are being used to devise the program for spreading the health awareness and focus on preventive healthcare in all 6 camps in North Tripura covering some 30,000+ displaced bru tribals. 

Livelihood through Turmeric Processing in Pokhari, Uttarakhand

One of the main objectives of Sewa International's initiatives in Uttarakhand is to generate sustainable livelihoods for our hard-working SHG members. Towards, that goal our SHG group in Veena village of Pokhari Cluster in Chamoli district, have started processing raw turmeric to make products like turmeric powder, paste and other value-added products. Sewa International is providing the relevant training to the SHG members so that they can earn by growing native crops in a sustainable way. Our women SHG members were all too excited to be part of this project and we were all too happy to facilitate the process. 

School Kits Distribution in Chunar, UP.

School Kits consisting of a bag, copies, pencil box etc, were distributed to 40 underprivileged kids attending Sewa Learning Centre in Chunar (UP), run by Sewa International on Feb 12, 2018. Sewa Learning Centres in UP help provide remedial education to the underprivileged kids, who get very low quality education at their overcrowded and under-staffed govt schools, leading many of them dropping out early or becoming disinterested in education altogether.Through these 6 learning centres, Sewa aims to improve the learning outcomes for the kids and inculcate moral/ethical values in them.
The kids were overjoyed to receive the School Kits which was a great surprise for them. All of them pledged to learn with all their ability to become a proud citizen of India.

Awareness Program for upcoming Mobile Health Van services in Uttarakhand

Sewa International started its Mobile Health Van mass awareness through street play(nukkad natak) followed by Community Health Camp at Khet Gadera in Gairsen block of Chamoli.
In Feb 2018, Sewa conducted 18 such camps out of total 24 venues, selected for Mobile Health services, spreading awareness about its Mobile Health services and giving them a glimpse of same.
The medical camps were held for optometry, dental and general medical checkup through a team of an optometrist, dentist and an MBBS doctor. Alongside, Sewa also distributed medicines as advised/prescribed for free. 
The efforts of Swasthya Sahyogi Team along with volunteers from PMKK General Duty Assistant batches (from PMKK Padli centre) ensured that Awareness programmes reached to all in the targeted regions and very well received by the local communities.

New Multi-purpose Training Centres in Tripura

2 new Multi-purpose Training Centres for displaced Bru community in Kaskaupara and Khakchangpara camps were opened in Jan and Feb 2018 respectively. These centres are conducting PMKVY course in tailoring which help them address the captive demand for clothing and provide livelihood options. Later, these centres would be used as Production Centres for making clothes and classrooms for providing education/tuition to kids near the camps.
Given, the lack of opportunities in this region, these centres are fulfilling a critical need to empower the community and connecting them to the outside world.

School Kits Distribution in North Bengal & Sikkim

800+ school bags with pencil box and geometry box along with 5000 notebooks, sponsored by Sewa International, were distributed in different parts of North Bengal and  Sikkim to underprivileged school-going kids in the following regions.
  1. Sikkim                                  
  2. Darjeeling                             
  3. Kalimpong                           
  4. Kurseong                              
  5. Patharghata (Siliguri)          
  6. Garopara (Siliguri)               
  7. Baribhasa (Siliguri)            
  8. Naxalbari                         
  9. Rajganj  (Jalpaiguri)         
  10. Sisabari (Jalpaiguri)       
  11. Diesel Colony (Siliguri)   
  12. Santosi Nagar (Siliguri)  
  13. Paresh Nagar (Siliguri)      
  14. Khoribari (Naxalbari)       
These kits were distributed in time with the new session starting in Jan 2018. The kids were really happy about the surprise New Year's gift.
Sewa International participated in the Dilli Haat exhibition from Jan 1-15 2018, promoting embroidery/bandhini work of our Kutch artisans and brocade work of Kashi weavers. Beautiful bags, stoles and dupattas were on display which were appreciated by everyone.