SEWA INTERNATIONAL LAUNCHES FARMER PRODUCER ORGANIZATIONS (FPOs) IN UTTARAKHAND
Sewa International has commenced 2 Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) for optimizing the livelihood generation through agriculture under Sewa Krishi. The inaugurated FPOs are “Sewa Jakah Raja Utpadak Sangh” at Narayankoti cluster, with 10 directors and 231 members; another one is “Sewa Maa Nandadevi Utpadak Sangh”, with 363 members from 32 SHGs of 13 villages. The collectivization of producers, especially small and marginal farmers, into producer organizations has emerged as one of the most effective pathways to address the many challenges of agriculture but most importantly, improved access to investments, technology and inputs, and markets. FPOs emerged as the most appropriate institutional form around which to mobilize farmers and build their capacity to collectively leverage their production and marketing strength. Sewa International under its Sewa Krishi program will provide the required assistance and resources – e.g. inputs, technical knowledge, financial resources, and infrastructure – to strengthen these FPOs. SewaInternational will not only remove hurdles in enabling farmers’ access the markets through their FPOs, both as buyers and sellers; but also create an enabling environment for FPOs to leverage their collective production and marketing power. Sewa International aims to build a prosperous and sustainable agriculture in Uttarakhand by promoting and supporting member-owned producer organizations that enable farmers, especially women farmers to enhance productivity through efficient, cost-effective and sustainable resource use and realize higher returns for their produce, through collective action supported by the Sewa Krishi team in the target area. Sewa International aims to make these Utpadak Sangh, economically viable, democratic, and self-governing Farmer Producer Organisations.
SOIL HEALTH AND ONION PRODUCTION AWARENESS CAMP ORGANIZED IN VARANASI
Sewa International Kashi Team organized a Soil health and Onion production Awareness Camp at Gangpur Village Narayanpur Mirzapur Chunnar Varanasi. The main objective of this program was to provide information on awareness of onion farming and soil health. The soil is a living and life-giving natural resource. As world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance. By farming using soil health principles and systems that include no-till, cover cropping, and diverse rotations, more and more farmers would be able to increase their soil’s organic matter and improving microbial activity. As a result, farmers would be able to sequester more carbon, increasing water infiltration, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields. The resources on this soil health section of the camp were designed to help visitors understand the basics and benefits of soil health—and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from experts who came to give the presentation in the camp. They made the farmers aware of various techniques like crop rotation, soil preparation, Harvesting and Drying and storage of the onions.
SCHOOL KIT DISTRIBUTION BY SEWAVARANASI
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Keeping this in mind, Sewa International, under its project 'READ INDIA, READ KASHI,' organized the free distribution of School kits for underprivileged children on 11 December2017 in Ramnagar, Varanasi. The happy recipients were the 300 needy kids who are learning at our 6 Sewa Learning Centers in villages/slums near Ramnagar. We prepared the kits keeping in mind the requirements of the students in the centers. One school kit contained- 1 School bag, 6 Notebooks, Pencil box with Wax colors, Pencils, Scale, Sharpener, Eraser etc. Our accomplishment was the smile on the faces of the children who were overjoyed to see the New Year gift for them. Sewa International is looking to scale up this initiative in the Varanasi area. The local youth and children have started liking the initiative and activities. The curriculum and basic home-work of the kids are also very popular. This drive brought the spirit of giving to the fore.
STEADY PROGRESS OF THE HOSTEL CONSTRUCTION AT NUWAKOT, NEPAL
The teams on the ground in Nepal provided the progress report on the hostel construction site of Nuwakot, Nepal. The hostel is built for the orphan children of the area, who suffered the personal loss during the 2015 earthquake. A good amount of earth has been moved, as it is a hilly region; foundational pillars are rising and the structure has begun to take shape. The Sewa Nepal team working on the site told that ''We have completed the mass excavation, and with the foundation built, we are building the columns now. '' Due to the politically volatile environment the project was delayed for a while, it snow picked up the pace. To upkeep the delay requires more equipment and manpower to be able to complete it in the same time frame, the team said. ''So we're pushing hard right now in every way we can to get as much done, but typically the requirement for manpower at the end of the project increases pretty dramatically because things like painting, floor finishes, millwork and that kind of stuff and it just takes more people to do it,'' he said. The hostel will also include an amply sized mess area. The project supported by Sewa UK in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that hit the region in 2015.
SEWA VOLUNTEERS JOINED RESCUE OPERATION DURING OCKHI CYCLONE
The Sewa volunteers joined the government in rescue operations in the aftermath of the Ockhi cyclone. Severe cyclonic storm Ockhi struck several parts of South India killing many people and destroying properties. Originating near Sri Lanka on Nov 29, the storm increased its intensity by Dec 1. Many parts of coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka were hit. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) described Ockhi as a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’, the third strongest category of cyclonic storms. Ockhi had wind speeds between 155 and 165 km per hour and cyclones with wind speeds between 165 and 220 km per hour are classified as ‘extremely severe cyclonic storm’. Sewa volunteers were involved in relief and rescue operations during Ockhi cyclone that hit the southern parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The volunteers began their rescue work on Nov. 30 much before the storm turned severe. They toiled day and night at Kanyakumari which was most hit, to rescue stranded civilians. Kanyakumari witnessed torrential wind and rain unleashed by Cyclone Ockhi after 25 years ravaging the southern-most tip of Bharat. According to sources, around 10 lakh banana trees, one lakh trees, were uprooted and the roads were blocked. Communication lines were disrupted. Sewa volunteers immediately acted upon the situation. With the aim of clearing the approach routes as the first step, the volunteers formed around 100 teams and spread out to different areas. These teams cleared the uprooted trees and other obstruction on the roads with the aid of government machinery. This planned act ensured smooth flow of traffic.
Several areas were flooded after the relentless rains. The areas in and around Suchindram was the most affected. Around 4200 houses in 21 villages were surrounded by flood waters. Immediately, upon the receipt of the distress call, volunteers in teams arrived at the location and rescued thousands of people. Sewavolunteers toiled day and night and ensured the people are relocated to safer places.
The relief material which was provided included- 1,050 plastic mats, candles, food packets, water, biscuits, milk, candle, matchboxes and mosquito mats to cyclone-affected districts. The large consignment contains these relief materials were dispatched to the affected areas. The timely and critical efforts of Sewa volunteers during Ockhi cyclone were lauded by those distressed and the government authorities too.
INSTALLATION OF TOILETS IN A RURAL AREA OF VARANASI
Sewa International Kashi is making their contribution towards the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan by installing the toilet and carrying out sanitation drives in the target area under “Swachh-Shikshit Kushal Kashi”. It is a small initiative taken by Sewainternational to make Ramnagar, Varanasi clean and also organizes the health and hygiene campaign. The aim is to provide facilities to local villagers such as drainage system, awareness, and equipment for proper disposal of solid and liquid wastes and environmental sanitation. Under the program, Sewa International Kashi has installed 20 toilets in Ramnagar, Varanasi. These toilets are donated by SewaInternational USA. Sewa International conducted surveys throughout the targeted villages and identified the families, which have no access to sanitation especially the Muslim community.
The program focuses on providing functional toilets to underprivileged Muslim families in the village who are unable to construct toilets in their homes due to the lack of funds. The main goal is to bring about the behavioral change in the people and emphasizing the importance of hygiene and sanitation along with their basic need. Sewa International Kashi team is also creating awareness for basic hygiene and sanitation. The people of the village were jubilant on the construction of toilets in their home especially the Muslim women and girls were very thankful.They don't have to face the shame of open defecation, now.
SEWA INTERNATIONAL INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN NATIONAL EXHIBITION
Sewa International is participating in “Lok Gatha Utsav” at IGNCA in collaboration with the Deendayal Research Institute (DRI), New Delhi. It is a festival of the cultural heritage of India; 'Lok Gatha Utsav' is being organized on the Birth Centenary of Rashtrarishi Nana Ji Deshmukh at Mati Ghar Lawns, C. V. Mess, Janpath, New Delhi from 28 Nov to 3 Dec 2017.
The focus of the festival is on oral epics, ballads, and legends in performance, arts & crafts traditions of folk and tribal communities of India. Around 500 traditional folk artists from all over the country are invited to present the rich traditional and cultural heritage of India built around their narrative and traditions. This festival will also showcase a rich variety of traditional crafts and textiles of India. Sewa International is showcasing its products from “Sewa Kashi” and “Sewa Kutch” projects viz. Silk handloom dupattas, handloom silk stoles, sling bags from Kutch, Mobile pouches, Tote bags etc. There are special arts and crafts workshops for school children to learn from the Artisans. The inaugural performance was given by the internationally acclaimed 'Manganiyar Recital' from Rajasthan, choreographed by the famous art director and composer Roysten Abel.
SEWA UTTARAKHAND UPDATES
During the festive season, a round of fairs is organized by the union and state government. It’s a good opportunity for the Artisans, Co-operatives, Farmers, SHGs, and Handicraftsmen to showcase and sell their products. Sewa International participates in these exhibitions and fairs bolstering the farm and non- farm initiatives of the project. In November, Sewa Uttarakhand participated in “Gauchar Mela” and “Augustyamuni Mela” in Rudraprayag and Chamoli districts from 14 Nov 2017 onwards. Sewa team put up the stall of non-farm products made under its Programs- Sewa Mahila Jyoti and Sewa Srujan. These products were prepared and packaged by the women associated with its Knitting centers and SHGs initiatives in Uttarakhand. The Member of Legislative Assembly of the Kedarnath constituency and District Magistrate of Rudraprayag visited SIB's stall and inquired about the projects running in the region. They appreciated the Sewa International Bharat's efforts towards women empowerment through skill-based training and market linkages. He encouraged the workers of Sewa International to continue the good work.
In November under the program “Swasthya Sahayogi Sewa”, Sewa Uttarakhand formed a Community Health Committee, for the establishment of broad approaches to health improvement that involves a wide range of activities and individuals. The aim is that each village and community participating in a health programme should establish a committee at the local level. The committee will coordinate and support the different activities and provide leadership for the community and will serve as the linkage with local and state level staff, involved in various programs and schemes run by the government. Community Health Committee is therefore crucial for broadening the approach and promoting the health at the village level.
INAUGURATION OF HOSPITAL AT WAYANAD DISTRICT IN KERALA
Sewa International health initiative Sri Vivekananda Medical Mission (SVMM), Kerala inaugurated a hospital in Wayanad on 4 Nov 2017. The inauguration was done by Hon. Minister of State for Finance and Shipping Mr. Pon Radhakrishnan. This hospital will cater to the needs of tribal people living in the Wayanad district. This venture has been initiated, based on the necessity to avoid the traveling to big cities for first-class health and medical care and in the process saving the hard earned income of the already impoverished sections of the society and tribal communities. The project would prove to be a stepping stone to an ongoing mission of providing the first-class health care to the needy at the affordable rate. It will not only cater to the healthcare needs of the region but also generate jobs for the youth living in the area. The H’ble Minister in his address emphasized the need to improve the well-being of the people of Kerala by ensuring access to quality healthcare services and lauded the efforts of Sewa International Bharat for the region.
RELIEF OPERATIONS FOR THE FLOOD AFFECTED CITIZENS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Heavy rain that started in October 2017 caused major floods in parts of Trinidad and Tobago, leaving numerous submerged homes, roads and farms and thousands of marooned citizens. The extended moderate to heavy showers, additional flooding, and landslides across the country over the next weeks, caused heavy damage in the country. Sewa Trinidad and Tobago carried out drive to assist people affected by flooding. During the drive, the volunteers of Sewa worked on the ground doing relief and rescue, in tandem with councilors, disaster management units, and regional corporations. They provided relief in the affected areas and helped in preparations by assessing the needs specific to each area. Mr. Revan Teelucksingh of Sewa Trinidad and Tobago said,”There were more than 2,000 food packets, which were distributed in the flooded areas.” He also said that during the flood and relief operations all the citizens displayed a great sense of solidarity and generosity, which reflected the benevolent nature of human spirit.
DEV DIWALI CELEBRATION AND CLEANLINESS DRIVE IN VARANASI
Sewa International celebrated “Dev Diwali”, on 4 Nov 2017, at Balua ghat in Ramnagar, Varanasi. It was celebrated as a part of larger “Ramnagar Dev Dipawali Mahotsav”. Sewa International expressing the solidarity with beleaguered weaver community conducted this cultural event. Dev Diwali is observed after fourteen days of Diwali, it marks a tribute to river Ganga. In the honor of goddess Ganga, locals paint their homes in vivid paintings and light earthen lamps. The cultural event supported underlying themes of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Namami Gange and Education for all. The holistic development initiative, "Swacch, Kushal, Shikshit Kashi", of Sewa International in Varanasi led by Dr. Govind Singh urged for the more support from the community. The local artists performed in the event and enthralled the audience. More than 2000 earthen lamps were lit on the ghat, at the end of the event.
The chief guest of the program was H’ble Swami Jitendranand Saraswati, National General Secretary of Ganga Mahasabha. He was welcomed by Mr. Kailash Agarwal, RSS Pracharak. Swami ji in his address emphasized the importance of cleanliness in our daily life. He reaffirmed the goals of ‘Namami Gange’, exhorted to maintain the natural flow of river Ganga, and restriction on the commercial activities hampering the flow on the bank of Ganga.
On Sunday Nov 5, 2017, 50 members of Sewa International and people from Ramnagar cleaned banks of Ganga. The team cleaned the debris and waste from the program and thousands of earthen lamps that were lighted during the program. The main objective of this program is to make people responsible towards the cleanliness. This unique initiative of cleaning up after the event has been lauded by the local residents a lot and they participated in the cleanliness drive with fervour.
SEWA UK TEAM MEMBERS VISIT THE GADAG SCHOOL PROJECT IN KARNATAKA
Arunodaya school, Gadag, Karnataka hosted the guests from England this month, Sewa International UK Team members Mr. Natwar Lal and Mr. Waljibhai Wadia on 04 Nov 2017. They were accompanied by the office bearers of Seva Bharathi Trust. They visited the school and observed the activities of the children. They also interacted with parents and teachers and gave valuable suggestions for future improvements. They expressed their happiness and satisfaction about the ongoing construction work. Arunodaya school is a unique school for children with special needs, viz. underdeveloped brain, Cerebral Palsy, Autism and multiple disabilities. Presently, the institute provides care to 48 such students, and about 150 parents having such special children avail the counseling services and specific guidance for taking better care of their kids. The coaching and care are provided by the professional teachers and the Trained staff. The counseling of the parents is provided by the doctors who have specialized in this area. Sewa International Bharat along with Sewa UK is helping in the construction of a school building with state of the art facilities. The upcoming facility will provide all kinds of services under one roof such as:
Imparting practical education to make the special children self-reliant
Physiotherapy centre with modern equipments
Visual input room to increase their responding capacity
Regular counselling facilities to the parents by experts, doctors
The school which was earlier catering to the people around the Gadag town has now extended its services to the whole district.
A DAY IN SUN WITH HEBRON HOMELESS CENTER
The housing crisis has added to the homelessness situation in USA. More than 4 percent of adolescents and 10 percent of young adults nationwide were living on the street, in cars or shelters, or couch-surfing at some point in the last year, according to a sweeping study by the University of Chicago released in November 2017. We live in a strange world where we expect that a young person who suffered in their childhood has to get everything together when they're 17 before they get housing. No young person should ever be left to fend for themselves that way. But especially young people that have suffered. Once they do exit the environment that they have been residing in, isolation kicks in and they tend to gravitate towards people and choices that are maybe not the best for them. It is better to intervene when there is a homeless situation with kids, with support they could be steered towards a better tomorrow. With this view, Sewa USA team had an engaging, fun and learn session with the kids at Hebron Homeless shelter. Volunteers played games with the kids inside and outside the house. They made craft together as well. Kids were very excited and were asking about the next session. Objective of the session was to make the kids happy. Happy kids means happy and stress free parents! It's our way of reminding these kids … it doesn't matter where you are, where you go, that you still belong!