Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sewa Sandesh 116: February 8, 2009

From Editor’s Desk
Health services in rural Bharat are a real challenge for the country. Though in a statement issued by the Ministry of Health, Govt. of India states that before 2020 “Health for All” will be a reality, action does not support such kind of an achievement. Trained medical personnel are seeking the urban destination and schemes like mandatory rural engagement for every doctor did not motivate anyone.
Village Arogya Rakshak is a scheme through which we are trying to reach out to the tribal and rural population. Educated youth drawn from the local area are trained in the First Aid and primary health care and are provided with a kit of medicine that he or she uses. The patients are referred to Doctors in the nearer towns or cities when ever need arises and the Arogya Rakshak plays the role of facilitator in that case. The experiment in many distant villages is quite encouraging for us to launch a scheme of village Arogya Rakshak. We appeal for benevolent support to this scheme from all our readers.
Village Health Workers' (Arogya Rakshaks) Training Programme Concludes in Meghalaya
Seva Bharati Meghalaya has been organizing the activity of Village Health Workers’ since the last ten years. It conducts the training programme for selected boys and girls from different villages. The organization trains them in Primary health care and about common diseases and give them a medicine kit for free distribution of medicines to the needy patients. Its 256 health care workers are engaged in 159 villages in Khasi, Jaintia and Garo Hills. About 40,000 patients have been benefited so far by this programme.
The two-day training was inaugurated by Shri Thabah, President of Seng Khasi organization. Shri D. Lyngdoh, President of Seng Khasi Nongthilew was also present on the occasion. The training concluded at Sohiong village in West khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.
52 youths from 32 villages of West Khasi Hills District participated in this training programme.
Dr. Pdeh delivered his lecture about common diseases, their symptoms and precautions. Dr. K. Sari explained about digestive system and diseases related to it.Shri E.W. Warjri guided the trainees about the medicines and medicine kits. Smt. T. Kharkylliang explained them about anatomy and physiology.
Seva Bharati has provided medicine kits to them which contain medicines for common diseases. These health workers' will work voluntarily in their respective villages. Villagers of remote areas will be benefited through this project.
Seva Bharati had arranged night halts of the trainees' in different families of Sohiong village. This interaction among the people created the environment of love and harmony among villagers and health workers.
Sewa International USA Provides Helping Hand to Bhutanese Refugees

The population in Bhutan mainly consists of two communities: the Drukpas and the Lhotshampas. In 1985, conflict between these two communities resulted in a mass exodus of Lhotshampas to Nepal. Starting from then until 1994, more than 110,000 Lhotshampas took refuge in seven UN-administered camps in Nepal living in very poor conditions.
The United States eventually volunteered to resettle 60,000 of these refugees, with the remainder destined to go to other developed nations.. In 2008, they began arriving in the United States in what the UN has described as one of the world's largest resettlement efforts ever. These refugees are given only a few months of support from the government and the resettlement agencies. After that, they are required to become self-sufficient. The most pressing needs are for financial assistance, employment, and basic material needs. They also require support to help them make the transition to this new land.
These are poor families who cannot afford to buy essentials such as blankets, winter jackets, and toys for their children. Many have no jobs or are students and have no income. Although the VolAgs (Voluntary Agencies), or resettlement agencies, provide some support for the first few months, it is not adequate.

Though many of the refugees are educated and can speak English, many of them have remained unemployed because agency support and government aid is not available to them for an extended period of time, the assistance of Sewa International is quickly becoming a lifeline for many of these families.
Sewa International USA is providing:
Sewa International USA has taken up a nationwide project to help these families. Currently, its chapters in various cities, along with various local organizations, are working to fulfill the immediate and long-term needs of these refugees with several more chapters gearing up to help. Sewa International USA is providing:
· Financial help
· Essential materials such as blankets, winter jackets, clothes, toys etc.
· Employment assistance:-
1. Job search assistance
2. Sponsorship of vocational training
3. Job fairs
· Mobility
1. Help in aquiring driving licences
2. Sponsoring or donating used cars
· Help in transitioning to a new environment while preserving their culture
1. Help in conducting cultural events
2. Mentoring and friendship
3. Rides to their preferred places of worship
Each chapter may only provide certain services depending upon availability of resources. Sewa International, US welcomes a Bhutanese refugee who needs help at the information given below.
Sewa International USA is currently conducting the BRE project at the following locations:-
* Atlanta, GA Houston, TX Sacramento, CA
* Boston, MA Laconia, NH San Antonio, TX
* Chaple Hill, NC Louisville, KY San Jose, CA
* Chicago, IL Lynn, MA St Louis, MO
* Cleveland, OH Manchaster, NH Washington, DC
* Concord, NH Oakland, CA Woburn, MA
* Dallas, TX Phoenix, AZ Ft Worth, TX
* Denver, CO Portland, OR
Phone: 510-579-4742
How can you help?
Sewa International, US appeals to its benefactors to donate to this project. It also appeals to the community and its organizations to provide a helping hand.
Supporting Organizations:
¨ Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh
¨ Hindu Temple of Atlanta
¨ India Association of New Hampshire
¨ Sunnyvale Hindu Temple
¨ Vishwa Hindu Parishad

Imports Destroy Indian Silk

The decline of the Indian handloom industry is a fallout of the second phase of trade “reforms” in India. Between 2000 and 2005, the average annual growth rate of handloom production was a negative -6.99 per cent. Sericulture and handloom silk have suffered immensely, largely due to the import of cheap Chinese silk yarn and fabric.
According to Kumar Gautam of the Centre for Trade and Development, “The big blow to weavers came during 1999-2000, when the Indian Government allowed duty-free imports of Chinese plain crepe fabric. In 2001, India also abolished its quantitative restrictions on silk imports on demand from the WTO.”
Gautam notes that, “Between 2000-01 and 2004-05, imports of silk fabric into India more than doubled in value terms. In volume terms the cheap imports of silk fabric from China to India increased from 14.48 lakh metres in 2000-01 to 9.649 crore lakh metres in 2004-05 — a whopping increase of 6,560 per cent in just five years.”
Such imports are a disaster for sericulturists who grow silk cocoons. The States of Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where silk yarn is produced have been demanding anti-dumping duties to prevent the destruction of their sericulture.
Cheap silk yarn import has not helped the handloom weaver either. On the contrary, the advantage has gone to powerloom owners, as Chinese yarn is better suited to the powerloom.
In 2003, after protests from sericulturists, the Government of India imposed an anti-dumping duty on import of Chinese mulberry raw silk for five years, until January 2009. Tariffs were also imposed on other silk imports but duties on textiles remain low, so more textile rather than yarn is being imported.
Rampant import of silk fabric has destroyed demand for handloom silk cloth as it is more expensive. On average, while China silk costs $1-1.25 per metre, Indian silk costs $2.5-4 per metre. Previously the Benaras weaver used Bangalore silk, now 60 percent of the silk used in Benaras comes from China.
Benaras has some half a million handloom weavers. Its handloom industry generates revenue worth Rs. 4,000 crore annually and is a source of livelihoods for about 10 lakh people in the region.
There are several thousand retail and wholesale shops in Benaras that sell ‘Benarasi’ sarees. The gaddidars, the local traders, are rich and powerful men whose relationship with weavers has always been feudal and exploitative. The traders increasingly prefer to sell cheap powerloom sarees as there is more demand and fatter profits to be made from the higher turnover of such sarees. They do not value the skill and labour of the traditional weaver and pay a pittance for handloom silk products. Many gaddidars now own powerlooms.

The powerloom of course is a major competitor of the handloom weaver. One powerloom displaces 10 weavers. The result of competition from both imports and technology is starving weavers and a dying industry.
Activists accuse the Ministry of Texiles of neglecting handlooms. In 1997-98, the handloom sector was allocated 27.5 per cent of the total textile Budget. By 2006-07, this allocation dipped to 7.9 per cent. While khadi gets some support, silk handloom gets little. Dr Rajnikant of the Human Welfare Association (HWA) demands a separate ministry for the handloom sector. He also argues for the aggressive promotion of the Handloom Cluster Development and Handloom Mark and Silkmark schemes as well as Geographical Indicator protection for Benaras handlooms. HWA has organised public protest by weavers, burning Chinese silk and demanding a ban on dumping.
HWA also started the Taana Baana cooperative which provides livelihood to over a thousand weaver families, helping them with credit, design development and marketing support, as well as alternative income generating opportunities. It has a small retail outlet in Sarnath and a turnover of Rs. 70 lakh. But, given the scale of distress among the weavers, Taana Baana is at best a demonstration of what needs to be done for the industry as a whole. (By Sujata Madhok, The Hindu, Sunday, Feb 1, 2009)

Slough Hindu Community Donates £4,000 for Bihar Flood Relief

SLOUGH, BERKSHIRE UK: The Hindu Cultural Society (Hindu Temple) of Slough donated £4,000 (Four thousand pounds) to Sewa International's Bihar (India) Flood Appeal. The presentation was made at the Hindu temple in Slough during the Gita Jayanti programme, an occasion to mark the anniversary of the recitation of the Bhagawad Gita by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the battlefield during the Mahabharat war.
Presenting the cheque on behalf of the Hindu Cultural Society, Shri Vijay Datta, its vice-president said, "The Hindu community in Slough has been very generous in donating the money following the tragic news of the floods in Bihar. We have supported previous disaster appeals such as the Gujarat earthquake, the tsunami and other humanitarian causes and we have great pleasure making this donation to Sewa International."
Accepting the cheque on behalf of Sewa International, Shri Bharat Mistry, thanked the Hindu Temple Committee and the people of Slough for their generous donation and support in times of need. He explained that Sewa International had sent £20,000 very shortly after hearing the news of the disaster. It then quickly launched the Bihar Flood Appeal in the UK and other countries. Working together, Sewa International, in association with Sewa Bharati and other like minded organisations set up seven sewa centers in seven most affected districts to provide immediate relief, food, shelter and treating sick people on arrival. Relief materials coming from different places was collected at these centres, and distributed to the deserving people through small boats and even by head loads, by Sewa volunteers.
After providing immediate relief to the flood affected people of Bihar, Sewa International is now continuing its support to enable long term rehabilitation, and development for the people. It is planning to select one village in each of the 32 affected areas and provide the affected people with tools, equipment and instruments of trade to enable them to re-establish their trade and become self sufficient again. It also plans to build a hostel to educate the poor children of the affected areas who cannot afford to have any education.
Linking the central message of the Bhagwad Gita of encouraging one to do their duty, and the Hindu prayer Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, Sarve santu niraamayaah, Sarve bhadraani pashyantu, Maakaschit duhkha bhaag bhavet (meaning—May all be happy, May all be free from ills, May all look to the good of others, May none suffer from sorrow!), Shri Mistry explained that it was the duty of everyone to work towards betterment of society and to help others affected by disasters.

Aruna Chetana:

A School for Children With Special Needs

Blessings of Paramapujya Pejavar Swamiji, benovelence of Smt. Indiramma and most valuable guidance and support of its founder Director Late Shri Ajith Kumar, was the source for the inception of Aruna Chetana that trekked the path from 5th Dec 1987. The advisory board consists of Retired executives, industrialists, Businessmen and Social Workers. Trained, experienced and dedicated staff play a key role in the development of the challenged, poor and the differently-abled children.
Normally Nature's gift always goes unnoticed and unacknowledged. It is the plight of these deprived, dependent and desolate children that awakens insight to the invaluable gift of nature.
To provide comprehensive service facility under one roof to children with multiple disabilities.

Uphold the fundamental right of every child to access to education irrespective of the disability.
Reduce the burden of parents.
Train the children to become self dependent and respectable citizens.
Service to:
Children with intellectual impairment, Cerebral palsy, Spina bifida, Muscular dystrophy, Austism, Dyslexia, Hearing impairment, Partially visually impaired, Behavioural and emotional disorders and Children with Multiple disabilities.

Services Provided:Theraupatic services, Educational, Recreational, Vocational, Medical services, Food and Nutrition, financial support, Counselling and guidance etc., Activities to enhance and strengthen healthy behaviour, Emotional and Spiritual development.
Projects/Programmes:Ankura - Early intervention programme Home Management services in rural areas and slums in Bangalore Chaithanya - Pre school education programmeChetana - School education Non Formal education programmeSadhana - Vocational Training for Rehabilitation.Saaphalya - Rehabilitation and inclusion in main Stream.Self enterprises, Office assistants, workshop, dairy and horticulture, construction work and factories.Aruna Chetana has the credit of appointing highest number of challenged people.Criteria for AdmissionÞ Children with multiple disabilities.Þ Children from lower social and economic sections of the society.Þ Single parent childrenÞ All girl children.Peripheral Centresà Chaitanya at Kempapura Agraharaà Belaku at Tindlu near Vidyaranyapuraà Pranthi at Peenya 2nd Stageà Dharithree at Narasipura near DabaspetTechnical support to start and run special schools at various places. Presently Functioning - Sirisi, Koppa, Gulbarga, Gadag & Kaiwara (Kolar) Inception: 5th December 1987Project of: Hindu Seva PratishthanaAssociated with: Janata Kalyana Nidhi TrustNature: Charitable InstitutionStaff: 38 (Teachers, Therapists, and Administration)Benificiries:400 Children, 60% children from lower social and economic section.Annual Expenditure: Rs. 40 lakhs.

Fostering of rural-based industries is essential. A massive and integrated programme of rural industrialization is to be promoted. This should be based on the maintenance of the balance between employment and efficiency. As far as possible, local resources should be mobilized for activities and functions oriented to growth and development. -- Jaya Prakash Narayan.

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