Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sewa Sandesh 127: March 8, 2010

From Editor’s Desk
Changing the rural scenario in Bharat had been a daunting task. Many have ventured on the path, yet, very few could accomplish. One of the most renowned among them is Shri Nanaji Deshmukh.
Late Shri Nanaji Deshmukh is an exemplary person who decided to retire from the active politics at the age of 65, to utilize his rest of the life for the rural upliftment. All his energies, skills and talent, his contacts were deployed to change the face of villages in Gonda and Chitrakut districts. Nobody needs to explain his achievements through the Deendayal Research Institute as the villages where DRI has been working are the standing monuments of his contribution to the development of those villages.
Visiting Chitrakut mesmerizes the visitor, for a person like Dr. APJ Kalam, ex-Rashtrapati of Bharat spoke at length of his visit to Chitrakut in the Parliament of Bharat. Dr. Kalam personally paid his tribute to Nanaji by visiting DRI in Delhi.
Shri Nanaji breathed his last on 27th February 2010. In life he breathed for the downtrodden and in death, he had endowed his body for the medical research.
We pay our tributes to the towering social worker who started as a Pracharak for Sangh, adopting to the politics some way, only to prosper as a Sewa Vrati. Om Shanti.
IIT Delhi and Kalyan Ashram join hands for rural development
RURAL development department of IIT Delhi and Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram have joined hands for strengthening the process of development in rural areas. As a follow up, they have decided to organize village development camps in Vanvasi villages beginning from April this year. There will be camps in Assam from April 2 to 3, Sundargarh (Orissa) from April 10 to 11, Jashpur (Chhattisgarh) from April 12 to 13, Babhani (Uttar Pradesh) from April 14 to 15. The dates of the camps in Purulia (WB) and Lohardaga (Jharkhand) will be declared later. While the camps in Karnataka, Madhya Bharat and Mahakaushal regions will be held in June.
A joint meeting of both the organisations was organised in New Delhi on January 30 to start the process in a systematic way. Kalyan Ashram workers from Assam, Orissa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Mahakaushal, Chhattisgarh,
Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir participated in the meeting. The meeting was inaugurated by joint general secretary of Kalyan Ashram Shri Kripa Prasad Singh and Dr Rajendra Prasad as well as Dr SN Nayak of IIT.
Both, Dr Rajendra Prasad and Dr SN Nayak, explained the new technology available for rural development. Shri Kripa Prasad Singh elaborated on the sad condition of rural areas. He said 45000 revenue villages in Vanvasi areas do not have basic facilities and there is a dire need to initiate the efforts of development there. "Connectivity of villages with roads is necessary but providing electricity, transport facility, educational facility and drinking water is the immediate needs. When the state governments have failed to take initiatives on these fronts the social organisations and technical institutions have to do it," he said.
Prof. SS Krishnamurti presented the model of Picco Hydle project which hardly costs Rs 1.5 lakh and can supply power to 100 houses. Two horse power pump supply of water is required for the Hydle project. If the village is situated on the bank of a small river, it could be a successful experiment. IIT can install this project for the villagers. Similarly, the experiment of using solar energy in villages has also been very successful and Government provides subsidy for it to BPL families. Shri Jagdish Joshi, an engineer from Rajasthan, who has done experiments in Banswara, Dungarpur and Udaipur districts, said the investment from Rs two to three lakh could irrigate 100 acre land for double yield.
The IIT has spared Dr Rajendra Prasad, Dr SN Nayak and Sri Ramgopal for this work while the Kalyan Ashram spared Shri Harsh Chouhan, Shri Soumen Gupta, Shri Jagdish Joshi and Shri Prakash Kamath for this project. All these workers are from engineering background and are suitable for the village development programmmes.
Sevabharathi, Tamil Nadu:
Sevabharathi, Tamil Nadu is a socio-cultural sewa organisation striving to bring about the integration and all-round development of society. It ensures that caste, class and religion do not stand in the way of social cohesion. Its service activities reach out to the weaker and neglected sections of the society living in remote villages, forests, hills and slums.
It focuses on five areas of service – Education, Health-care, Social Welfare, Self-sustenance and Disaster Management. Over 7,000 Seva Projects are being implemented all over Tamilnadu.

Whenever and wherever a natural or man-made disaster occurs, Sevabharathi volunteers are often the first to arrive at the scene and the last to depart from it. It is one of the very few NGOs with end-to-end disaster management (rescue, relief and rehabilitation) capability, with over 25,000 disciplined and dedicated volunteers who can assemble at short notice at the disaster site.
As it looks around, it sees an increasing need for broadening and deepening its Seva activities. These millions, mostly from villages and slums, are languishing not for lack of talent, ambition or perseverance, but because they have far fewer opportunities and vastly inferior infrastructure – schools without teachers, the nearest hospital miles away, lack of identity because of zero contact with the mainstream culture...

A little help, guidance and inspiration from it can go a long way in transforming the scene. These people will not only catch up with the rest of people, but make a substantial contribution through their own vigour and skills when their self-esteem is bolstered.Sevabharathi Tamil Nadu is seeing the miracles happening everyday, as it engages with these children, youth, mothers and elders.
Seva Project Summary, December 2009
Play Schools (Balvadi) 26
Free Tuition Centres 342
Value Education Classes 436
Libraries 5
Mobile Libraries 77
Yoga Classes 83
Hindi Classes 4
Children’s Small Savings Forums 737
Health Care
Medical Centres 19
Mobile Medical Services 4
Blood Banks 2
Blood Donor Directories 15
Blood Donation Camps 7
Neurotherapy Centres 14
Ambulances 2
Social Welfare
Bhajan Mandalis 35
Anbu Illams (Orphanages) 14
Women’s Forums 257
Deepa Pooja Groups 1,179
Adolescent Girls’ Counselling Centres 2
Maintenance of Temples (Uzhavarappani) 151
Senior Citizen’s Forums (Sanjeevani) 5
Tailoring Training Centres 77
Computer Training Centres 5
Typewriting Training Centre 1
Self-help Groups 3,761
Handicrafts Training Centres 14
Total Projects 7,275
Sewa Sangam in Bengaluru
A search for the grassroots leaders

By Shyam Parande
I had the opportunity to talk and discuss with the grass roots as well as the higher ups in the echelon present in the Sewa Sangam and decided to have a reality check on the ethics that were presented from the podium.
Participants, I could understand, were from large voluntary organisations on the one hand and small on the other, not to mention that there were the mid-size also. Budget and expanse of activity wise, some were restricted to a village or a slum while the others were covering a state. A fine spectrum well spread to understand the quantity and quality of activity, their penetration and acumen in reaching the legitimate needy, I thought. I could talk to quite a number of delegates to gauge the organisations they are working for, their working method, their finance management, their achievements, et al.
Annapurna Mahila Bachat Gat (A women Self Help Group) working in the village Kolda of Nandurbar district is involved in producing the Neem seed kernel powder. The Dr Hedgewar Sewa Samiti through the Krishi Vigyan Kendra Nandurbar had trained the group in producing the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) that includes physical, biological, chemical control of pests. The major component of IPM is the Neem seed kernel powder.
The SHG could produce 32 quintals of Neem seed kernel powder last year to earn Rs 48,000 and this year could produce 60 quintals to earn Rs 90,000, making the women participants of the SHG self-reliant, enhancing the confidence of the women from the small and remote village. The Annpurna Mahila Bachat Gat is now looking for other avenues to work together and earn better, helping their kids for improved education.
If this was the case of the SHG producing the Neem powder to be self reliant, the story of some others who utilised the same powder to advance their economic resources needs to be listened to.
Namdev Atmaram Koli, a small farmer from Hatmohida village in the same district had been cultivating Bt. Cotton for quite a few years now. However, he adopted the IPM method since last two years using the produce of the Annapurna Mahila Bachat Gat to save on chemical sprays which cost him Rs 3600 per hectare to Rs 1700 per hectare while the net earning on the cotton produce has been enhance from Rs 27,500 to Rs 39,850 on the same plot of land. The local resources and technology has been effectively used to provide self reliance to the women’s SHG as well as helping the Vanvasi farmers improve on their profits.

I wish to elaborate a case of Kantilal Gojilal Naik, a Vanvasi farmer from Navapur Taluka among the Satpura Mountain. Kantilal was harvesting rice for quite many years and since his training with the KVK Nandurbar has doubled his rice harvest. It was the training in seed treatment, Integrated Nutrient Management, and Improved agronomical practices along with improved rice variety that brought the difference.
But this is a difference that many other NGOs can talk about. Kantilal, the Vanvasi farmer from the remotest village has gathered the courage and conviction to offer his own farmland for experimenting to the agricultural university. Any person with integrity, just cannot ignore what the Sarsanghachalak was talking about and will have to trust his word
Dr Hedgewar Sewa Samiti Nandurbar accomplished the self reliance in the remotest villages through the SHGs and the agricultural innovations. Can we have a look at the urban slums and the much talked about city of Bengaluru?
Ramya, a girl at the age of 5 had to resort to rag picking, like some other children because she lost her parents before that age. She had a noble hearted neighbour who accommodated the young kid but the supporting family was also part of the slum and had economical restrictions. Ramya used to leave the home everyday for rag picking from 8 AM to 8 PM, a rigorous 12 hour routine.
She would spend her entire day rummaging through large piles of trash sorting out and recyclable paper products. At the end of the day Ramya would take the paper products she had collected to a recyclable centre where in exchange for her findings she would receive Rs 10 only, a paltry sum for day long toil. That is inhuman on the part of the civil society.

Ramya was 8 then. She was spotted by a Sewavrati of Nivedita Nele, a home for rag picking girls run by Hindu Sewa Pratishthana Bengaluru. Quickly Ramya could understand the importance of education and joined the Nivedita Nele starting her 1st standard at the age of 8. The challenge of being in a home and discipline was huge for the young girl who was enjoyed the roaming and roving at will on the streets of the city. She struggled a lot to herself for a year or so and was helped by the Sewavratis, full timer ladies, to settle down.
Ramya is now 13 studying the 5th standard and has a dream of serving the aged people whom she watches around while she walks up to her school from Nivedita Nele home. This is amazing to understand that a girl, who was destitute herself, that too within a short period of just 5 years, is dreaming of serving others. Ramya is not alone for singling out. Saumya, a 4th grade student from Nivedita Nele topped her class with 100 per cent marks while Netra, a 10th standard student, excels in traditional Rangoli art and a compere of programmes par excellence.
Let me also talk about a village and this is from the southernmost district of the country-Kanyakumari. Perumal Self Help Group-a women group-has influenced the life of their village absolutely. Caste differences are done away-women representing all castes in the village are members of the group-no discrimination. Drinking water tank-which happens to be the bone of contention in every other village-is open to all villagers. The members of the SHG initiated cleaning process of the tank themselves offering karseva, following which whole village participated. ‘Anganwadi’ centre for the young kid’s education was brought into the village from a neighbouring village as the students had to walk long. An enterprising unit using the green technology to manufacture plates and bowls out of Areca nut leaves has been established-from micro finance to micro enterprise development. The local village Panchayat and Banks, observing the impetus, have joined hands with this SHG offering funding to various schemes in the village.
Well, can not this be called the metamorphosis that the Sarsanghachalak was talking about? Turning the beneficiary into a benefactor, appropriately!
Well, a Ramya from Bengaluru streets, a Kantilal from the remote Vanvasi village in Satpura, the Annapurna Mahila Bachat Gat SHG group from Nandurbar, the Perumal SHG from Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, are just a few examples of the change that is being brought in the minds of the beneficiaries by the dedicated band of activists. Not bothered about someone watching them or not, someone cares for them or not, they have raised the flag of development and that they would carry till they achieve the goal. The urge to serve and the urge to develop are innate and concurrent among the people who volunteer and the people who are being offered some kind of support through this movement. This is something different, I realise from what I see otherwise.

Are they not the "grass roots leaders" joining hands for development of the underdeveloped and yet do not cater any ego, totally selfless shunning name, fame or anything else, and sowing the seed of self reliance in the minds of people who would have been otherwise?
Probably, these are the people who made the Sarsanghachalak speak out for their action.
(To be concluded)
Bhutanese Refugee Empowerment Conference: Sewa International, US is going to organise a conference on Bhutanese Refugee Empowerment. This conference will be held from April 17 to April 18, 2010. Conference details are as follows:
Empower Bhutanese-Nepalis to settle in the US while preserving their identity and culture.
Conference Need
• With significant experience gained over last two years, a crucible for exchange of experience is vital.
• Success and challenge of the BRE project are uneven geographically. Some chapters have significant successes in certain BRE projects while lagging behind in others.
• It has become increasingly clear among the community that a national forum is needed to address the unique needs of the Bhutanese in the US.
• A platform is needed to nurture National and local leadership among the Bhutanese through mentoring.
• Sewa is happy to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Bhutanese brethren and help them achieve this goal.
Goals and expected outcomes
• Bhutanese brethren and Sewa volunteers will exchange best practices, success and challenges faced.
• Bhutanese to organize themselves into a self-governing national US organization.
• Bhutanese/Sewa delegates from 30 cities. Academicians will share experiences and will guide.
• Determine future plans of action.
• Open session.
1. Good news for millions of diabetic patients. Cow urine, which has many medicinal properties, can also cure diabetes.In a significant development, a three-member team of researchers in Bangalore has found that cow urine contains certain molecules that can fight diabetes. Led by Dr K Jayakumar, professor and head of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology of the Veterinary College under Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (Karnataka, Bharat), the team is in the final stages of identifying the molecule that secretes insulin. This is the first ever scientific study on cow urine and its properties and its findings can change the diabetes treatment in India . Jayakumar said that anti-diabetic activity of cow urine was tested on rats with experimentally induced diabetes. He said rats were orally administered small doses of cow urine daily and there was marked difference in blood sugar levels in these animals. But in the case of diabetic rats which were not administered cow urine, sugar levels remained the same. The cow urine is used in the preparation of Ayurvedic medicines for centuries. This scientific study promises to give a ray of hope for millions of diabetic patients in the country. Based on a report by Smt. Kestur Vasuki in THE PIONEER, February 19, 2010.
2. Nine children and a teacher were killed on Thursday December 3, 2009 when a school van fell into a 30 – foot deep pond at Panayadikuthagai in Katripulam village of Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district (Tamilnadu, bharat). The pond was full to the brim. Twelve children were rescued from the water by the 22-year-old teacher M . Suganthi, who died by drowing while saving the kids. But for two who were in Class IV, the children were in kindergarten grade. Most of the rescue work was undertaken by local people, who jumped into the pond and forced open the van. One family lost two boys in the accident. Later, on Republic Day, Chief Minister gave away the Anna Medal for Gallantry 2010 to Suganthi for saving the lives of 12 children from drowning. It was presented posthumously to her father Mariappan. The award carries a medal, a cheque for Rs.25,000 and a citation. Based on media reports and the Tamilnadu government press release.
3. Ms Irina Bokova, during her first official visit to India as Director-General of UNESCO, delivered the IGNOU Silver Jubilee lecture on "Building inclusive knowledge societies in a globalized world". Ms Bokova's visit to India has drawn attention to IGNOU, the largest university in the world, as well as to distance education in general. Almost three million students in India and 33 other countries study at IGNOU which is also India's National Resource Centre for Open and Distance Learning and a world leader in distance education. Through its 21 schools of study, 59 regional centres, 2,300 learner support centres and some 52 overseas centres, the university offers 175 certificate, diploma, degree and doctoral programs, comprising around 1,500 courses. IGNOU's staff consist of 380 faculty members and academic staff in headquarters and regional centres while some 36,000 counsellors from conventional institutions of higher learning and professionals from different spheres. With the launch of EduSat (a satellite dedicated only to education) in 2004, and the establishment of the Inter-University Consortium, IGNOU has ushered in a new era of technology-­enabled education.
4. Each of the 50 plus saplings girding the Luz Garden Enclave (the High Income Group flats behind Navashakti Vinayaka temple) in Myalpore , Chennai (Tamilnadu, Bharat) promptly receive a bottle of water every morning, thanks to the thoughtful school going kids of the Enclave. As part of New Year celebrations, instead of dinner and dance, the children of this community planted saplings of various trees. The Owners' Association president Dr. A.M. Jayaraman led the activity. Association auditor Shri Raman, impressed with this campaign, announced a gift of Rs, 250 to each of four well-maintained saplings to be given at the end of the year to the child who planted it. — Courtesy: Panchaamritam

"Man is not a detached spectator of a progress immanent in human history, but an active agent remoulding the world nearer to his ideals". — Dr. S. Radhakrishnan


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