Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sewa Sandesh
October 2013
 Sewa Sandesh team
wishes its readers and well      wishers a happy and         prosperous Deepawali.                      
Volunteers swung into action immediately after the cyclone hit Odisha, Andhra

As the cyclone struck, it was the Sangh Volunteers who under the banner of Utkal Bipanna Sahayata Samiti (UBSS) spontaneously came out of their homes to extend a hand of love and support to the people in distress. The cyclone with a gale speed of 200 km per hour and heavy rains ravaged Ganjam and affected 11 districts—bringing distruction and depression everywhere. Though the Government claimed they did an exemplary work by evacuating lakhs of people to safety before the cyclone could really struck, it was the Sangh Volunteers who did the actual work. At places like Paikabasa in Mayurbhanj district, 5,000 people were evacuated saving them from devastating flood. In rescue, relief or cleaning up of roads for communication, the Sangh Volunteers were on the forefront.
Spread over 5 critically affected districts, the Volunteers served cooked food to more than 4,000 people who would have gone hungry without Sangh intervention. Durgadevi and Dhabasila in Balasore district, Aryapalli, Gopalpur of Ganjam district were the places where swayamsevaks really did outstanding work. The Sangh Volunteers managed to take more than 5,000 people to safety before the deadly cyclone could struck, Volunteers they also provided shelter to about 7,000 people. More than 16 roads were cleared by these volunteers in the localities. Talking to Organiser Shri Prakash Betala, president of Utkal Bipanna Sahayata Samiti said, “UBSS started relief work in five districts including Ganjam after cyclone and flood. The UBBS is running  four relief centres at Brahmapur, three centres at Gopalpur and a relief centre at Chhatrapur. Besides Ganjam UBSS has also started  relief work  in cyclone affected Puri District and flood affected Mayurbhanj, Balasoe and Bhdrak District.” “Utkal Bipanna Sahayata Samiti will adopt some villages for rehabilitation,” he added.
Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh Shri Suhas Hiremath visited flood hitted Uttarakhand on September 3 to supervise and apprise personally the rehabilitation work being done by RSS under the banner of Uttaranchal Daivi Apada Peedit Sahayata Samiti (UDAPSS). In the second phase of the rehabilitation programme UDAPSS, has undertaken various programmes mainly in the field of education, health and self employment besides distribution of essential consumable goods. Till date three hostels at Guptakashi, Koticolony and Dehradun have been started accommodating 92 students from class 6 to Graduation. Their boarding, lodging, education and clothing are free.
Three primary medical centres have been started at Narayankoti, Nagjagai and Anderwari village of Ukhimath Tehsil where free medical aids are being provided to the villagers of disaster affected area. For self -employment of women, 3 ladies sewing training centres at Triyuginaryan, Chandrapuri, and Dadoli village of Ukhimath Tehsil have been inaugurated. Shri Hiremath visited all the three hostels, talked to students, addressed workers meeting at Guptakashi and gave various instructions to the activists. He also visited some of the worst affected spots and met some families affected during the disaster.

It has proven to be the biggest such effort so far. “The charitable organisation has been conducting similar free camps in Bharat for 11 years, and 750 poor patients have been operated upon. This year, the number of patients permanently cured of cleft lips and cleft palates were the highest,” told Hedgewar Rugnalay’s ENT head Bharat Deshmukh,as a team of Northern Cleft Foundation - UK assisted by Sewa International Bharat carried out cleft lip surgeries at Dr.Hedgewar Rugnalay in Aurangabad in October first fortnight. Led by George Tutturswamy, a doctor originally from Pondicherry and now living in Britain, the team included surgeons and other specialist support staff. The doctors paid for their own travel, as did all the others who were part of the team. The Hedgewar Hospital organised the to-and-fro travel expenses for the patients and their families and many poor patients from parts of the state who were unable to afford the expenses. Boarding and lodging expenses were also borne by the hospital. “This birth deformity is quite common, and occurs in one out of every 1,500 births. Though it costs only around Rs.50, 000 for the operation and other medical requirements, it is beyond the reach of the poor. This patient (Daulatbi) had to endure her cleft lip for 65 years before this opportunity suddenly came up,” Deshmukh explained. The team plans to return next year for similar camps in Aurangabad, Nashik and Nagpur.                                                                                                                   
Nestled in the pristine East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya Mawlynnong under Shillong district is the cleanest village of Asia


Do you know the cleanest village in Asia is in India? It is at a distance of around 90 km from Shillong, and the road leading up to it has some of the most panoramic and breathtaking views in the country. Till over a decade ago Mawlynnog was practically unknown to tourists until Discover India Magazine accorded it the cleanest village status in 2005. Nestled in the pristine East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya the residents of this picturesque village along the Indo-Bangla border have learnt to live at harmony with mother Nature and might very well become an example that urban folk should emulate. As one walks around the narrow zig-zagging paths of the village one is astounded by the clean well maintained black tarmac and the spotless frontyards and sidewalks of the bamboo stilt houses. There are stylish bamboo dustbins everywhere and separate compost pits in various pockets of the village for organic and inorganic wastes. Polythene use is completely banned and so is smoking. There are public toilets which the villagers themselves maintain and everyone takes part in the ritual weeding, sweeping and cleaning of the gardens and roads which happens every evening. Even the children are taught from an early age to keep their surroundings clean and they don’t hesitate to pick up the odd piece of garbage on the road and put it in the bin.
The village is well supplied with an efficient localized water supply and sanitation system. Just outside the village on the passing river the amazing living roots bridge is situated which speaks out for the ingenuity of the people. It is over 200 years old and was constructed by tying the roots of two banyan trees and maneuvering them to get entangled in such a way as to create a passage over the stream. The sky view tower on the eastern side of the village is a tall structure built on the support of a tree with bamboos and gives a wonderful view of the Bangladesh plains. For the discerning traveler there are many unmapped trails that one can explore around the village full of little waterfalls and sacred forests abounding in flora and fauna. The guest houses in the village are basic tree houses built on top of stilts that almost jut out into the adjacent forest, staying in them is an experience in itself. There is a lot that urban society could learn from Mawlynnong and its environmentally conscious citizens.
The self sustaining models though rudimentary have very strong foundations and have more to do with behaviour and customs that the peoples have adhered to and upheld. With the increasing influx of tourists the challenge for Mawlynnog is to maintain its culture and also educate outsiders with their ways. Do you think modern cities in India can replicate what the citizens of Mawlynnong have done? With better technology and infrastructural support Indian cities can certainly take Mawlunnong’s concepts forward and create self-sustaining environment systems with minimal damage to the eco systems. All we need are more responsible and conscientious citizens who will take up the cause of the environment. Mawlynnong can be reached by road and it is roughly a three hour drive from Meghalaya’s capital, Shillong.

Vijnana Bharati, in collaboration with Sewa Sahayog, Global Indian Scientists & Technocrats Foundation (GIST) and Maharshi Karve Stree Shikshan Samstha (MKSSS) organised Tech for Seva, socio-technical conference on inclusive and sustainable social development on September 28- 29 in Pune. In the conference technological innovations and applications were presented and deliberated for addressing the core issues of health, environment, education and livelihood in Bharatiya society. The conference was divided into four parts—poster and paper presentations highlighting the success stories and problems to be addressed; expo - displaying relevant and appropriate technologies along with solutions manifested into reality; student competitions-mooting ideas to highlight the use of technology to solve social problems and  networking dinner: dinner for exchange of ideas between NGOs, corporate and researchers. Dr Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of Automic Energy Commission who delivered the keynote address, said “the initiatives like ‘Tech for Seva’ will pave the way for more balanced policy initiatives by combining ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom- up’ approaches.” Chief Guest of the valedictory function noted scientist Dr Vijay Bhatkar said, ‘Tech for Seva’ has shown a very innovative way to find answers to many of the problems bothering our country.” In the curtain raiser event more than 400 student innovators from around 50 colleges in and around Pune participated in a competition to mark the beginning of ‘Tech for Seva’.
In the aftermath of the four-day siege of a mall in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, the role played by the Bharatiya-origin community in the rescue operation has become clearer. Bharatiya-origin doctors treated the wounded in hospitals founded by Bharatiya and Sikh community groups, while a neighborhood watch group from the Bharatiya-origin community was among the first on the scene offering assistance to emergency services as armed forces tried to take control of Westgate mall from militants. Volunteers of Bharatiya origin provided tea and curry for soldiers and police at a makeshift triage center, while others dressed in black trash bags waited to carry out corpses as parts of the mall were secured, a report in The Times of London said. At least 67 people were killed in the attack. Kenyan media reported Thursday that 71 are missing. Manvinder Mann, a Kenyan of Bharatiya origin who has relatives in Ludhiana in Punjab, treated casualties as they arrived at M.P. Shah Hospital close to the mall. The hospital was co-founded by a Gujarati philanthropist, Meghji Pethraj Shah, who moved to Kenya when he was 15. At Guru Nanak hospital, which was founded by a Sikh community organization, 25 victims from the shootings received treatment. Three of them were of Bharatiya origin, said S.K. Bamra, the hospital’s matron. She added that they have been discharged after receiving counseling. The Times report said members of the Sikh and Hindu communities had buried 12 people, but they feared that up to 30 from their communities had been killed. (Inputs from Joanna Sugden)
Food For Thought:
Only the timid and the weak leave things to destiny but the strong and the self-confident never bank on destiny or luck. - Lord Ram

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