Wednesday, September 11, 2019


A one day thematic  workshop was held for the project “Women for Greens - improving livelihood of marginalised rural women by providing training and support to cultivate their fallow land” for the trainers, field volunteers and supervisors of the project supported by ERM-India. This was held on September 1, 2019 at the Marwari Dharamshala Auditoriam at Ghatsila, East Singbhum, Jharkhand.

The participants arrived in the morning and the session began at 8.45 hours with a group song “Manush to ekdin jaagbei…tumi noy aaami noy…” (If all are socially aware and work on the development issues, there would be change… but we must work together in unity)

After the initial self introduction of the participants the first session was conducted by the experienced resource person Sri Diptendu Mukherji who is a renowned environment and rural development expert. He said “on simple term, organic way of agriculture means avoiding chemical fertilizer and chemical pesticides, and, instead use natural manure and pesticides. Plants and trees are providing us food for all, but they have lost their own food. Plants and trees get food from the earth- meaning the soil. But due to over use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides we have killed many natural food of the soil that the plant use for their own survival and growth. The only solution is to re-fill, rejuvenate and replenish the lost food to the soil. We will have to explain these issues to the villagers in simple terms in the language they understand easily, with using lot of pictures and other audio-visual media including songs, street theatres, posters, flash cards.

Ms. Saswati Roy Patnaik, Secretary Swadhina explained about the various aspects of the present project documents which was translated into local language and all participants were given copies. She explained that the project has the following components:
- training women leaders of the villages on the need for safeguarding environment by stressing more on organic farming so that various forms of pollution can be tackled.
- promoting compost pits in every house hold for preparing organic manure by using natural and easily procurable ingredients like cow-dung, dried leaves, kitchen waste and and anything that are degradable.
- reclaiming fallow land and bringing them under dry farming, fodder cultivation, fruit cultivation, sabai grass (used to make ropes)
- making full use of various Govt. Schemes that are geared to agro-development for which local Swadhina WRC (Womens Resource Centre) are to conduct awareness training on existing and the forthcoming various Govt. Scheme documents.

Ms. Smriti Sarkar, Swadhina senior trainer conducted a detailed training sessions with the help of 3 Study Booklets which were prepared for the use of this project in all the target villages soon.

Study Booklet 1: “Organic Farming: A Brief Orientation”
This is a nine page (A-4 size) documents in Bengali providing brief introduction to the subject. It  stressed that the basis of Organic Farming is to create cycle for plant nutrient, by using various  natural ways. The booklet also provided ideas on low cost manure and how to get rid of various pests in a most environment friendly. In our hurried attempt to kill pests we have contaminated our soil with harmful toxic materials, and, thus created long-term damage to the soil, and, thereby placed our plants to face the danger.

Study Booklet 2: “Organic Pesticide”
This is a seven page (A 4 size) document in Bengali which provides first hand idea of using locally available ingredients like Neem, Wood-apple and many locally available leaves and seeds in the forests. Use of every-day kitchen items like Garlic, Red Chilies and so on.

Study Booklet 3: “Organic Fertilizers” 
This is fourteen page (A 4 size) document in Hindi on organic fertilizers. It has a straight forward approach: chemical fertilizer & pesticides brings categorical harm: 
-it damages the soil, 
-the produce is less is taste and nutrition, 
-harmful for human health, 
-ever expensive for the farmers, and fore most
- harmful for environment. 
While chemical fertilizers and pesticides is a dependant system, for, one can not make it. Where as Organic way is easy, because the farmers can easily make organic fertilizers and pesticides at home. The booklet clearly explains ways to prepare several plant nutrients by using simple items like rotten fruits, jaggery, rice water, ginger, garlic and so on.

During the post lunch session, Sri Prabir Sarkar, experienced in organic farming, explained the know-how of making and use of compost pit.

Some of the village leaders present narrated their own limited experience in organic farming and showed keen interest in learning more through the forthcoming training programme to be conducted in their respective locations.

The programme came to a close with the participants singing together Tagore song “Aguner Parash Moni Chhoao Praney” ( Let the light glow on us).


1. Ms. Alochana Mahato, Indatara, Poorvi Singbhum
2. Ms. Rupali Mahato, Kanku, Poorvi Singbhum
3. Ms. Jayanti Mahato, Hurumbil, Poorvi m
4. Ms. Daupadi Mahato, Hurumbil, Poorvi Singbhum
5. Ms. Papiya Sharma, Latiya, Poorvi Singbhum
6. Ms. Madhumita Sarkar, Mosaboni, Poorvi Singbhum
7. Ms. Tapasi Sahis, Kuchia, Poorvi Singbhum
8. Ms. Sarala Hembram, Layadih, Poorvi Singbhum
9. Ms. Basumati Mahato, Chirudih, Poorvi Singbhum
10. Ms. Rina Acharjee, Purulia, West Bengal
11. Mr. Banka Bihari Mahato, Geruala, Poorvi Singbhum
12.Mr. Laduram Mahato, Hurumbil, Poorvi Singbhum
13. Mr. Sanjay Mahato, Chirudih, Poorvi Singbhum
14. Mr. Prabir Sarkar, Resource Person, Mosaboni, Poorvi Singbhum
15. Ms. Saswati Roy Patnaik, (Secretary-Swadhina) Poorvi Singbhum
16. Mr. Diptendu Mukherji, Resource Person, Kolkata
17. Ms. Smriti Sarkar, Resource Person, Kolkata

Diptendu Mukherji

Monday, June 10, 2019


Since inception, in 1986, the Environment Day has a special place in the life of Swadhina. Every year we observe this day in remote village areas with women leaders and children. This year too, we observed this day on June 5 in Jharkhand in four locations.

Hurumbil, Patamdah, East Singbhum
Here the programme was mainly for children. We have an Education Support Centre here where about 30 children come every day in the centre for strengthening their quest for school education, beyond school hours.

Around 9 in the morning these children, along with other children of the village, gathered at the open space in front of the Centre. Ms. Jayanti Mahato was conducting the programme here. She explained to the children the significant of the day and told them about the various facets of pollution - soil and water pollution due to irresponsible use of chemical pesticides, environment hazards due to indiscriminate felling of fores trees and the danger of ever dwindling number of various birds - many of them are on the verge of extinction.

Thereafter they joined in a painting programme on environment- whatever they see around them.

Kanku, Patamdah, East Singbhum
At 12 noon the programme here started with a group song. Abount 20 membes of
Swadhina Village Women Group joined in the session. The discussion was mainly on use of plastics. Ms. Rupali Mahato, the Swadhina volunteer spoke on the subject. She felt that the use of plastic even in this remote area is on the increase at an alarming rate. She explained that plastic is one of the most known enemy of environment, as this does not get dissolved in the earth soil and hence remain buried for ages, thereby obstruct all forms of vegetation. This must be consciously stopped.
Thereafter there was a lively session on “our gift from nature” a participatory session wherein each participant named a few fruits or vegetables as the gift of nature towards fulfilling our nutritional needs. Some of them also narrated about the various recipes with those vegetables which became very interesting for all participants.

Chirudih, Patamdah, East Singbhum
At 9 a.m. the programme started here. 20 children, belonging to the Education Support Centre gathered here to attend a ‘sit and draw’ contest on Environment. Their drawings of fruits, trees, flowers, vegetables, hills, rivers were very nice. After this the conductor of the programme Ms. Basumati Mahato, the Swadhina volunteer, explained to them that nature has given us many things which in fact are basic part of our environment. We should all make effort to preserve them. We must plant trees to save our environment. Each child should plant atleast one important tree near her or his home like papaya, mango etc.

Latiya, Mosaboni, East Singbhum
Here the programme was conducted by Ms. Papia Sharma. About 30 children gathered around 10 in the morning. At the outset they were told about environment. It was said that animals and birds we see around us are all part of our environment. We must respect. Many of the children get excitement by throwing stones at a dog, or a cat or a bird ! This should stop. We should remember that every time we do this we make an onslought on our environment. We should love dog, cat and bird. This the children liked very much and many have said that they have small cows, goats and they love them very much !

Thereafter there was a sit-n-draw progamme for the children and there were many interesting entries !

Thursday, May 30, 2019


Yes, we should go back to the basics : Education”. 
Education brings progress, Education brings Change.

About an year ago we launched a programme called “ EUCATION SUPPORT CENTRES”, in several remote villages in Jharkhand.  The reasons behind was manifold:

Over the past years there had been certain infrastructural development as far as education is concerned. While there is still a long way to go for proper schooling of children the pace of education development at par with the available infrastructure is not proportionate. There are number of points that need to be looked into and correctional measures be adopted.

Drop Outs: Though in most cases there are schools established within manageable distance at the rural or village level, the children soon stop going to schools and thereby drop out. In most cases middle school students find the courses difficult to follow as their parents are not adequately educated to guide them.

Common Place of Study:  Secondly in most cases village children do not have space or educational atmosphere at home for doing the school home work.

Tuition Guidance: Thirdly the children do not get tutorial  guidance at the village level, unlike their counter parts in the city and towns who get excellent tuition beyond school hours. Hence there is a need to run school education support centers. In this effort, special emphasis is given to education supports towards girl-child.

The EDUCATION SUPPORT CENTRES are run in 6 places by Swadhina:

1. LATIA: This village is in Mosaboni Block, in East Singbhum district in Jharkhand amidst the copper mining area. The village is about 6 kilometers away from Mosaboni bus stand. Here the centre has 18 children (2 boys and 16 girls) 5 are from Class II, 5 study in Class III, 5 are from Class IV and 3 study in Class V.  Ms. Papiya Sharma is the tutor here.

2. BENASOL: This village is in Mosaboni Block, and, located in a forest region. It is about 7 kilometer away from Ghatsila Town in East Singbhum district in Jharkhand. This centre has 16 students, all girls. 5 are studying in Class VII, 6 are studying in Class VIII, 5 are studying in Class IX. Ms. Reshmi Soy is the tutor here. The local primary school has kindly offered a class room for this centre.

3. CHIRUDIH : This village is in Patamdah block in East Singbhum district in Jharkhand. It is about 15 kilometers away from the Block office. Patamdah is about 35 kilometers away from Tatanagar. There are 27 children (15 girls and 12 boys) attending the centre. 11 are from Class II, 9 are from Class III, 7 are from Class IV. Ms. Basumati Mahato is the tutor here.

4. KANKU : This village is about 4 kilometers away from Chirudih village. There are 21 students, all women. 6 are from Class V, 5 are from Class VI, 5 are from Class VII, 2 are from Class VIII and 3 students are from Class X. Ms. Rupali Mahato is the tutor here.

5. BONDIH : Here the centre is conducted in a room provided by the local School. There are 25 children attending the centre, 13 girls and 12 boys. 5 from Class II, 10 from Class III and 10 are from Class IV. Bondih is about 15 kilometers away from Patamdah. Sri Banka B Mahato is the tutor here.

6. HURUMBIL: This village is about 12 kilometers away from Patamdah block office. There are 17 students, all girls, attending the centre. 5 are from Class V, 6 are from Class IV, 6 are from Class III. Ms. Jayanti Mahato is the tutor here.

This programme is showing some definite results. We recently conducted an evaluation in all these centres to find out the progress of these children. The outcome is indeed encouraging.
- Every student in every subject of study has improved !
- This has definitely encouraged the students about their own studies and they are now putting more time for their studies.
- This has also made their parents very much happy to see that their children too can excel in their class exam !

Here are some highlights:

1. Apurba Mahato, studying in Chirudih in Class III. He belongs to a poor family, his is a marginal farmer family. His parents also work as daily-labourer. He has little sister.  Last year his over all score was 180 marks. This year he scored 320 marks. On individual subject he has remarkable improvement - in  Hindi he scored 40, but this year he got 80. Similarly in Mathematics too he scored double the marks than his last year’s score.

2. Sunita Mahato, studying in the same centre is a Class III student. She has an elder sister. She belongs to a marginal farmer family. When there is no work in the own field, her parents work as agricultural laborer on daily wage basis. Last year she scored 200 in overall rank. This year she scored 300. She too doubled her Hindi and Mathematics marks.

3. Annapurna Mahato, Chiirudih studying in the same class and she has a younger brother. She too belong to a marginal farmer family and her parents depend on daily wage work during the dull agricultural season.
She scored scored 200 in the
overall rank in the last year. This year she scored 300. In Bengali her score was 40 she doubled it this year. In Mathematics she scored 60, and this year she scored 80. In English she got 40 and this year she doubled her score.

4.Premlata Das studies in Class V in Hurumbil Education Support Centre. Her father is a mason on daily wage basis. She has two younger brothers. Going is tough as there is not much construction activities going on in the village. She scored 250, and this she improved the tally to 313. In Mathematics she s cored 39, but this year scored 55. In Hindi scored 35 and this year she got 51. In English she scored 38, and this year she could get 50.

5.Sangeeta Mahato is in Class V in the same centre. She belongs to a marginal farmer family. Mother sometimes go out to work as daily labour in agriculture field. She
has an elder brother and a younge brother. Last year her overall score was 253 and this she could improve it to 323. In Bengali she could score 46 and this year she scored 53. In Social Science last year she scored 38, and this year she scored 55. In Mathematics last year she could score 47, and, this year she score 58. In Hindi this year she scored 52 while her marks in this subject was 42.

6.Monika Mahato is in Hurumbil centre and she studies in Class IV. She belongs to a marginal farmer family. She has a younger sister. Her overall score was 265. This year she could get 315. In Bengali secured 38 marks, and, this year she could master 47. In Social Studies she scored 35 in last year, and, this year scored 50. In English she got 46 marks and this year she scored 56 marks.

7.Rupali Mahato also attend the same Hurumbil centre. She has two younger sisters and a younger brother. She is a Class III student who scored 256 on overall ranking. This year she got 308 in this count. In Hindi she scored 35 and this year she could get 53. In English, last time, she got 40 marks and this year scored 55. Her father is road-side snacks seller.

8. Puja Mahato is in Class III. She has a younger sister. Father is daily wage earner. Mother earn some money through goat rearing. Last year her overall score was 227. This year she got 310 as overall marks. In Bengali she scored 39 last year. This year she got 54 in Bengali. In Mathematics, in the last year’s exam she scored 36, but this year she scored 51. In Hindi her last year’s marks was 35, and, this year she got 55.

- Diptendu Mukherji

Monday, April 1, 2019


PPR also known as 'Goat Plague' is a viral disease of goats and sheep characterized  by fever,sores in the mouth, diarrhea, pneumonia and eventual death.

Last week two goats of Sridam Mahato of Hurumbil village (Poorvi Singbhum, Jharkhand) died due this dreaded disease. This disease can be avoided by timely vaccination. This is a poor area and most of the families own 2/3 goats only

A vaccination camp was arranged, sponsored by ERM,  from 30 March 2019 in two villages: Hurumbil village covering 21 families for 52 goats, Hutupathar village covering 13 families for 51 goats.  Bordih village covering 21 families for 58 goats.

documentation by:

Friday, February 15, 2019



Earth Festival is an important event in the life of Swadhina that is being organized every year in the working area of Swadhina.

A: Objective:
The basic objective of this program, termed as “Vasundhara Mela” in the local language, is many folds:
- Creating environment awareness among villagers, especially women and children,
- Exhibiting the importance of nature and natural resources in our daily life,
- Showcasing the cultural heritage of various communities,
- Fostering unity of human kind in a pluralistic society, with co-existence of many communities, race, creed and colour,
Vasundhara Mela is on
-Showcasing the varied and colourful world of animals, birds, reptiles, flora and fauna many of which are fast becoming extinct,

Recently Swadhina organized such a “Vasundhara Mela” sponsored by ERM  (Environmental Resources Management) at Kanku village in Patamda Block of East Singbhum district, Jharkhand. Kanku is located about 50 k.m. away from Jamshedpur on the border of Purulia district of West Bengal  and it is dwelling place of various tribal and OBC communities in a forest region .This was a 3-day event held from 25th January, 2019.

There were many stalls to exhibit different items also there were open-air exhibition of posters, charts, banner, and hoardings. The place was colourfully decorated with streamers and other decorative items.

B: Respect Tree:
One of the important aspects of theVasundhara Mela was an event called “Respect Tree”. An old tree was decorated with coloured papers and some glittering decorative. Early in the morning of the first day children
"Respecting Tree" event
and women of the village gathered under the tree. With incense sticks in their hands, and, amidst the sweet sound of conch-shell blowing they were encircling the tree with songs praising the usefulness of tree.

C: Exhibitions:
1.Vegetables: There was stall exhibiting various vegetables grown in the area brought by the local small farmers as a part of competitive vegetable show.

2.Birds: There was a exhibition showing large variety of birds depicted on large laminated display board with colourful picture and details about and interfering feature a contest for children wearing posters after visiting these exhibit they are ask the questions on the and contested giving best answers were winners.

3.Animals: Similar exhibits were there on different animal including the ones now extinct like dinosaur and dodo bird.
4. Dresses: There was on display a stall on laminated photo chart of dresses of different communities of India.

5. Seeds: There was stall on exhibiting various seeds grown in the area

6.Handicrafts:  There was interesting stall exhibit various handicraft items prepare by the local women and best one was given prizes.

7.Musical Items: Musical instruments made from nature like clay and wood etc.  Dance mask made of clay were on display.

8.Agricultural Implements: There was stall on various agricultural implements by local ironsmith.

9.Household items like mats made of various rope.

10.Pottery: Various clay items prepared by potters were put on the exhibitions

11.Bamboo-craft: Household kitchen items like basket were made of bamboo sticks were on display.

D: Discussion session

Everyday- there was open-air discussion sessions on women’s health, nutrition pollution, health and hygiene, women’s empowerment conducted by women leaders and social activists.

E: Competitions

There were many interesting competitions conducted which were conducive to the festival mood of the program for women.

1.Drawing Alpona/Kollam:  Alpona/Kollam is the art of floral design drawn on floor.  Women do this during festivals and happy occasions in the family like birthdays, marriages and so on. These are made by coloured powder or wet colors or at times with coloured chalks. Local women were seen participating enthusiastically in this. .

2.Conch Shell Blowing: Blowing a Conch-shell during the festivals and happy occasions are considered very auspicious and is a long time tradition. There was conch shell blowing competition held and those who can blow the conch shell for longest duration was
declared as winners.

3. Throwing the Ball Game: There was another interesting competition - putting the ball in the basket, which the women thoroughly enjoyed in participating.

4.Speech Competition: This was an instant speech contest where a participant has to speak for three minutes on the subject display on the chit. This again was very interesting event showing the leadership skill of the participating women.

5.Sit-n-Draw competition: This was held for children where every participant was provided with paper and pencil and color crayons for the drawing. The best one very given prizes.

6. Know Your Nature Competition: This again was for children. In this event participating children were asked to study the bird-animal charts on display intently and then come to the the main arena where in the were to say specific questions on those birds and animals. Children answering maximum correct answers were declared the winners.

Three days of festival which provided not only the intended awareness on the environment, nature and ecology for the villagers but also an occasion   of one and all to enjoy the good time of togetherness.

     Documentation by:
    Diptendu Mukerji

Monday, February 11, 2019



The entire country is reeling under cold wave and poor people in the area we are working suffering a lot .Responding to the need Swadhina embarked upon blanket program in a few village of Jharkhand .About 7o families were the beneficiaries following is a report on this program.

Phase 1:
We received a consignment of 50 blankets as donation through Anita Jhunjunwala and Anuj Arya of Kolkata. We distributed these blankets in two villages namely Latia and Sahoda.

 Latia village is situated in Mosaboni Block in East Singbhum District of Jharkhand state. This is in a mining area surrounded by forest and hills. 18 number of families all belonging to the tribal and OBC communities were given blankets on January 10 & 11,  2019. Ms. Papia Sharma  and  Ms. Madhumita Sarkar on behalf of Swadhina conducted the program  .

1.Mihir Mahali       (Tribal)       10.Sachin Bhakat         (OBC)
2.Priyanka Majhi  (Tribal)        11.Krishna Mahali        (Tribal) 
3.Agasti Majhi      (Tribal)        12. Srimati Mahali        (Tribal)
4.Akash Mahali    (Tribal)        13. Nishant Mahali       (Tribal)
5.Bijoy Hembram  ( Tribal)      14. Prem Mahali           (Tribal)
6.Gayetri Mahali   (Tribal)       15 Singo Mahali            (Tribal)
7.Manish Mahali   (Tribal)       16.Saraswati Mahali     (Tribal)     
8. Parbati Mahali  (Tribal)       17. Sukurmoni Mahali   (Tribal)
9.Sharmila Mahali Tribal         18. Ramesh Mahali      (Tribal)

Sahoda village is about 40 km away from Tatanagar  and this village is the part of the Mosaboni block situated amidst hills and forests. Here the blanket distribution program was held on January 11, 2019 .On behalf of Swadhina Ms. Deboshree Das, Sri. Bhavesh Mahato and Sri. Ladu Ram Mahato conducted this programme.

1.Monika Banra          Tribal              17.Nilsen Banra             Tribal
2.Om Lohar                OBC               18. Khusi Banra             Tribal
3.Janki Banra             Tribal              19. Birsha Purty             Tribal
4.Supriya Hembram   Tribal              20. Darpan Karwa          Tribal   
5.Bijoy Banra             Tribal               21. Nara Banra              Tribal
6.Bablu Banra            Tribal              22. Mahi Murmu             Tribal
7.Jano Kalindi            OBC               23. Mahesh Karmakar   OBC
8.Dibru Banra            Tribal              24. Bishnu Karmakar     OBC
9.Mulia Banra            Tribal              25. Rahul Tudu              Tribal
10.Somoy Banra       Tribal              26. Dasma Banra          Tribal
11.Sukmati Banra     Tribal              27. Parvati Mann            OBC                                  
12. Chinta   Maan     OBC               28. Pintu Maan               OBC
13.Minu Banra         Tribal               29. Durga Banra            Tribal
14.Malti Tudu           Tribal               30. Lal Sing Gagrai       Tribal
15.Krishna Tudu      Tribal               31. Basu Soy                 Tribal
16.Upal Majhi          Tribal               32. Chandmuni Sing      Tribal             

1.Jai Hind Transport Services to transport the consignment from Kolkata to Jharkhand

2. Sant Nandlal Marwari Sat Sangh,  Ghatsila  for support in transporting the blankets to the remote Mosaboni.

Phase 2-  

Birhor is a tiny tribal community of Jharkhand. They  are basically forest dwellers  and dependant on fruit gathering and forest produce for their sustenance . During this winter two of their women died due to extreme cold. There are just 20 families in this Birhor settlement in Bhadua Panchayat located  about 10  km away from Ghatsila. Our Swadhina state office is located in Ghatsila town and we thought it to be an important task to help them.

On January 20,2019 we organized the blanket distribution program and each of these 21 families  was given a blanket.  This program was conducted by Swadhina Secretary Ms
Saswati Roy Patnaik  assisted by Ladu Ram Mahato. Sri Prasenjit Karmakar,  a teacher  from Sant Nandlal School was also present.These blankets were  procured with the kind donation  we received from a family  from Kerala  - Shivan, Deepthi and Paramesh .We record our sincere gratitude to them for this timely help.

  1. Haivan Birhor              11. Chudamoni Birhor
  2. Mongla Birhor             12. Abadi Birhor
  3. Bilam Birhor                13. Prandhon Birhor
  4. Makra Birhor               14. Chiti Birhor
  5. Robi Birhor                 15. Phagu Birhor
  6. Ruhidas Birhot            16. Kaju Birhor
  7. Sukram Birhor            17.Subecharan Birhor
  8. Saheb Birhor              18. Lakvay Birhor
  9. Guruva Birhor             19. Raban Birhor
  10. Suku Birhor                 20. Mohabir Birhor
                         21. Bishram Birhor

Documentation by:
Diptendu Mukerji