Thursday, March 23, 2017

GOOD HOPE SCHOOL : PROGRESS SHARING

Changing Life & Living: Children of Tomorrow
EDUCATION SUPPORT PROGRAMME: Education Support Programme is a special programme organised in the very remote areas ofJharkhand and West Bengal.
Education support is provided in the formof Good Hope Schools for very young children as well as free Coaching Centres for children ready to go to the middle school.

The aim of the schools is to ensure that the children from very poor, tribal families who could not have ever imagined that they would wear school uniforms and get access to colourful school books in the pre-primary level are actually getting educated in the kindergarten schools.
Good Hope Schools are special schools located in remote regions to provide quality pre-primary education to grass-root children. The schools deliberately focus on English as a medium of learning to break the traditional idea that only urban children have the scope and inclination to be taught English.
      
                   
A group of educationists with vast experience have put in their efforts to develop the curriculum for the schools. The focus of the schools is not just education but an overall improvement of the quality of lives of the children. That is why special days are organised – Independence Day, Children’s Day, Environment Day, Literacy Day etc – to help build awareness among the children. An environment-friendly proactive mind is created through efforts like sapling distribution and care among the children.


Another special focus is the health of the children. In these remote areas, health services reaching to these children is negligible. Moreover, there is the daunting task of low consciousness about nutrition.For this purpose, intermittent health check-ups are organised for the children. Doctors check-up the children for the identification of diseases in the children, if any. It also helps to monitor the health and nutrition levels of the children. Mothers of the children accompany the children so that health and nutrition related suggestions can be provided to them.
GOOD HOPE SCHOOL- KADMADIH: Supported by: AHP Foundation:  One such Good Hope School is located at Kadamdih. This Good Hope School has received kind support of AHP Foundation.
            
Kadamdih is a small village located in the Mosaboni block of East Singbhum district of Jharkhand. Almost all the population here are tribals – dominated by the Santhal adivasis. The inhabitants were originally settlers who were brought in to work in the mining and related industries. Overtime, these inhabitants have settled in these areas and some have acquired very small plots of farming land. But the majority of the population work as labourers – the men  mostly work as construction or daily labourers in the nearby town of Ghatsila or in cities like Jamshedpur. Some even work in other states. Some work as marginal agriculturists. The women work as support labours in the brick kilns located in nearby areas.


The primary school is located nearby but there are no pre-primary education centres offering quality education. The Anganwadi centre in the vicinity offers nutritional support to the children but not any form of real education. In order to get quality pre-primary education the children have to go to the nearest town of Ghatsila but to go there they have to ferry through a river which is a near impossibility for the children. Moreover, the Montessori schools there are too costly for the comfort of labourer parents. Being working in the cities, the parents are aware of pre-primary and Montessori schools but were so far unable to provide such education for their children in their village premises due to socio-economic reasons.
The Good Hope School has given them a good opportunity to provide for quality, holistic education for their children.

FUNCTIONING OF GOOD HOPE SCHOOLS: There are 20 enrolled students in Good Hope School at Kadmadih. The average presence in school is about 15. The teacher of Good Hope School is Gracy Kisku. Gracy has passed her higher secondary school.
Gracy not only is a diligent teacher but also updates herself regularly with teaching techniques through interaction with Saswati Roy- Secretary of Swadhina as well as a well-known teacher.
The teaching technique is totally different from that of usual schools, which make learning interesting as well as less burdensome for the children.

A VARIETY OF FLEX BANNERS ON HEALTH,  
NUTRITION & HYGIENE HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED




  

                  
                                          
                                                                                    
-The school offered many first opportunities for the children. On the occasion of Children’s Day, on 14th of November 2016,  the children got an opportunity to know that a special day is earmarked for children where their presence is celebrated. Special songs were sung and the children recited rhymes.

                     CHILDREN PARTICIPATE ENTHUSIASTICALLY IN SIT-N-DRAW CONTEST
-A special drawing contest was organised for the children on 7th of December 2016. Crayons were distributed among the children. This was the first time that the children ever got to use crayons. Their enthusiasm reached sky-high. With little fingers the children produced beautiful little drawings.
                       
 The children tasted delightful chocolate cakes – for many this was the first time that ever got to taste one!
At the end of the programme, the children were given little stationery items as gifts. And being the beginning of Winter Season, each child was given a woollen sweater.
                             THE LITTLE CHILDREN GLADLY ACCEPT THEIR WINTER WEAR
Coming from poor, marginalized families, for them these woollens are their only winter wear.
-The Final Evaluation for this batch of students took place on 24th of February 2017. Each child was provided an Evaluation Sheet. The teacher helped the children fill up the evaluation sheets. To make the atmosphere a fun celebration, each child was given a packet of chips.
Their grade assessment based on their evaluation is ready for distribution.
The new session would begin from April 2017.
FOOD & NUTRITION ENHANCEMENT THROUGH KITCHEN GARDEN: Due to constant motivation of the mothers, as well as the women of the region, women have begun to use their kitchen garden for nutritional requirement of their families. Normally dependant on rice, dal, potatoes, the families have now begun to consume pumpkin, Red Amaranth, spinach, papaya, gourd, okra, brinjal as a part of their daily diet. This has helped improve the diet and nutrition of the children and women as well. Some women have also sold surplus vegetables in the local market.


THEIR STORIES:
Payel Hansda & Kunami Hansda: 5year old Payel and 3year old Koonami Hansda, both are students of Good Hope School. They have two older sisters. Ram Hansda and Sabitri Hansda want to ensure that all their four daughters get good education. So, while the young ones are sent to Good Hope School, the older ones study in classes five and eight in government schools. Ram is a temporary auto driver, while Sabitri grows a vegetable or two in the little plot of land that they have. For the parents, looking at their girls learning to write English alphabets is a dream come true.
Reshmi Majhi: Little Reshmi Majhi is all of five years old. Her father is a daily labourer. Her mother used to be a brick kiln labourer but due to the birth of a baby boy, she is currently at home, looking after the six month old baby. When Reshmi goes to Good Hope School, her mother gets some time to rest – as otherwise the little girl and the baby keep her too occupied. She feels happy that Reshmi is learning words that she has never known about!
Shureeta Murmu: Shureeta is the only child of her parents. Her father is a daily construction labourer while her mother is a brick kiln worker. Her mother drops her to school on her way to work. For her mother, this provides a relief to know that her daughter is safe and secure in her school. While her parents hardly know to read or write, Shureeta has learnt to write from 1 to 10 with much confidence.
Rina Majhi: Four year old Rina has a two and half year old brother. Her father currently works in the mines. They have a small slice of land which they use for growing paddy or some local vegetables. Rina’s parents are very hopeful that their daughter would excel in her studies and make them proud.


Write to us: swadhina_org@yahoo.com /mainoffice.swadhina@gmail.com
With regards,
Team Swadhina
34/C Bondel Road, Kolkata 700019. Tel: + 22870934

www.swadhina.org.in

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Women's Day : Some Thoughts !



Women’s Day : 2017 – 8th March

Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50


From being a demand for equal rights of women factory workers to aspiring for an equal planet, International Women’s Day has come a long way. Even though the day comes today with commercial packages like discount on hair treatment to buy one get one free offers, the day remains as a quest for a world free of discrimination.

International Women’s Day is an opportunity when we share stories of discrimination, stories of achievement, stories of movements across the globe with one single objective – to look forward to a world that celebrates womanhood.

Building on the theme of Planet 50-50, the UN theme this year is ‘Women in the Changing World of Work’.

It is a very significant theme as it covers all the aspects that rule a society today – it talks about economic, social and political rights of Women. It talks about the need to recognise the contribution of women to the work force across the world. It recognises the need to acknowledge the economic significance of women. For a change, it sees women beyond the role of domestic responsibilities.

Yes, it is a changing world of work. It is world where young girls are being sent for education with the hope that they would choose a career for themselves. It is world where women can aspire to lead their organisation. It is a world where a woman can choose to have a bank account to save her hard earned income.
But is this significant enough to believe that the world has become nearly equal ?
A report mentioned in Wall Street Journal states that ‘Women are still underrepresented at every corporate level and hold less than 30% of roles in senior management.’ Which means that the world is ready to accept women as workers in corporate sectors but not ready enough to accept women in  the position of a leader.

And obviously, this discrimination is not just rampant in the urban corporate sector. A study by FAO has pointed out that women comprise an average 43 percent of the agricultural labour force of developing countries. The female share of the agricultural labour force ranges from about 20 percent in the Americas to almost 50 percent in East and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. However, irrespective of the immense contribution that women provide towards land and land based activities their right over land, land produce, land ownership, land tenure, decision-making is extremely limited. Another study titled “Gender and Land Statistics” by FAO gave an introduction to the Gender and Land Rights Database (GLRD) looking at the distribution of agricultural holders by sex. It was revealed that in India, the percentage of land holding by female ranges between 10-19%. Also, it was observed that in case of Joint or Solo ownership in South Asian countries the ratio of male to female land ownership is at 27:10 and 52.2:8.5 in India and Bangladesh, respectively.

Which again points out to the fact that women seldom have a right over the land that they nurture. The world is ready to take in their sweat, their soiled fingers, their bent backs but is never ready to accept their role as land owners.

A major reason behind such discrimination is the politics of economy. A share in productivity and prosperity would immediately attach a social significance. With right and control comes power and the world is not ready to accept that! The history of mankind points out to the fact that with power comes the right to subjugate and hence the reluctance to handover women that power. The moment a woman assumes the power to lead men under her, the power to sell her own produce, the power to decide on her income, she weakens the forces that keep her suppressed. Then she goes against the social norms of an unequal world.

The society at large is ready to give women some rights – bit by bit – but not every right. Yes, you can go to office but you must remember to make the dishes when you are back home. Yes, ofcourse you can earn as an agricultural labourer but then you must be ready to hand over your income to your husband for his drinking and gambling – he is a man and he needs his share of ‘stressbusters’. And if you are a mother, it is you who has to tie the child to your back and work in the field – even though it may be physically challenging for you!

And if you dare violate, there are tools available to put you ‘back in track’. They would mock you, share obscene jokes in your presence and let out sexual remarks till you give up your job! If you dare ask for your share of land or property, they would not hesitate to brand you as a ‘witch’ and socially ostracise you! And they know that inspite of all this you would certainly hide the blue-black marks on your body and report to your work the next day! You would still choose to ignore the uncomfortable touch of your boss for the sake of your children back home!

An equal world is the one which, inspite and despite social norms and customs, offers women the equal chance to flourish – to sign land related documents, to decide on the price of agricultural produce, to come home late due to work pressure (and not be compelled to follow it up with yet another round of domestic chores). An equal world guarantees that a woman construction labourer would not be dragged by her supervisor to raped and re-raped in lieu of yet another day’s wages and the safety to a woman call centre worker to be back home safe in the middle of the night – without being afraid of beastly predators. That day the world would certainly be equal when the world would perceive the rape of a sex worker as a crime and not overlook sexual advances by a male colleague as ‘just a small, friendly banter’.

And that day we really do not need to designate and observe a separate day for women, when the world would perceive ‘Equality’ as a need and not a choice. Till then – long live Women’s Day and the quest for an equal world….
SWADHINA, 34 C Bondel Road,  Kolkata-700019, India





Tuesday, January 10, 2017

KITCHEN GARDENS : A SIMPLE WAY TO ESTABLISH GENDER RIGHTS

KITCHEN GARDENS : 
A SIMPLE WAY TO ESTABLISH GENDER RIGHTS

A small programme, implemented for a group of 22 rural women, became a powerful symbol of the right of women over land and livelihood. The programme was carried out in two remote villages of East Singbhum, Jharkhand, with support of the organisation SARRA, under the aegis of the National

Swadhina field staff helps in design of the garden
Engagement Strategy programmes of International Land Coalition.

 One of the main components of the programme was to develop kitchen gardens (called FAITH gardens) to ensure:
1. Right to land and livelihood for women.
2. Using land judiciously for livelihood as well as for providing nutrition to the family.

Following a Training of Trainers, organised by SARRA and training for the selected beneficiaries, the Kitchen Gardens were developed. Though it would sound an easy task, it was extremely daunting , mostly because it is unheard of in the area that women could be owners of land – however small the plot may be.

Swadhina has been intensely engaged in sensitization programmes in the area for promoting women’s land rights. And it was much helpful for the women to convince their families to allot a piece of land for them.

Following this, sample maps were drawn to help the beneficiaries understand the position and space allotted for seed bed, fencing, open space to facilitate watering etc.
The training and a proto-type map of individual gardens, helped the women to mark out the seed beds/sapling area. They then went on to prepare the seed bed as per the training they received. Each of the Kitchen Garden were fenced with Bamboo pieces as pillars. Strong wire mesh-nets were used to reinforce the fencing.  Not only was it interesting to see how the women came forward to engage themselves in activities ‘supposedly done by men’, it was equally interesting to see how the men of the families came forward to support their wives or daughters-in-law.

Over time the gardens became fully functional kitchen garden, filled with vegetables of high nutritional quality.


Recently during a visit by the Swadhina team, the women came forward to offer fresh grown vegetables – pumpkin, brinjal, red spinach from their ‘own’ garden, as a mark of gratitude for having helped them gain a new identity.

We often help our mother in watering the plants !
OUTCOME OF THE PROGRAMME:

The Kitchen Garden programme have been beneficial in many ways.
i) It helped establish the fact that woman DO have the right to own a piece of family land – however small or big.
ii) It gave a scope to the families to be a part of the process of women’s right and access to land.
iii) The gardens provided a source of direct nutrition to the women and their families.
iv) Being located in the vicinity and in the control of women, these gardens ensured food security for the families.
v) Being nurtured by women, these gardens established the identity of women as able farmers.

Our regular nutrition supplier now.... fresh always !

Children now love fresh and green vegetables !





Monday, November 7, 2016

This Christmas Gift someone Unknown to you






Responses to our Appeal (given below) have started trickling in ! We profusely express our heartfelt thanks to the following friends for their immediate Donations. We also hope other well wishers will kindly help us.
1.Ms. Panchali Goswami Bhattacharya, Kolkata     INR. 1000/-
2.Ms. Sonia Bhattacharya, Bangalore                         INR 1000/-
3.Rasa & Rian Chatterjee, Kolkata                               INR  500/- (worth of gifts like crayons, drawing books, pencils and cup cakes)                                





Gift a Magic!!
For little Joyce Murmu, a visit to the local city of Ghatsila meant watching young girls of her age going to the local school in their fresh, colourful uniforms with school bags, nice shoes and socks. Being from the remote village of Kadamdih in Jharkhand, this was all but a dream. Today, Joyce goes to the Swadhina Good Hope School set up in her village. She too has a colorful uniform like her friends in the city and gets to learn little English rhymes like them.

For Ratuli Sahis, life as a marginal farmer was difficult. She had to balance her house-hold work with her on-off work as a land labourer. That was the only way she could support her big family. Swadhina’s help to her in the form of a pair of goats came as a boon to her. Now she has a comfortable life by Animal Reaing with goats and hens as her source of income. She has managed to repair her dilapidated house and is able to afford school education for her children.

Being the third among her seven siblings, Tapati’s life was a story of a never-ending drudgery  – bringing in unending buckets of water from the local tap, washing huge pile of utensils and washing clothes from dawn to mid-noon. However, being offered a chance by Swadhina, she enrolled for a Batik Handicraft Training course of three months in her locality. Diligently, she took out time from her busy schedule to attend the classes. At the end of the course she became so well versed with the
intricacies of the craft that she began to get offers from different boutiques. She now is a permanent staff in a renowned fashion boutique in New Delhi. She has evolved herself from the ashes of her drudgery to be an empowered, young woman.

 It is the Christmas Season once again. It is the time of gifts and merrymaking. So, this time why not Gift a Magic ? 'Gift a Magic' is a gift that would bring in a positive change in the lives of those who are deprived of the privilege of a better life and livelihood. It is a gift that empower women and children themselves-belonging to the extreme marginalised sections of the society located in Purulia (West Bengal), East Singbhum (Jharkhand), Mayurbhanj (Odisha), East Champaran (Bihar) and Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu) through our organisation, SWADHINA. Your support can go a long way to bring in a postive change in the lives of many more Joyce, Ratuli or Tapati. It would help us help people like them have a better life and living; it would help us enlighten the light of magic in their lives! This Christmas, let there be light in the life of little Joyce !

There are three activities that you can help support:
* Support a Rural School - Good Hope School : US$ 50 / € 50 / £ 45      
(School Dresses/Shoes-Socks/Books/Copies/Sweaters for 5 students)

* Support Skill Training Programme for Rural Women: US$ 50 / € 50 / £ 45
(Skill Training for 5  Young Rural Women )       

* Support for providing Animal Resources to Landless or Marginal
    Farmer Women : US$ 50 / € 50 / £ 45
(Animal Support in the form 20 ducks/ hen or 1 goat each for 5 women)

You can send your donation through A/c Payee Cheque issued in the name of :  SWADHINA and mail it to :  Swadhina, 34/C Bondel Road, Kolkata 700019,  India.

Also, please share this Appeal with your friends and dear ones so that they too may take part in this joy of sharing.

SWADHINA, 34 C Bondel Road, Kolkata – 700019, India

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

PEACE DAY 2016

Swadhina organised the Peace Day on 2nd October, commemorating the Gandhii Jayanti, What elese could have been more appropriate than coinciding the day with the birthday of the man who is the prime symbol of peace and non-violence.

Peace, Mututal Goodwill and Progress - this was the primary theme of a one-day workshop organised by Swadhina on 2nd of October 2016 at Ghatsila, Jharkhand State. Altogether 43 persons were present on this occasion. As explained being the symbolism of Social Justice, Gandhiji's birthday was a apt opportunity to discuss on the issue. Speaking on this occasion, Smriti Sarkar, President of Swadhina, highlighted the fact that war and violence has direct effects on women. While on one hand women are constantly at a threat of domestic violence, in situations of war and violence, it is the women who suffer the most.

Ms.B.Kachhap, a former Sschool Principal, highlighted the fact that 'progress' is a holistic term that involves political, economical and social responses - and of which, Peace is a prime requisite.

Ms. Subhra Pani, a home maker, spoke on the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi towards world peace.



Ms.Amita Bose felt that peace and progress were inter-dependant on each other and progress can not be totally achieved if there is a lack of peace or lack of mutual goodwill.

Dr.Prabal Sanatani, senior correspondent of Hindustan Times newspaper speaking on the theme said that Peace in individual context is perhaps an easier concept but when we try to put it in the social or national perspective things become difficult. Individually, whenever we are wrong we ask for forgiveness and if there is a mutual understanding, we reach a solution. But in the larger perspective it becomes a huge challenge. However, if we practice the same principle of good will and mutual understanding , peace is possible. He said that if we are asleep, then can be an effort for awakening but if we pretend to be asleep, no amount of effort to awaken or to improve on awarenessn is possible. But for the sake of progress we must carry on the efforts to instill peace and goodwill.

Speaking on this occasion, Prof. Badal Chandra Bhakat, insisted that in situation where there is mutual distrust, violence there cannot be either Peace or Progress. It is not that there should not be any protest against atrocities. Beginning from South Africa, Gandhiji himself has demonstrated how protests can be peaceful. He propagated the ideas of non-violent means of resilience.  He explained how Gandhiji had protested against the British government through intelligent, non-violent movements. Prof. Bhakat also said that the real need in India to propagate progress is to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system. But no system can function if we have discrimination amongst ourselves. We must have a system of mutual goodwill intact, for progress to happen.

Ms.Ratna Mukherjee, a school teacher, felt that the feeling peace comes from within - from each individual of the society. If individually we believe in the theory of Peace and begin the process of non-violence, it is possible to build a progessive society on the foundations of peace and mutual trust.

Social worker Sunita Rani Sarkar gave a brief talk on Gandhiji's quest for a corruption free society and his constant efforts to develop a nation on the foundations of non-violence.

Social worker, Prabir Sarkar, said that much of the peace efforts comes form women and a nation that believes in the progress of nation is a truly progressive nation. And for that it is very important that women of the nation are empowered enough. There are many schemes for the benefit of women and we must ensure that the schemes reach women in the remotest regions.

Ms.Ratna Das, Ms.Karmi Kisku, Ms.Soumita Sanatani enthralled the audience with their songs. While the bold recitations of Ms.Nilima Sarkar, Ms. Sabita Banerjee and Ms.Ratna Mukherjee mesmerised all present. 

The programs of the day were moderated by Ms.Nilima Sarkar, a high school teacher and a Swadhina Member. The event ended with a symbolic song, all sang together "aguner parashmoni" by Poet Tagore, meaning "cleanse us with thy pure light" !




Thursday, September 29, 2016

Anandam 2016 : Swadhina Annual Get Together



Anandam 2016

Anandam 2016, our annual get together of Swadhina was held from 13th to 15th August, 2016. Every year our Swadhina workers from all over the country eagerly await for this event. This is an opportunity to meet many Swadhina activists from the five states in which we work namely Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu.
Decorating for the Festivity

The programme was held at the spacious Nitika Don Bosco centre located at the eastern part of Kolkata, which has scenic beauty with a good number of large trees and green lawns. Some enthusiastic participants, like Saswati and the Ghatsila (Jharkhand) team, Sugandhi and Gnanadhas of Kanya Kumari (Tamilnadu)  reached Kolkata the previous day. They got busy arranging for the files, pens, posters and all related conference materials.

13 August, 2016 (Saturday)
The event started at 10 a.m. with participants registering their names. This was held at the auditorium of the Nitika centre. Participants from different parts of the country started arriving at the venue.

Friendship Knot
The programme was inaugurated in a very unique and participatory way. All the participants were given small candles and each one was asked to bind a friendship band on the hand of the person sitting next. Thereafter, together we all sang Poet Tagore famous song “Aguner Parash moni Chhoaon Praney” – meaning 'Oh almighty touch our hearts,  as the flame shines around, bless our lives'. It was indeed a very touchy moment as many friends meeting each other after many years, especially the ones who could not 

come for the event during the recent years !

Ms. Supta Mukerji, founder Treasurer, welcomed the gathering and said “this is a great opportunity when we meet each other. I specially welcome our friends from Bihar Ms. Rambhabala. She has come with her son, Dipak. Her son was a much younger when she
Tamil Nadu Team
brought him along in one of the earlier Anandam. I am also glad to meet Gnanadhas from distant Kanyakumari – located just at the end of our country. He recently met with a bike accident – I could see he is still limping. This shows how much love they have for Swadhina.” She also explained the story about the birth of Swadhina about thirty years ago. It is indeed a saga of togetherness for a long period of time. “From a humble beginning, by the grace of God, we could travel so much of our journey and could make our presence in five states of our country” she added.

It was then time for some music, and, participants were asked to present songs in their own languages. We had melodious Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, Odia, Santhali songs which was indeed a mood setter for the event.

Bihar Team
Thereafter we had an interesting session on “Our Festivals”. Partiacipants were divided into groups according the region they represent and each group was asked to draw out a list of various festivals observed in their area. Then from each group there was a presentation in which the group explained the details of the festival observed in their region. It was indeed a show-case of a varied cultural diversity of our country.

Thereafter a session was held on the campaign of Swadhina. Each language goup was given copies of various campaign materials brought out by Swadhina i.e. Cartoon Booklets on Land Rights, Booklets on Social Awareness and so on. The groups were asked to discuss the effective way to use these at the grass roots level for our forthcoming campaigns.

There was video show on the Anandam held 13 years ago, which was indeed a nostalgic journey into the past. Many of the participants were over-whelmed seeing their young-self.  Rijul, our student intern who was operating the LCD projector was seen in the video
Jharkhand Team
as a little kid !!  

14 August 2016 (Sunday)
After the breakfast the morning session started with the Swadhina theme song “Manush to ek din jagbei”(meaning people are going to awake, some day. Things would change only if we work together, and,  in a unified manner, for change.) After this there were songs presented in different language.

Here after the most vital session on Presentation of Activity Reports was held. To begin with Ms. Saswati Roy, Secretary and Chief Functionary of Swadhina presented an overall progress report of the Organisation. She narrated about different thematic orientation of Swadhina programmes for the past
Odisha Team
year. She also narrated about the women’s land and property rights issues in which Swadhina is collaborating with International Land Coalition. She narrated about the interaction she had at the South Africa Meet of ILC . She also narrated about the  Global Land Forum meet held at Senegal, Africa attended by Smriti Sarkar and Subhadip Mukerji for Swadhina.

Founder Supta presents Special Prizes
Karmi Kisku presented a short report about the activities being carried out in her area by Swadhina. In her area, she explained, Swadhina projects are based around Ghatsila in East Singbhum district of Jharkhand.  Kitchen Garden made by village women are established in  21  plots in Kadamdih, Amainagar and Benasole village, mostly in Santhal tribal families. It has  started giving steady supply of nutritional food for families, i.e. vegetable and required green leaves. An  English pre-primary school under the Good Hope School programme of Swadhina has been established in Kadamdih village. Besides opening of bank accounts by women and women unorganised labourers insurance programme is going on successfully. A good number of
Special Prize to Gnanadhas of Tamil Nadu
women have come 
forward for marriage registration programme which is helpful for assuring women’s property rights. Besides, a good number of women have been trained in Swadhina social training programme like animal care and community health.

Monoranjan Bairagi presented a work report on the activities being carried out in rural Purulia district in West Bengal villages : Sosandih, Hatnadih, Taladih, Bongorah, and Charrhi - in Borabazar Block.  Here regular training on education for parents,  health care, animal care are being held. Health check up camps for children and women are being conducted regularly by Dr. Sahebram Gope, a voluntary doctor. Three Good Hope School programmes are being held for the children of pre-primary age.

Rambhabala from Bihar region said that much could not be done during the past years,
Games for Children !
but, assured that soon the centres will be re-organised and programmes conducted. However, she said “conducting awareness interaction for women is the need of the hour.”

Laduram Mahado narrated the details of the Children Education Support centre being run at the Bondih area. He explained that about 50 children belonging to Class II, Class III, and Class IV come regularly during the afternoon coaching clasess, being conducted by an experienced teacher Banka Bihari Mahato. This is being held at Bondih Swadhina centre in East Singbhum, Jharkhand State.

Ms. Nirmala Sahu pesented the report for the Odisha programmes. She explained that here the programme has two dimension. One, environment related activities involving children and two, income generation training for village women. These programmes are going on smoothly.

There after a short cultural programme was held, conducted by Srichandra.




15 August, 2015
Today is the Independence Day of India. After the breakfast all the participants gathered at the ground of Nitika for flag hoisting. Father- in- charge of the Nitika Don Bosco centre hoisted the flag and  a large gathering of Nitika staff and well wishers and local congregation members were present. In his short speech he said "we all must always do good things for the society, that is the only way this society will become a good society". At the end  of the meet, our  Odisha  convener Nirmala Sahu raised the traditional slogans “Vande Mataram” – long live mother india.

Thereafter we all again assembled at the auditorium -  Anandam venue. 
Secretary Saswati' Reporting Progress
In the following session, Ms. Smriti Sarkar explained the programmes conducted by the head office during the past year.  Several important audio-visual tools were brought out last year, including coloured posters on women’s rights, nutrition flash cards, flex banners and so on. The house journal Swadhina  had several issues brought out, which were shared among NGOs and social activists active in village situations. She also narrated various training programmes conducted during the past year.

There were various creative interactions including short drama on social issues. One short drama each in Odia, Bengali and Hindi language were prepared by the participants which were the main attraction of the final day. In the afternoon the dramas were performed and the participants enjoyed the show.

There was a short session on future perspective conducted by Diptendu Mukerji, an experienced  planning expert. He narrated the various future perspectives of Swadhina  in a Logframe narrative, and, stressed that in future Swadhina would be engaged in :
-         Women’s economic empowerment, including bank savings, insurance
-         Women’s Land and Property Rights
-         Children’s Education and Environment Awareness
-         World Peace and Harmony

In the concluding session Srichandra placed a short concluding remark and proposed the vote of thanks.

The event Anandam – which literary means “Joy” ended in a befitting manner with a group dance on a tribal song.  

Prepared by:  Diptendu Mukerji