Monday, July 18, 2016


Animal Care Training : A Report
Place: Dharmasala, Ghatsila


Date: 5th -7th July 2016

The first day began at 10:30 am with the registration of the participants. It was then time for an inaugural song. “Aguner Poroshmoni” – a famous song by Tagore was chosen as an inaugural song. Ms. Supta Mukherji, the Founder-Treasurer of Kolkata gave the inaugural speech over a tele-call from Kolkata. She welcomed all the women participants and highlighted the fact that welfare of every family depends on the welfare of the women of the family. Hence it is important for women to be self-reliant and animal rearing is one such avenue. 


Participants

A special training focussing on animal rearing, care and effective use of animal resources took place on 5th – 7th July 2016. Smriti Sarkar, Diptendu Mukherji from Kolkata; Laduram Mahato and Prabir Sarkar from Jharkhand were the main resource persons. Altogether 20 participants from various villages took part in this training.
Day One: 5th July 2016
Introducing the training concept, Mr.Diptendu Mukherjee said that the training has been mainly organised for women participants, because it is the women who do animal rearing in most families. The basic objective of the training is to provide scope to women for income generation: both as animal rearers, as well as village vets. He said that, animal rearing is a viable income-generation option for families which have less land-based agriculture. However, it is not just important to rear animals but also rear animals in a more methodical and scientific process so as to reduce animal mortality. Proper animal care would ensure not just reduction in animal mortality but also improve animal produce – in terms of meat, milk, eggs etc.
Sharing the result of the group task
The first detailed session was on bird rearing and bird care. This was conducted by Smriti Sarkar. She gave a detailed explanation as to why bird rearing is a viable option for women. She gave a very detailed explanation on how to rear birds scientifically – their place of stay, ideal food for the birds, egg-laying spaces etc. This was followed by a very detailed discussion on several diseases and their cure – including vaccination. Fowl pox, worm infestation, blood dysentery, Duck plague, Duck cholera etc. The participants too asked questions on the various ways of treating the animals. The different vaccinations were discussed – BCRTV vaccine, F1 vaccine etc. The participants wer very pleased to know the different medicines to be administered in case of various diseases. Alongside the method of administration was also discussed in detail.
The session for the day came to a closure with a question-answer session with the participants.


Day Two: 6th July 2016
The session for the day began at 9:00 am. The training focussed on goat rearing. Speaking on goat rearing Smriti Sarkar explained how goats can be reared quite easily by women. She explained the process by which goat-shed can be built within the household premises itself. It is easy to arrange food for goat, since they mostly depend on fresh, green grass from the vicinity. This was followed by a detailed discussion on goat diseases, goat treatment and cure. The importance of goat vaccination was also highlighted.
The participants were then divided into two groups. One group was led by Saswati Roy and the other group was led by Prabir Sarkar. The group discussions focussed on animal care techniques based on the study materials provided.
Certificate for the Participants
Post the group discussion, a representative from each group came forward to explain what they had discussed so far.
The following session focussed on details about goat vaccination and diseases. PPR,Foot and Mouth, Anthrax, Gastina etc were discussed in detail.
Following this a detailed discussion took place on the viability and different income generation possibilities through rearing of goats.
The post lunch session was on pig rearing. From pig rearing to diseases concerning pigs, including treatment – every detail was discussed.
This was followed by practical session on vaccination for the participants. The participants learnt how to administer vaccines for birds and animals through live demonstration and hands-on training.

Day Three: 7th July 2016
The day began at 9:00 am with a recapitulation of the training so far. Following this, the participants were divided into four groups.  Each group was given an animal/bird to choose from : Goat, Pig, Hen, Duck. Each of the groups was then asked to prepare a poster on their respective animal/bird –highlighting atleast five benefits of rearing each of the animals. A representative from each group was then asked to explain their poster.It was interesting  to see the groups come up with very interesting points.
Tribal Dance : a part of the learning with joy
Following this the participants were each asked to write down their individual learning from the trainings and their overall experience. They then read out their writing.
The training concluded with the handing over of certificates to the participants.
The final touch was lent in the form of a song “Bhaduriar taney nachey mon” by the participants.

Impressions....                                       

Shankar Mahato:  This training was an enlightening process. I could learn a lot many things – bird rearing, goat rearing, pig rearing – and in detail. I’ve come to also know about Swadhina and how the organisation wishes to empower our women through education, health care and income generation.

Tapasi Sahis: I’ve been associated with Swadhina for a long time. For me it is interesting to learn new and scientific methods of animal rearing.  I wish to utilize this knowledge in an effective way in my field areas.

Golapi Tudu:  I loved this training. We have been rearing animals but never knew this much detail about rearing. I have enjoyed every bit of learning about rearing of hen, duck, pig, goat. This has provided me immense knowledge.

Panto Karmakar: I’ve never been to any residential trainings prior to this. I feel feel excited, having had the opportunity to learn many things.

Hiramoni Tudu: This gave me a very good opportunity to know about things that I hadn’t known earlier. So, I  learnt about treatment of animals reared at home.

Chandana Mahato: The training was very detailed. What was interesting for me, is the information about vaccines. I shall utilize the knowledge in treating animals in our village.

Practical session on Chicken Vaccination
Janki Hansda: I’ve always been interested about pig rearing and treatment of pigs, so this training was very important for me. It gave me a very good theoretical as well as practical exposure.

Sunita Kisku: Many of us have been doing animal rearing for a long time but we hardly know such details. There were many things I hadn’t ever thought of but now I’ve learnt so many things.

Sonamoni Tudu: I am very happy that I was selected for this training. I’ve never had the opportunity to participate in such trainings earlier. This would help me become economically empowered as well.

Pushing Injection: There is always a first time !
Sanjit Baskey: I am honoured to be a part of this training programme. I had very little  awareness about the different animal diseases. I not only wish to utlilize the training myself but also impart the awareness to others in near future.

Shyamal Tudu: This was an interesting training. Especially, learning about the medicines to be administered was very important for me. Often we learn about rearing but never about health care. Here we learnt each and every detail.

Kaleswar Kisku: The training was very interesting. We learnt so much about animal rearing.

Rani Tudu:  We have a lot animals in the village. They often die because we do not know how to take care of them. We cannot afford vets either. So this was really important for us. This would be very beneficial in future.
P



Sunday, November 15, 2015

YMCA Week of Prayer: A Swadhina presentation on the theme of ‘Children and the Message of Hope’

On 14th of November 2015, Swadhina was invited to make a presentation on the issue of Hope in the social context. 14th November being Children’s Day in India, the theme was on Children. 9 members from Swadhina team, including 3 children gave a wonderful presentation on the theme of ‘Children and the message of Hope’. The presentation included reading presentations, interspersed with rendering of songs. The programme was highly appreciated.


 Here is the print of the presentation that we did that day:

Introduction: Children are the gift of God to mankind. It is through children that we pass on our heritage; it is through children that we build our future. But it is equally distressing is the fact that today children are perhaps the most vulnerable community. Be it war, poverty, hunger or trafficking – it is children who are the prime victims.

Speaker 1: One of the biggest and shameful menace that exists today is the issue of Child Labour. Just consider these facts:
An estimated 246 million children are engaged in child labour. Nearly 70 per cent (171 million) of these children work in hazardous conditions – including working in mines, working with chemicals and pesticides in agriculture or with dangerous machinery.
Nearly 1.2 million children are trafficked, 5.7 million children are forced into debt bondage or other forms of slavery and 1.8 million children are forced into prostitution and/or pornography .
The Asia and Pacific region harbours the largest number of child workers in the 5 to 14 age group, 127.3 million in total.

(Song 1 : Talapini re)

Speaker 1: The song you just heard is the message of hope that the angels imparted to the shepherds about the birth of Chirst. Like God has always sent a message of hope during the times of distress, there is always a ray of silver lining too.
* Governments all over the world has been proactive about Child Labour laws. In India too we have strong Child Labour laws which makes it an offence to employ children below 14 years.
* There was once a tendency of employing small children as domestic help. That tendency is declining. We are now conscious of the fact that employing children for domestic work is a punishable offence.
* There have been a number of activists and organisations relentlessly working to bring forward the issue of child labour and championing their cause. Activists like Kailash Satyarthi have been successful in bringing out the distress of children involved in various industries.
* But we still have a long way to go. It is not just enough to have laws, there is a need to have a strong monitoring system to ensure that the laws are properly implemented. Especially the issue of child trafficking needs adequate attention and action.
* We, as common citizens can be messengers of hope as well. We need to be alert and aware. If ever we find children wrongfully employed, we have to be practive and report to the respective authorities.

Speaker 2: Whenever we speak about children, the first thing that comes to our mind is school. We cannot think of children without school but the reality is harsh.
One in five children, about 120 to 125 million children, are not enrolled in school. Of those who do receive an education, mostly in the developing world, one in five do not make it past the fifth grade. 
In India, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), shows that even though the number of rural students attending schools is rising, but more than half of the students in fifth grade are unable to read a second grade text book and are not able to solve simple mathematical problems.
In the developing countries, most of the schools do not have the basic infrastructure. Most of the classes are held in open, under the trees or in inadequate rooms.

(Song 2 : Jeevan Roopi mor donga)

Speaker 2: When the times are bad, the sea is rough, we close our eyes and depend on God. We believe that he will take us to the right direction where we may find hope. In the same way, we need to be totally disheartened. There are many positive steps that are being taken to ensure that our citizens of tomorrow are not left without education.
* The Right to Education Act in India for example is a landmark act, to ensure that all the children below the age of fourteen is ensured free and compulsory education. This act has also ensured that the children from economically impoverished families too get a chance to study in good schools.
* In India there are many schemes aimed at improving the infrastructure of rural schools. As a result many schools now have new buildings including computers.
* Many schemes are also introduced whereby scholarships are offered to high school students from socio-economically backward classes. This has enabled many worthy children to go in for higher education.
* Young girls like Malala Yousufzai have stood up to guns and violence, just to prove the point that eduation is the right of every child. In India too we have noticed the trend of girls resisting forced marriages to continue their education.
* As citizens, we too have our responsibilities. If we find a poor child going to school, we can offer to buy her books, we can provide free tuitions to them. We can also support and sponsor schools run by different NGOs for poor children. We can visit rural or slum schools and offer to teach the children.

Speaker 1: As we bite into good food today, let us not forget the millions of children who go to bed hungry. There are children who fight their daily battles with hunger and poverty. Think about this:
* Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. That is 8,500 children per day.
*  66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world.
* Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger-related diseases.
* Some 300 million children go to bed hungry every day. 
( Song 3 : Shepherd of my soul)
Speaker 1: Children are innocent souls. They depend on God whole-heartedly. Similarly they depend on us for their basic needs. Food is their basic need. It is upto us to provide them hope, to provide them their basic needs.
* The mid-day meal scheme, inspite of different criticisms, have been able to provide food to thousands of little children of impoverished families in India. It has ensured that the children have atleast one nutritious meal a day, other than their regular meal.
* Health programmes, both by the government and different NGOs have helped track severe cases of malnutrition among children and take adequate measures. Many NGOs, Government have made nutritious food supplements to address the need of malnutrition.
* As citizens we have a huge responsibility too. For one, we must stop wastage of food. There is a global campaign across the world about this issue. And we have to be active as well. Curbing extra expenditure for food during celebrations, we can offer food to the poor children instead. The huge wedding expenses on different cuisines of food can easily be replaced by a simple menu, in remembrance of millions of children who go to bed hungry.

Speaker 2: This is just tip of the ice-berg. There are many, many problems and issues. And there are solutions as well. How we approach to solve the problems is upto us. On behalf of Swadhina, we have tried to look into the problems and find solutions in our own little ways. We have carried out campaigns against child labour and the different violence and violations faced by children over the years. “I am not well” has been one such campaign booklet that we have sent across to raise awareness on the issue.
We struggled relentlessly on the issue of children’s education for past 29 years. From NFE centres to interesting primers, we have put in our bit. Currently we have held out hope for the children of rural, tribal areas in the form of pre-primary schools called ‘Good Hope Schools”.
Food security and nutrition have been one of our thrust areas. Our workers have developed the low cost alternative to health drinks in the form of ‘ Nutrimix” – made of cheap, locally available ingredients. This food supplement have successfully provided nutrition to many poor children.
These are just examples of how we can all contribute to the ray of hope. You, me, us – we have all been sent to this world with a purpose. We have all been blessed with different abilities. It is upto us as to how we can use the blessings of God, and our talents to usher in the message of Hope for all – especially the children of the world.

(Song 4 – Final Song: Stuti Aradhana)





Friday, April 3, 2015

                                                                  WOMEN’S DAY 2015

Every year International Women’s Day is an event we look forward to. Being a women’s organization, it is a special opportunity for us to reach out different issues to the masses, especially giving a reason for the women to celebrate a day specially designated to them. This year we decided to orgnise the day in three different venues, covering women from different backgrounds . So, the programmes were organized at Kolkata in West Bengal, Moubhandar near Ghatsila in East Singbhum-Jharkhand, Benasole village in Mosaboni block in East Singbhum-Jharkhand and Betnoti area in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. While in Kolkata the invitees comprised of women from contrast backgrounds like women from urban locales as well as slum dwellers; in Benasole and Betnoti the participants were all tribal women belonging to the extremely impoverished rural regions whereas in Moubhandar it was an interesting mix of women belonging to Harijan colonies and women involved in factory work. The overall experience was richly rewarding because irrespective of the background, one thing was loud and clear – women are changing! The thought process, the involvement in the society, the participation of women were gradually undergoing a drastic change in the positive direction. What was more interesting was the fact that except in Kolkata where the meet was organized by Swadhina main office, the meets in the other two areas were organized totally by the local initiative with the whole-hearted involvement of local women. It was a sign that a positive change is finally happening!

1) Kolkata: 8th March 2015 :
On 8th March 2015, the day was celebrated near the main office premises at Kolkata. The community reading room of a local library was the venue. The programme began at 10:00 am and concluded at 2:00 pm.  35 women participants from different strata of the society took part in this meet. The event began with a welcome speech by Supta Mukherji, the founder of Swadhina. Swadhina Secretary Saswati welcomed everyone to join in for a song. A popular song of Tagore was chosen as the inaugural song. All the   participants sang along.
A section of the participants

Smriti read out the theme paper. Highlighting the historical significance of Women’s Day, the theme paper touched upon the commitment for the coming days in the Post 2015 scenario where the violation of women’s rights are to be considered a serious human rights issue. She stressed on the fact that 2015 is a landmark year since it is the beginning of a new era when we can rectify the shortfalls of the MDG  goals and put forward new issues that have come across in the past decade. Chhanda then went on to give a brief about Swadhina and how it was contributing to the women’s empower-ment process as a whole. She also spoke on what activities could be incorporated into Swadhina’s future activities to ensure a meaningful contribution to Post 2015 agenda.This was followed by an interesting pictoral presentation on women – stories of women who came from simple background but brought in a change in the society. From Savitribai Phule to Mary Roy; from Mary Kom to Bachendri Pal – the stories gave an insight into how women have the capacity to fight against odds, against social norms and against a system that can think of women only in stereotype roles. This was followed by an interaction where each one was asked to describe as to why she felt that she was special. While one pointed out how she was managing home, her job as a teacher with equal elan, the other pointed out as to how she worked for the poor children and helping them express themselves through various art forms. A few felt that they were ‘merely housewives’ which did not involve much creativity. This myth was dispelled through a game. Posters of different vegetables were kept unseen and the participants were divided into groups of two. Each group was asked to select any three vegetables without seeing the picture. They were then asked to plan out a meal for guests using only those three vegetables, without any restriction on spices. Each of the teams came up with some brilliant food courses beginning from starters to desserts! They were even asked to share the recipes! At the end of the exercise, everyone was convinced that there couldn’t be a better creative process than being a home-maker!

This was followed by yet another activity where each had to narrate an incident from their lives that they feel was daring. The activity threw up many interesting stories – from combating harassers on train to travelling abroad for the first time – the activity gave a very good opportunity to the women to look back at incidents that brought out the daring beings in them. For instance there was this woman from the slum areas who narrated how Swadhina had given opportunity to a handful of young slum women to present a play in front of a huge audience for the first time. “That was the first time we were ever standing on a stage, leave alone performing”, she added with a smile. She then went on to narrate how then on their group had performed various plays at various places.

The following activity was yet another interesting activity where each participant had to contribute a paragraph and build on a story. It was interesting how the story of a girl emerged as a process where the finale was in empowerment of the girl. Interestingly everyone of the participants, though coming from diverse backgrounds, focused on education and social involvement of the girl, rather than on marriage!
An over-whelmed Mala Roy Chowdhury hands over a token donation
as a mark of solidarity to Swadhina during the event.

Finally there was a play-read session by Smriti and Srichandra about the experiences of a maid and her old, lady employer about ‘Valentine’s Day’! Peppered with humour the play highlighted how we often fall into the folly of being unfriendly mothers-in-law without realizing how we could ourselves seek happiness ourselves! In between the participants expressed their talents in music by enthralling others with some great songs! The programme finally concluded with a group song.



2) Moubhandar: 14th March 2015:
On 14th March the International Women's Day was celebrated at Moubhandar in Ghatsila region in East Singbhum  in the presence of 32 participants. The programme was organised at the Worker’s Union Community office located at Moubhandar.
A performance by Swadhina Social Choir team
The program began with an introduction of each of the participants . The programme began with a song rendition by school teachers Mita Chatterjee and Ratna Das.The Swadhina Social Choir team  dressed in yellow cloak set the tempo of the day with a Hindi  song “Asma hai Pita, Bharat Bhoomi Maa” – a song stressing on the need to resolve all conflicts and build a situation of communal harmony .
  The whole program was  coordinated by Swdhina Secretary, Ms. Saswati Roy. She gave a brief speech about the foundation and establishment of Swadhina . Swadhina founder and tresaurer Ms Supta Mukherji  reminisced about the struggling days of Swadhina and how Swadhina had worked towards the vision of women’s empowerment many years ago.
Swaswati explains about Women Change-Makers through Flash-Cards 
In the next part  Saswati  narrated the history of Interntional Women's Day from the hand outs. She explained how International Women's day is  homage  given to the women  liberation movement which started in 1908  in America where the women workers of the cotton mills in America demanded three things : 1)Reduction of working hours 2)Voting rights 3)Equal wages for women workers. She then went to detail out the visions in the Post 2015 period for Women’s Movement, highlighting on ensuring the basic human rights to every woman of every strata of the society.
Zilla Parishad Chairperson Sonia Samant speaks
The chief guest of this meeting was Zilla Parishad Chairperson Ms. Sonia Samant who gave an inspirational speech urging women to shed their inhibitions and work towards women’s empowerment – for themselves as well as for their next generation. She stressed on the need for overall participation of women in all spheres of the society – including political participation.

The best part of the celebration was the way each and every woman took this opportunity to express themselves and display their hidden talents in one way or the other. Anita Sing read out from her personal writing, social activist Supriti Murmu shared her feeling  about the day explaining  that all the women who have privilege to gain education should think about deprived women and help them become literate,                                                                                                   
 Sandhya Kumari and Nilima Sarkar recited poems , Pramila Mishra sang a beautiful song.                                                                                            
Smriti Sarkar from Swadhina gave a presentation through Flash Cards about women change-makers, who had dared to give wings to their dreams. Following this all the women present there were asked to share their dreams and achievements. This was a wonderful session where the women could share the dreams they had nurtured but were not able to fulfil or dreams that they still think possible.
Different games were played through which the role of womanhood was celebrated.
The day concluded by singing the Hindi version of the song – “We shall overcome”.

3) Benasole: 15th March 2015:
On 15th March the International Women's Day is celebrated at the Benasole Panchyat Bhavan  .The 
Swadhina Social Choir shares a song on Dowry harrasment
The Magic Show liked by the villagers very much !
program started  with the opening song “Hum Ek Hai” by Swadhina Social Choir team, followed by Swadhina song “Manush to ek din”. This program was also coordinated  by Swadhina seceratary Saswati Roy.The welcome speech was given by  founder- treasurer Ms. Supta Mukherji . Swadhina field worker Kumari Rajbiri  read out the history of International Women's Day. She also explained how Women’s Day has become a crucial platform for bringing women’s issues to the forefront. A flash-card journey through the lives of different women change-makers prompted many women to share the challenges that they face in their daily lives. During the interactive session the local women came up to explain how their little kitchen gardens have become their own symbols of rights over their land. Many interesting games were organised for the women through which they could not only bring their talents to the forefront but could also share knowledge.

The finale included an entertainment package for them – a magic show! Being a women living in the rural areas, seldom do they get the privilege of.The finale included an entertainment package for them – a magic show! Being a women living in the rural areas, seldom do they get the privilege of.
but could also share knowledge.The finale included an entertainment package for them – a magic show! Being a women living in the rural areas, seldom do they get the privilege of.

4) Betnoti : 26th March 2015: 
On 26.3.15 from 10 am-2pm at Benoti Women's community center Swadhina celebrated International Women's Day . The partcipants attended in this celebration came from 4  villages surrounding the region . 70 women partcipated in this program .

A section of the participants listen while Participatory Resource Mapping prepared by them adorn the wall ! 
A team travelled from Kolkata to Betnoti to attend this program. Swadhina Social Troupe members sang Oriya song ”Bhaiya re kori jaa” and Hindi song “Asma hai pita Bharat bhumi ma”. Swdhina Orissa Field Co-ordinator Nirmala Sahu gave a short speech on history of women's day . She 
Active participation
explained about the women’s liberation movement  that occured  in 1908 in USA. Swdhina's tresaurer and founder Ms Supta Mukherji reminisced about earlier struggling days of Swadhina .In her short speech she welcomed every partcipant  and narrated the back ground of Swadhina as an establishment. She also said that the main goal of Swadhina was the upliftment of women’s social status  through education and empowerment. She said that children's health and education is another area  were Swadhina concentrate on.
The chief guest in this program   was Mukhiya of Benoti Panchayat Smt. Panmoni Dinda . During her speech she said that she firmly believed that no nation can develop without the  development of women .She thanked Swadhina for taking initiatives to build awareness among women . On this occasion chairperson of women's community group Smt Sanjukat Majaya and Assistant Chairperson Binota Bera was also present.From Swadhina Kolkata team  Manju Bairagi  spoke on how women must have and exert their rights over different  government schemes like Indira Awas Yojana, Antaday  Ration card scheme, Old-age Pension scheme etc which help women in becoming self reliant . She also spoke on how kitchen garden could help women in establishing their rights over the family land. Inviting women to be part of this process, token seed support were given to marginalized women.

This was followed by different group games.All the participants present there was divided into 5  groups each groups were given a piece of papers were   vegatbles name were written each groups were asked to share a recipe made out of those vegetables .A game was played where the participants had to enact the topic given to them without speaking a single word. The program ended with a group song.
 photo: NAVA Communication, Kolkata














                                                                                                                 
                                   
                                                                                                                         



Friday, February 13, 2015



 

fora – a development news-sharing from NAVA                        January 2015

Swadhina Birthday !
A Gettogether was held at the Swadhina Mainoffice in Kolkata on 30th December 2014 to celebrate the 28th Birthday of Swadhina. About 50 friends, patrons and members attended. The small garden at the Mainoffice was decorated with streamers and baloons which created a festive ambience befitting the birthday ! The children gathered started playing with the baloons as the programme was about to begin. At the outset Ms. Supta Mukerji – the Founder Treasurer narrated how Swadhina had a very humble beginning when there was only a volunteer staff to manage the entire work of the organisation. Founder Secretary Ms. Rina Sarkar shared sweet memories of the early years. Then it was the turn of the present Secretary Ms. Saswati Roy to narrate in brief the current activities of Swadhina. A few patrons shared their greetings. At the end there was a Fellowship Lunch which was an elaborate spread. Similar event was also held at our village centre located at remote Bondih village in Jharkhand where small children and local women volunteers shared the fruit cakes sent from the Mainoffice.

Milonotsav 2014

This year the Milonatsav was a  special event on the theme Leadership. This was held at the campus of Seva Kendra, Kolkata from 12 to 14 December 2014. Twenty one Swadhina workers and volunteers from various units attended this residential programme which included various group exercises and discussions on future perspectives. Some of the highlight discussions were: women's health & nutrition, kitchen garden for food security, education and awareness, marriage registration as a tool for gaining women's property rights, bank accounts for women, kisan credit card for women farmers etc. Of course there were a plenty of fun making and group games.

Benasole Women's Camp
On 17th December 2014, a camp on theme 'women's empowerment' was held at Benasole village near Ghatsila, East Singbhum District in Jharkhand state. Around 50 women, mostly belonging, to tribal families participated . The event was inaugurated by Ms Sukurmoni Hembram – the local Panchayat Mukhiya by lighting a candle. At the outset Ms Smriti Sarkar, President of Swadhina gave a short speech on Swadhina activities in the state. It was followed by a lively interactive session on women's empowerment.The discussion was on'what are the visible changes one can expect when a woman is socially empowered'. There were also discussions on various government schemes which are targetted towards the social as well as economic improvement of village women . The meet ended with a vote of thanks offered by Ms Dipanwita Pal, one of the Programme Co-ordinators, from Swadhina.

Somaydih 
Women's Camp
A camp on the theme women's empowerment was held at the Anganwadi premises of Somaydih village in Mosaboni Block of East Singbhum district in Jharkhand state. 45 village women participated in this camp held on 19th December 2014. The meet was inaugurated by Salge Tudu, the oldest person present at the event. The participants then together joined to sing the song Hum Hongey Kamiyab (We shall over come) . In this camp mostly women from Santhal tribe were present . An interesting feature in this meet was a session on lives of successful Indian women, conducted with the help of coloured large flash cards. Lives of various women like Olympic boxer Mary Kom , first women photo-journalist Homi Viarawalla , astronaut Kalpana Chawla and so on fascinated the participants . Smriti Sarkar and Dipanwita Pal, from Swadhina were the main resource persons for this meet.

Women  
Camp at Trenga 

On 20th Dec 2014 Swadhina organized a camp on the theme 'women's empowerment' at the Trenga Panchayat community hall. The meet was inaugurated by Ms Dulari Soren - Panchayat Mukhiya and Panmoni Kisku - Panchayat ward member was the special guest. In her inaugural speech Ms Dulari Soren stressed that government has ensured 50% seat reservation for women but they are not very vocal on their rights in panchayat public hearings (Aam sabha). It is important that women in large numbers should attend these meetings and put forward demands for their improvement . A detailed discussion followed on the theme. An interesting feature in this meet was a quiz contest on different social issues. Ms Dipanwita Pal explained about laws benefiting women like Forest Act, Domestic Violance act and Women Farmers entitlement.

Bhurudubani 
Women's Camp
A women's camp on the theme 'ensuring land and property rights for women' was held at Bhurudubani village near Betnoti in Mayurbhanj district of Orissa on 3rd January 2015. 58 participants took part in this day-long women's awareness camp. Ms Chhanda Ghose, a program coordinator of Swadhina Kolkata and Nirmala Sahu , state coordinator Orissa were the main resource persons for the event . Along with deep-rooted discussion on the theme there were interesting group games and various creative group exercises .

Women's Camp at Mahulia
53 women participated in a day-long women's awareness camp on the theme land and property rights for women. This was held on 4th January 2015 and Ms Chhanda Ghose and Ms Nirmala Sahu provided the thematic resources. Bank Savings and Self Help Group for women were the two features of the discussion along with group games and group songs
 
Hasanpur Camp
A one day awareness camp for women's empowerment was held at Hasanpur village in Sonarpur area of South 24 Parganas district in West Bengal. Held on 16th January 2015 this camp was attended by 48 participants . Resource persons Ms. Smriti Sarkar and Ms. Chhanda Ghose from Swadhina main office, with the help of study papers, explained the various legal rights especially related to land and property ensured by Indian law . There were also group discussion on status of women today in society and family. The camp came to a close with vote of thanks offered by Sumona Mishra, a local Swadhina member

Workshop on 
Right to Information
Ms Dipanwita Pal represented Swadhina and presented a case study at the workshop on Right to Information at Gopobandhu Institute for Admistration , Bhubanaswhar . This was held on 19th January 2015 under the auspices of RTI department of Governmnet of India . The case study of Swadhina, narrated with the help of a power-point presentation, was very much appreciated by all the participants. The organizers expected Swadhina to present such talks in future also at other workshops organized by RTI department.

Workshop on 
Land Rights
A workshop on land and property rights for women was organized by Swadhina on 25th January 2015 on the eve of the Indian Republic Day. About 50 participants from different interior villages around Ghatsila and Mosaboni Blocks participated in this workshop held at the Ghatsila Dhamarsala auditorium . Ms Saswati Roy, Secretary of Swadhina presented the theme paper. A lively discussion followed. Several panchayat dignitaries like Mukhyia and Ward members were present at this workshop and the seconded the need for the taking up of concrete steps to ensure women's empowerment and promised their all out help for implementation of schemes made for the improvement of position of women. Ms Supta Mukherji presented a brief talk on Swadhina's activities in the state . The meeting came to close with the participants singing together the Swadhina theme song : 'Manush to ek din Jagbei' (some day - masses will be awakened).

Training on Early 
Childhood Education

 NAVA team comprising ofDiptendu Mukerji, H N Sahu and Supta Mukerji conducted a three day orientation training for the pre-primary centre teachers for LWSI. This was held at thecampus of Agriculture University Zonal Station in Kokrajhar in Assam from 24 to 26 November, 2014. It was an interesting interactive event with many creative group exercises and useful colour primers and games with the help of cut-outs and alphabet cards. About 20 young men and women participated.
 
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Edit: Diptendu Mukerji