Sunday, January 31, 2010

DB ACTION HOLDS NATIONAL WORKSHOP

Anand Raj
HYDERABAD, JANUARY 31, 2010:
Don Bosco Action India, the national network of the Don Bosco Development Offices, held a two day meeting cum training workshop, on January 28-29, 2010 at the Provincial House, Hyderabad to discuss strategies for strengthening the network and plan for a national level project. Two staff members from each of the 10 Development Offices attended this meet.

During the inaugural session, Fr. Sudhakar, Executive Director of Bosco Seva Kendra, Hyderabad, welcomed the gathering and pointed out that this was the first time ever that staff members from all the partner organizations that constitute the network had come together for such a programme. Fr. Noel Maddichetty, the Provincial of Hyderabad, addressing the participants, said that our development work should empower marginalized communities to change unjust social structures. He further stressed that the focus should not only be economic development but rather all issues faced by underprivileged communities.

Getting down to work, the pre-lunch sessions were conducted by Fr. Savio Silveira, National Convener of DB Action India. In his presentation, he enlightened the gathering on the vision, mission, objectives and structure of the network. He also outlined the national priority area for the next three years, i.e., empowering Self Help Groups to access government and other programmes to enhance their livelihoods. Finally, he discussed with the team the Action Plan for 2010, and the roles and responsibilities of all the members in realizing this plan. In the afternoon session, all the Development Offices were given the opportunity to make a short presentation on the programmes being implemented by them. The final session of the day was dedicated to planning the national level project to be taken up in 2011.

The second day was facilitated by Ms. P Madhavi from ACCESS Development Services. The theme for this training workshop was: State of Microfinance Sector in India - Present Status, Future Challenges and Critical Gaps. The sessions focused on several important areas such as Microfinance Models, Microfinance Institutions, Ideological Issues, Financial Products etc. The workshop gave the participants a realistic idea of the present state of the microfinance sector in India, the hype that envelopes it and the fact that barely five percent of poor people in India actually benefit from microfinance services. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks proposed by Mr. Cecil from Kolkata.

REPUBLIC FIESTA


MUMBAI, JANUARY 28, 2010: Four hundred children from the bastis of the K-East Ward of Mumbai gathered in the hall at Dominic Savio, Andheri, on Republic Day to culminate a fortnight of activities that were initiated in seventeen schools in the neighborhood.

Children need opportunities to express themselves in a variety of ways. Balprafulta initiated a program in various municipal and private schools in the K-East Ward through which thousands of children got the opportunity to give went to their feelings in creative ways. Some wrote essays, others gave speeches, some others expressed their ideas through skits and a few others used their artistic talents in preparing meaningful posters. The best of these were presented on the stage at Dominic Savio’s at the Republic Day celebrations organized for the children.

A study report on Child Rights was also released on the occasion. The study report was compiled from the data collated from 13,556 children who took part in a campaign entitled “Hamari Suraksha, Hamara Adhikar”. The study revealed that children hardly had a say in decisions made on their behalf, opportunities for quality education and healthy recreation was badly lacking and some children were put to work in order to augment the income of their family.

Republic Day celebrates the freedom we enjoy because our constitutions guarantee us our fundamental rights. Unfortunately, for many, these rights are still a distant dream!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

FINAL STAGE OF WATERSHED


CHHOTAUDEPUR, JANUARY 13, 2010: On January 6, 2010, the Lok Seva Kendra staff along with Fr. James had a special preparatory meeting with the villagers and Sarpanch of Baroj to plan the final stage of the Watershed project. The village development project has seen a complete shift in the development and lifestyle of the villagers who are now just not better off monetarily but are aware of the potential they have with regards to water and land. Though it is a watershed project the community based dimension is also very strong to get the people united and make decisions on a common basis. The villagers gathered enthusiastically to take on the final lapse and make the best of the resources offered to them.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

THINKING AHEAD — BARODA SHGS

Lyra Pinto
BARODA, JANUARY 12, 2010: The leaders of 16 SHGs facilitated by Don Bosco, Makarpura (Baroda) came together for a day of assessment and planning on Sunday, January 10, 2010. Having strengthened their groups and financial position over the past few years, these SHG members had expressed their desire to take up further programmes related to livelihood and development of their communities.

Accordingly, an input and planning session was conducted for the leaders of these groups by the staff by Don Bosco, Makarpura. Through games, activities and group discussions, the 36 women who attended this session identified a few areas they would like to work on, such as water and cleanliness issues in their community and income generation programmes in their groups. At the end of the session, they committed to discussing these issues with their group members and formulating a concrete action plan. Their assertiveness and enthusiastic participation proved that these city women are eager to improve their lives, and are capable of transforming their communities.