Tag: Community

Transformation…

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Transformation is not when people have achieved their goal but it is when they realize their goal.

Transformation is when the community has a clear vision of their future.

If people are empowered enough to know their present situation and know where they want to see themselves in some years, it is transformation. Transformation is, knowing what the good situation is. Once the vision is clear, people will find a way…

As development workers, our job is not to tell them what to do but help them to realize their goal/vision and little bit of encouragement in the process.

If we put all our strength on telling them what to do rather helping them to have a vision, once we withdraw they will go off track.

As John F. Kennedy said “Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction”.

If you have strength, you work hard and have courage, you will reach nowhere without a vision. Therefore the important thing is you need to have a vision and with little help in how to get there would get you there. Courage comes with the vision.

You’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.” Richard Bachtransformation_brand_science

[Acknowledgement: Mr. George Kutty for his valuable inputs during a discussion at office]

Thank you

God Bless…

 

No more “Teach a man to fish, he will eat for life”…

For ages, development, social work, social change and many other professions focusing on empowerment have had the old Chinese Proverb as a guiding Star “ Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, Teach a man to fish, he will eat for life”.

We have followed this in our work and have communicated it strongly as a principle. But just today I came across a very interesting modification to this principle. This has been outlined in the “Barefoot Guide to Working with Organizations and Social Change”.

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Source: Barefoot Guide to Working with Organizations and Social Change pg no: 6

Often a lot of development activities done under this banner, end up teaching the community to fish claiming that it is sustainable. In working with People with disabilities in our project, it means that providing services makes them dependent for life but teaching them skills makes them independent or empowered for life. But in this complex society that is undergoing constant change, the skills that they learn are dependent on the circumstances. As long as the river or the circumstances are favorable, they would be able to use their skills but when things change, they either have to learn new skills or end up where they started.

But as this new twist to the Chinese Proverb suggests, organizing of Community would help them come up their own solutions. This is often overlooked in development activities. We say we believe that Community has strengths but often don’t act on it. This often leads to project driven interventions which have quicker results but often last only till the situation remains the same.

We in the Community Based Rehabilitation Project are moving to the next phase and are planning to expand our work and follow the Community Organizing (CO) process with People with Disabilities. In our previous experience, the CO process has been difficult and time taking as it does not yield immediate results. But coming across this new twist to our guiding principle has been encouraging.

I am looking forward to this new phase in our project and although the future looks hazy and the task is huge. I hope as a team, we would develop an attitude that, people, even the most helpless ones have inherent strengths that can be developed. I pray that as we move ahead, we will be able to facilitate our communities to come together for social change, no matter how difficult the work gets. This we believe would result in transformation and restore hope.

Happy Reading

God Bless…

A Beautiful Transformation…..

Two days back I had a discussion with our Community Animators about development. They all are from the target villages and have been working with us since 1 . 5 years. I asked them to write what do they mean by development and when can they call a particular community developed? And I told them to discuss in the group and make a final presentation.

What came out from the discussion was unbelievable for me at that time…. They said a community can be called developed when it has following aspects:

Education for all, enjoy good health, organised, have capacity to solve own problems.

Stewards of natural and physical resources, Have a monitoring system, participatory decision making.

Have trust, Leadership, Respectful, Have a vision, hard working, Honesty, Take responsibility and

Selfless (concern for others)

Food is secure for all, Proud of their own community and themselves

Maintain cultural values and give importance to community gatherings.

Active Participation, Equal opportunity for marginalised people, continuously growing and Learning

Aware about own problems and weaknesses, Able to take action and accepts changes

Lives with Dignity

I was amazed to hear this from them as I had never expected this response from our field staffs.

When I asked what they think about physical development of the community? They said if a community has all these characteristics, automatically the physical/infrastructure development will occur. But if it has all natural and physical resources available but don’t have above characteristics then it will fail to manage the resources it has..and it will never prosper…

A Change from within can bring a huge change outside….That’s what it is…

This is a huge change in their perspective from the time they have joined…I am glad as the project is able to bring some beautiful changes in the lives of our field staffs whom we see as future leaders in their own communities ….

They have not been taught all this but they have learnt it from their experience….A beautiful transformation has happened within them and I hope this will bring transformation in their sphere of influence too….

Thank You… God bless…

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Photo Courtesy : Rachel

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Adaptation vs. Migration….Let’s hope for the best…

There has been constant decrease in rainfall since three years in our project area. Previous year the rainfall was significantly less, which affected the agriculture up to a great degree. Lots of water sources dried up by the month of October and there was very less water available for winter crop. This caused high number of migrations and if this continues many more will commit the same in near future.

Now the area looks dry and most of the water sources have dried up. There are few wells and tube wells which are active but most of them are drying up. In few days the situation might get worse. There is no water available for agriculture and in few months there would be drinking water crisis for both human beings and animals.

The community is not prepared for this. If they face a severe drought, they will have nothing to do but to depend on government and some NGOs or finally migrate for food and water. That will be horrible…

At this juncture, we are trying to help the community to prepare drought mitigation plans at the village level. In communities we have started the Participatory Assessment of Disaster Risk exercises and presently, we are facilitating vulnerability and capacity assessment. This would help the villagers to have a plan for the anticipated drought by next month.

People are participating actively in this activity, which has been a great experience for me. We don’t know how much impact we would be able to bring in this matter. But we hope the community would be able to make an action plan and execute it. We could have done it a year before but could not do for some reasons. Now our prayer is that the community may adapt best to this situation and improve their resilience.

We would be continuing this activity intensively and I will share my experience in a regular basis…..

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There used to be a small water stream through this channel before two months and now it has completely dried up.
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This view is from the other side of the same stream
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This is the first time in my three years, I saw this pond being dried up…
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This is the view of a village community…you can see the dryness….

To be continued….

Thank you

BeLiEve, tAlk & wAlk the talK…

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A must read book

“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people–they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.”
― Paulo FreirePedagogy of the Oppressed

While working with the community, we also find ourselves imposing our ideas on them. We start by facilitation but in the process, lose our patience and try to get quick decision so we end up imposing. This also happens because we do not trust their ability to think, reason and take decision. We fail to believe that they also know things and have better knowledge about their situation and solutions than any of us.

Until now even after two years of work with the communities, I have constantly failed to trust the community fully and believe in their ability to take decision and implement them successfully. Neither have I seen any of our leaders doing this. We talk lots on this and believe in this principle as well but when it comes to practice we are way behind…

It has been a struggle and I have no idea how long will it take to change this attitude within us? We may seem like a facilitator and a companion to them(communities) but if we do not practice what we believe in, this would keep them in the same condition, dependent and in bondage for a life time.

Therefore, I would request my friends and new emerging fellows committed to work with poor communities, let us practice this value and trust the capacity and enormous potencies of the community. We can be a part of their struggle for liberation with the attitude of a leader not as a superior being….

Let us believe, talk and more importantly walk the talk….

Thank you

A long way to go….

The year 2014 is going to end in few hours. We are entering another new year with lots of hope, promises, and so many wonderful feelings. There are lots of things to remember, lots of good and bad and many more beautiful experience. But the word that was popular and one that I heard often in this year was ‘Development’ I think. The whole country was busy with election and so many promises had been made. The year ends with the very popular phrase ‘development for all’. That’s a good statement, in fact a beautiful one and a beautiful idea too.

The ‘development for all’is not impossible but I struggle with the idea every day. While working with the community I struggle to keep up the hope in my everyday work and life. The big concern is whether it is real or just a dream which would never come true. I am not against those promises made by the government and political leaders, I am not saying, it is a false hope that have been given to people but it is hard for me to believe that ‘development for all’ can be achieved with the present thoughts and attitude towards it.

What is development? I am not asking the definition!When to call a particular community developed, is a big question. What does development mean for those who are promising and for those who are hoping or expecting? Is the development all about the infrastructure, factories, business and international relations,economic development etc? In the name of development so many things have been happening but the poor are still poor or becoming poorer. Their struggles are increasing day by day with new troubles. Instead of the growth, new social and environmental problems are being added to their lives every day. What is then the development everybody is talking about?

Don’t you think development means much more than what most of us actually think? When can one say a community is developed? It might differ from one person to another but the basic thing about development would remain same. I think the development is when; peoples’ participation increases, they are part of decision making, there is opportunity to grow and use their potential, willingness to take initiatives, able to dream, there is education and awareness, people are contributing to the growth of the community, identifying and addressing their needs by themselves, community is improving their living condition without external help, able to manage resources effectively, participation in planning, implementation and evaluation of the community based programmes, able to facilitate others, enjoy good health, able to think freely, able to respect all human beings, able to communicate, able to maintain peace with one another and with the environment, has a good value system, there is a sense of security and there is justice. I would say a community is developed when I see all these. But I leave it up to you to think and define development.

For this to happen, I believe it should start from within. And it would be possible when we choose to work with people at their same level not as a superior being, trying to help them. Our superior attitude would never bring the change that we desire in our communities rather it would push them to deeper oppression.  This might be possible only when they are facilitated to think on their own rather than imposing our thoughts on them.

I am not finished yet… I also will be sharing with you what the community thinks about development.I will continue this through my future posts but till then I leave you to think about your own version of development.

The dream of ‘development for all’ is not going to be achieved overnight….It is a long way to go….but no matter how long, let us make our contribution towards this as far as we can…. Where ever you are, you can make development happen….and that could be a part of your New Year resolution….Take care and share your thoughts….Have a blessed year ahead….

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God Bless….

Community Based Recipe Demonstration…

Harvest of finger millet did not end the millet promotion activity for this year. People of our villages have long forgotten most of their own indigenous recipes. As we are promoting finger millet as a drought resistant and highly nutritious crop, we needed to make sure that Finger Millet getting into their mainstream food. We had already developed a recipe book for the community but most of the women could not follow the instructions given in the booklet as they could not read. Hence, we decided to do community based demonstration of millet recipes.

Yesterday, for the first time we demonstrated finger millet recipe in one of the hamlets of Champi village.  16 women participated in the programme and showed great interest to learn some of the recipes. It was a great time for us in helping them to cook and learn and it was also an opportunity for us to strengthen relationships with the community. This was the first demo in village and we would be doing it in all the 30 villages in coming months.

There are some of the photographs of the event, have a look….Thanks…

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Arrangement before the demonstration
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Mr. Jogendra setting the fire
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Preparing Dalia (porridge)
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A woman sharing the prepared food with participants

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Finger Millet Puri was the last item we demonstrated
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A woman distributing puri among participants

God Bless…

Harvest of Finger Millet – The Wonder crop

Once again, it’s time for me to share with you about the wonder crop (Finger Millet) that I had already shared in two of my posts in the past. As I had shared that last year we were able to encourage 46 farmers to restart the traditional crop, this year also we have been able to keep up the work.

In the beginning of the monsoon we were able to promote the crop in quite a big manner.  We promoted it in different occasions in the area which was quite successful and 433 farmers (360 from the project area) bought finger millet seeds made available by the project. Out of them around 300 farmers did nursery and eventually, 133 farmers were able to harvest the crop this year.

Our expectation was obviously higher but 46 farmers last year to 133 farmers this year is a good indicator for the project to see the outcome. In 30 villages the production till now is 2.18 tons and we are yet to get the data from some more farmers.

But at the end of all this, it’s not the statistics but the fact that farmers are restarting this crop is important to us. Here, where their major crop like rice failed terribly due to low rainfall; finger millet has given them good yield. Harvest of finger millet would definitely contribute to their food and nutritional security this year but most importantly it will help them to understand the importance of adaptation in current situation. Farmers are improving their resilience by adopting drought resistant crops could be the key success for the community and for us as well.

It is a small move towards our goal but a beautiful beginning to help increase resilience of community towards rapid climate change.  Increased trust of the beneficiaries would lead us to support the community more effectively in the adaptation process through coming days.

There are few photographs of this year cultivation and harvest, have a look…. God Bless….

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Courtesy: Mr. Umesh

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Women of a village harvesting Finger Millet
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Another Woman Harvesting
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Finger Millet
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Drying

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Finger Millet after cleaning

[ I take this opportunity to acknowledge Dr. Jeevan Kuruvilla, our former Project Director for his huge effort and interest towards this cause ]

Thank You

International Day for Persons with Disabilities – 2014

December 3rd is observed world wide as the International Day for Persons With Disabilities and the UN theme for the year is “Sustainable Development, The Promise of Technology”.

This day provides a platform to bring to light People with Disabilities, their abilities, their issues, their opinions. It also provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to assess themselves to see how far PWDs have been included in development both as beneficiaries and as agents.

This year’s theme is interesting as it focuses on Development that should be sustainable and a giant contributor to development- ICTs(Information Communication technology). The focus is also on present and upcoming technology, to see if they are inclusive and also how far technology can be used to improve inclusion and facilitate better participation of PWDs. We believe that higher level of participation from all sections of society would result in Sustainable Development.

As part of our work, we celebrated IDPWD a day earlier. This was done so that PWDs from our areas could be involved in the programs done by the government on 3rd December. It was an interesting day, we had approximately 250 participants, all People with disabilities from about 35 villages spread across 2 districts. The program was organized with an aim to create awareness regarding disability to the general public and to help PWDs experience and explore new things.

We also had the privilege of the participation of our District Social Welfare Officer, who also has the reputation of being a young, enthusiastic officer with special regard to disability affairs, the District Disability Rehabilitation Officer and the Block Development Officer.

Along with this year’s theme, we also focused on practical needs for PWDs, we had sessions and stalls showcasing different livelihood options, things to keep in mind when planning for livelihood. Another stall depicted Community Based Aids and Appliances (these can be made at home using local resources) and also information on rights and schemes.

Below are pictures from yesterday’s program, Happy Reading.

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Registration of Participants
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Starting the programme with prayer
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Lamp lighting by Chief Guest
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Welcoming the gathering by Mr. Prabodh Kujur
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Honoring guests
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A view of participants
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A special song by a Participant
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Stalls on livelihood and adis and appliences
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Speech by Chief guest (District Social Welfare Officer)
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Display of Aids and Appliances which can be made locally
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Session on Livelihood by Mr. Abinash Biswal
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Session on Aid & Appliances by Mr. Ebez George
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Session on Home based therapy by Ms. Sheron

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God Bless…..

Social Transformation is possible!!!

There has been a continuous effort by development workers and government to find the best model for social transformation. So many experiments and so many models have been implemented but the success is yet at a very far distance. Lots of money has been spent on development both in rural and urban in our country but there has not been any remarkable transformation experienced which can be taken as ‘The Model’.

Why is this? What is the reason? Why isn’t there any tangible change? Is not it the time for us to think rather than trying the same methods and wasting time? What is that missing or what is that which is hindering the transformation process in our communities?

The community I am working with is a very poor community. Hundreds of NGOs and government organizations have been working for development and thousands of projects have been implemented. Our own organization has been working since many years and has implemented almost ten projects. There is some changes visible but that is not the change we are looking for. It is not a holistic change in our communities. The complexity of problem is so much that sometime I lose hope that nothing is going to happen. I am sometimes scared to hope to have hope for transformation. If I can’t hope anything then I am wasting my time here and I am working in vain. Am I just working for my livelihood? If it is so then this is the most heinous thing I am doing, I am selling poverty; I am selling suffering for my living. It is really a time for me to think what am I doing? Is there any hope that my hard work would pay off somewhere or I am just spending my days out here? Is this GOD wants us to do or He does have some other plan? Is God telling us to do the same things we have been doing or do we not understand His purpose? Are we missing out His way of doing? I don’t know but I don’t see any hope in the way we are doing stuff. It doesn’t make sense to me anymore. If you are working in a similar community or you have experienced you may understand what I mean.

But every problem has a solution. There is always a way out. We should find out the thing which is missing in the communities we are working with. What is that one thing which can be the factor for transformation, the complete transformation of people and society? Why do we do things what we do? What makes people in the community do things the way they do? What makes them think the way they think? I think it is the values that are existing in the community. Is it “value” that is missing, the value system in the society? What does it have to do with transformation?

Value is something which is the fuel for living. It makes society function the way it functions. It is natural but where have we lost it? If we see some examples of nature we may understand. As the proverb says – “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider its ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest”. – Pro-6:6-8. Ants have no commander, no chief yet they work hard and with discipline. Nobody watches them or monitors them yet they work with honesty. The value that they have which makes them work systematically without any leader. Everybody understands their role and responsibility. They are that’s why called wise. But in our case, even after having chief and supervisors we don’t do our part.

If we look at the life of a honey bee we have lot more things to learn from. –They work diligently. They do all the things to complete the tasks they have accepted to do. They work in team by sharing the responsibility. One group of bees collects nectar from flowers and brings to the hive and passes the nectar to other workers who chew the nectar to make it more digestible. Another group spread the chewed substances around the honeycomb. Another group fans the substance to dry. The group visits around 2, 25,000 flowers a day just to get 30 grams of honey and they flew approximately 1600 round trips a day. (Cultivating Character, Character Solution International)

Wow! What a creature. They show diligence, hard work and teamwork, sharing and caring for their community without a leader telling them to do so. Nobody monitors them but everybody does their task well. This is the value and the character that honey bees teach us. This is the importance of values in society. If we have values as human beings, the society will function automatically in a way it is supposed to. If we have good values and characters then we will live to the fullest.

That’s why I believe if the value system changes there will be transformation in every segment. If people cultivate values in life, there would be change in situation, change in people’s condition, and change in life…change in attitude… If everybody understand their responsibility and have values, there would be completeness, harmony, stewardship and peace in lives and society. Life would be beautiful.

How would the value system change? I don’t see it possible; it is again too difficult for me to have hope. There are wrong things which have been practiced for so long that it has become a regular practice and people no more consider it wrong. Let me give you an example from my experience (Another experience I had already posted before)-there was a group who came to us for help to run the PDS scheme in village. They had gone through some procedures and in some procedures they thought we could help them in getting that. When they came to us, our Project Manager took some time to discuss with them about their families. They were from poor families. Then we wanted to know if they run the scheme how they would earn livelihood.  Then they explained to us about the scheme. And it was such a thing we had never expected. They told 30 KG of rice comes for each family from government and from which they would give them 28 KG and keep 2 KG each and sell them in market to get their profit. Same is with oil and dal too. When asked if it is right to do so, they said it has been a practice in every village and there is nothing wrong in this. They would take another person’s share and still they are not able to understand that something is wrong in this. It is not their fault but the way it has been happening. A long practice has become the system and it is no more wrong. We don’t have a value system which would tell us that it is wrong. There are so many things happening in our communities just like this.

That’s why I believe, if the value system changes, there will be hard work, truth, there would be no corruption, there would be mutual respect and respect for human being… kindness, love for human being and nature….etc.. No lie, no hurt…there would be trust…

If people would have values in life, external condition would also change …no doubt in that…but how? Can a blind person show the way to another blind person? S/He needs a person who can see to guide him/her. Even though there are people who can guide the society the society is not changing. If somebody has to be healed he/she has to accept that there is sickness in him/her. People in our community should know that there is something wrong. Unless they don’t understand that how would they go for change? If somebody tells the person that he has a problem without the person realizes it, it would make the person more arrogant rather than the room for change. That’s what we have been doing. We are trying to tell them that their condition is bad and they need transformation. Even in a participatory way we are trying to tell them it has still been a failure. They have not internalized that there is a problem. They have not seen a better model than theirs. They have seen the difference physically but not the internal factors behind any change. Then who can tell them the internal factors? If it is you and me, then how? By telling them that there is a problem or telling the solution it is not going to work. Because people don’t learn the best by listening or seeing but they learn when they do it. In order to make them do we need to show them how it is done. We need to practice the thing that we want them to practice. We need to practice value that we want to see them practicing. When we live with them and practice good values, there is a change in value system in our circle and then it will pass on to a larger society. We need to show them by doing the things we want them to do. That is called the incarnation model.

The incarnation model is the answer… (Mr. George Kutty, our Project Manger helped me to understand this model) This is the model that Jesus showed us…He did not just preach us to love your neighbor, truth, forgiveness etc but he became 100% human and manifested these as a human being…He practiced what He said…He changed the world with the message of love, kindness and forgiveness and nonresistant to evil by force… He made tremendous influence in people’s life by showing how to do not by preaching. He just didn’t tell us to forgive but He forgave from the midst of highest suffering, from the cross he forgave His oppressors.

So we can do this by following the same model….by doing what we want to see…behaving the way we want others to behave to us. Practice those values in our lives. Showing how to live would teach others about living rather than just preaching… If we only preach, it would make people more resistant towards good values and characters rather than cultivating them.

Somebody has rightly said: “Preach the gospel always but when necessary use word”…Preach the gospel by your action….

I strongly believe “The incarnation Model” would bring change…if we practice those values in life, people around us will practice those values. when people around us practice those values, the surrounding would have the same value, then it would spread…And there would be change in value system…Once there would be change in value system, there will be change in the condition of human life and nature…the transformation would take place. In every souls and then in everywhere… there would be full of life…Our prayer would become true…”His kingdom come”. The Kingdom of God is not an external thing but it is within all of us. “The kingdom of God does not come with outward show, neither will people say, ‘Here it is, there it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you”. Luke-17:20-21. Therefore there should be transformation from within then the transformation in external world would take place without even human intervention.

I may sound idealistic but I am not. It is my belief  that if we practice, we will bring transformation…we are the workers of The Master who has sent us to do this…so let’s stop just preaching but practice, may it be in larger development field or in personal life…It is not easy way ahead…but it is possible…

Truly, The Incarnation Model will work and this will bring social transformation.

This is my hope… I believe this and if you believe that this would work, practice!!! If you don’t, share your thoughts….

Thank You

God Bless…..

World Environment Day 2014

Like many we also observed World Environment Day 2014. Along with the host country Barbados, the whole world celebrated the day all over the place. We also didn’t stay inside our homes on this Global Day for action. We organized a rally with our village community. Women, Children and men from 15 different villages participated in the programme. It was fun, informative, communicative, full of passion and a great experience.

We had a rally of about 5 KMs followed by a programme where we had invited the Block Development Officer as our chief guest. There were around 230 people present in the programme. We managed to show the participants, some videos on Global warming, followed by a small presentation. The response was very encouraging. Villagers pledged to protect their forest, stop using plastic bags, use organic fertilizers and plant trees this year onwards. If supported, they would be a part of all the work happening towards Environment conservation. Even though they are least responsible for the Global Warming they showed great enthusiasm to fight this… Together we can, they said….

Some of the photographs of the programme….

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Preparation for WED – Everybody so focused
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Fun during the preparation
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Starting of Rally
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Active Participation of Women
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On the Way – Women leading the rally
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Entering Satbarwa Market Place
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Lamp Lighting
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Video Presentation
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Sharing by participants
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The event covered by the local newspaper

 

Not you or me responsible for Global Warming but we all. So we all have to fight this….Come join and save the planet, our glorious home…. Together we can…..

Thank You

God Bless…..

Abinash

Who is the master of his/her own destiny???

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Man is a social animal. Men and women can’t live to their fullest without society. People who live as part of society have always better life than people who live in isolation. The person who roams around without having anything, a person who begs in the street and doesn’t have a home and a family and are not part of a society, don’t enjoy life the way people who have a family and society do.

Human beings without society have low quality of life which includes physical Health, psychological well being, social relationships and environment. Low quality of life hinders a person to even dream big. Without health which includes all these domains a person can’t be productive, creative, hard working and persistent which are so important to prosper in life in every way. So if you are successful today or you have achieved what you dreamt to achieve, it is because you had better social and environmental circumstances. It is to them who say they are self made and master of their own fate to think that without the society and all these privileges where would you be today.

Since childhood parents, siblings and other caretakers play a vital role in making you the person you are today. They play a major role in building your life, then come teachers and friends. All the socialization process helped build the person you are today. Even your thoughts, ideas, creativity and character were shaped by the process and made you the person available for many and for the wonderful work you are doing today. If you want to study in an institute or for a job, you need a recommendation letter. Sometimes to fulfill a little dream you need so many people. A small recommendation letter would stop your admission to an institute, today which has given you a strong foundation to your future. A small degree of change can make a great deviation from your aim at the end. Therefore, a small help can have a big impact in your life and can make a big difference. So it is to think now whether you are the master of your own destiny or so many people have made contributions to it. It is excellent to have self confidence and positive attitude about yourself and about your success, but it is noble to share credits with people who made your journey beautiful in reaching to your destiny.

Your life depends infinitely upon the family you were born into. Your birth itself determines your destiny. I was blessed to born in a family and in a society where there were better options, resources and opportunities to get proper education, exposure, nutrition and hygiene etc. If I was born in a place where there were no options, opportunities and resources, where would I be today? The behavior of People, who involve in anti social activities, can be attributed to the kind of community they grew up in and the kind of exposure they had in their valuable childhood. So we are what we are because of the opportunity that we had, not because of we built our life by ourselves alone. That is true that if one is successful s/he has utilized and worked upon the opportunity through hard work, practice and patience but it would not be possible if one would not have the opportunity and options. The concept ‘I am the master of my own destiny’ signifies that whoever is not successful it is because of their own fault and they are only responsible for their condition.

I work alongside a marginalized community, and have seen them, I have listened to them closely and observed and found, in every problem there is an external factor responsible than they themselves. I have seen many who work hard, even more than many of us but there living standard is much poorer than us. So I found they are poor because they have fewer options, lack of information and lack of resources.

Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision USA writes in his book ‘The Hole in our Gospel:

“What I have discovered in my travels to more than forty countries with World Vision is that almost all the poverty is fundamentally the result of a lack of options. It is not that the poor are lazier, less intelligent, or unwilling to make efforts to change their condition. Rather, it is that they are trapped by circumstances beyond their power to change. I have found that the poorer people are, the harder they work, usually. In fact, their daily labor is more strenuous than most of us could tolerate. It is their circumstances that conspire to prevent their hard work from bearing fruit”.

Yes, there are people in spite of tremendous opportunity have not done great because of their laziness, lack of zeal but there are millions who did not have the option and the opportunity. But whoever is successful today it is because of opportunities, their surroundings, and the socialization process and off course their hard work.

Former US president Bill Clinton once said: “During our lives we had all been presented with opportunities of one kind or another, and second, that we had worked hard to capitalize on those opportunities and that our hard work had paid off”. – The hole in our Gospel

The idea of ‘ I am the master of my own destiny’ is not possible with human beings because we are made in such a way that we need family and society to live with, only then we can be the person of our dream. First, we should be thankful to the GOD Almighty and then people around us, opportunities, options then we, our hard work that paid off. Therefore, we are a shareholder of our success and the master is GOD alone who put everything in the right place for us to be the person we are today.

Who is the master of his/her own destiny???       Not a single one….

This is not to discourage anyone but to help to be thankful in life and maintain right amount of confidence, and to keep one’s cup ready to be filled at anytime. May God take you to your dreams and may you have good success.…..

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Photo courtesy: Rachel Raj

God bless….

Abinash

Ancient Act of Basket Making

As part of our field visit I had an opportunity to visit a village called Champi. This is a small community called ‘Turi” and their main occupation are to weave basket and sell it in the local market.

The tradition came to this community when there were lots of bamboos in the village and they developed the indigenous habit of weaving basket many generations back. When asked, where do they get bamboo from ? they told me that lots of bamboo bushes used to be there in the village but now they are buying it from  neighboring villages to do their occupation.

In 1980s,  government gave permission to some paper factories to use bamboo from the forest for paper production which turned forest full of bamboo into wasteland. Even though they buy bamboo to do the occupation they can’t leave the habit of weaving because it is their tradition and it is the way to remember their ancestors and ancient act.

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But the question is how long it would continue? When asked they said only way to save this indigenous occupation is plantation. They have the answer! But who will do it? They have to do it but they need help! This is another responsibility for us now to help this community to save their occupation by helping them to save the forest and ultimately conserve environment. Livelihood through a proper management  is the answer for long term development of the community.

Abinash Biswal