Monday, September 21, 2009


Lyra Pinto
The staff of five centres in the Gujarat region—Kawant, Chhota Udepur, Alirajpur, Narukot and Kapadvanj—gathered in Kawant for a training session conducted by the Unnati Organisation for Development Education, in preparation for the upcoming October Gram Sabhas in Gujarat.

The 31 staff members who attended the programme took full advantage of the opportunity to clarify their doubts regarding the procedures of Gram Sabhas and the planning of works under the NREGA. Their field experience in dealing with these topics over the last one year threw up many interesting questions, and also enabled them to explore possible solutions to the problems dogging the smooth functioning of the NREGA and Panchayat Raj Institutions in their villages.

The resource persons, Mr. Roshan and Mr. Jasmin, also described Unnati’s experiences and strategies for strengthening the people through Gram Sabhas. By means of a detailed explanation followed by an analytical exercise, they went on to train the participants in facilitating social audits of the NREGA through Gram Sabhas. The programme ended with a question and answer session during which the participants were able to clarify some of the finer points involved in the NREGA planning process.

The staff who took part in the session came away with clearer knowledge and increased confidence in their ability to empower NREGA workers in their villages through Gram Sabhas.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Manisha Kande
Bosco Yuva Sanghtana organized a three days residential training programme on NREGA and role of Panchayati Raj Institutions for the village animators at Walvanda centre, Taluka- Jawhar from September 11- 13, 2009. The purpose of the training was to strengthen the animator’s capacity and elucidate their role at the village level. 43 animators from Jawhar and Mokhada block attended and participated in the training. The resource persons were Mr. Saby Francis and Mr. Arun Hivale from Organization SPREAD.
The emphasis was laid on the Perspective Building of the animators, on social development, the situation of the tribal community by using different methods like Venn diagrams and games.
Dr. Anil Patil, professor at the Jawhar K.V. College, addressed the animators on the Adivasi lifestyle with live examples and strongly clarified their role at the village level. It was an inspirational and motivational session for the animators.

The resource person engaged the participants in the ‘SHRAMDAN’work for one hour as their self activity. During the break the animators played a game on unity which helped them to understand their capacity and their imaginative ideas. In the evening a play on social issues was organized by Sir Kanat with assistance from the Vakadpada group. The play focused on spreading awareness at the village level by effective use of media. A movie on NREGA named ‘Jau tithe khau’ was also screened. The movie very well portrayed the corruption behind the scheme.
The last day of the training started with the folk Adivasi action song ‘Aamhi Adivasi por’ by a participant. The resource person gave inputs on MREGS and NREGA. Mr. Melvin Pangya explained the main provision under this Act and the work proposed in the Gramsabha by villagers. The training enhanced the knowledge of the animators to think in a positive way and work effectively in the villages.
The training ended with the action plan of work by every animator for six months on awareness building at village level and creating a network for activities of the Gram Sabhas. One animator from each centre shared their experiences about the training.

Friday, September 11, 2009


KAPADVANJ, SEPTEMBER 10, 2009: On September 5, 2009, Don Bosco, Kapadvanj organized a training program on the Gram Sabha. From the selected eight villages to be the model in the Kapadvanj Taluka, there were 82 men and women present. The training aimed to empower people and prepare them for the forth coming Gram Sabha.
Beginning with the welcome at 11a.m with a power point presentation on Gram Sabha, social worker Nikunj Parmar explained the participants the basic details of the Gram Sabha. Most of the participants had never attended a Gram Sabha and admitted of not knowing its functions.

The women present for the training program honestly said that they thought women were not allowed to attend any Sabha. During the power point presentation many of them raised questions about a Samiti.

After the presentation a movie on Gram Sabhas was screened. Post lunch Fr. Mayank Parmar spoke about various ways to take village problems to the higher authorities’ during the Sabha and the importance of NREGA in Gram Sabha.

The most interesting part of the training was the mock Gram Sabha. During this session Fr. Isaac posed as the Talati, Fr. Mayank as Sarpanch and the staff members as Gram Panchayat members. The social worker conducted the Sabha. The participants learnt how a Sabha was held and what responsibilities do different Samitis carry.

The participants were cleared of their doubts and were immensely grateful to Don Bosco, Kapadvanj for organizing the training programme. The training ended with the vote of thanks delivered by social worker Nikunj Parmar.


Daskshayani Madangopal
: The R&D department of Shelter Don Bosco, Matunga conducted an animated Workshop for Social Workers as Counsellors on the September 9, 2009, for 18 Mumbai based NGOs working with children, youth, slum communities, commercial sex workers, domestic workers and those working with children in municipal schools. 40 participants from these various backgrounds attended a very effective, animated and interactive workshop.

The workshop was initiated by Fr. Barnabe D’Souza. The sessions were conducted by Prof. Tarana Pitawala of SNDT University and Director of Sinara Education and Career Counselling Insitute and Ms. Rupal Vador co-author of a Manual “Social Workers as Counsellors” by the R&D, published by Tejprasarini.

Prof. Pitawala got the group involved in practical nuances of counselling in their situations in the field. There were several sessions in getting the participants taking roles of the ‘counselled and counsellor,’ counselling skills in listening, rapport building, assessing the problem and goal setting, understanding the situation and responding accordingly.

Ms. Vador went through the Manual ‘Social Workers as Counsellors’ with the participants on how to use the manual in their settings. Each participant was given a copy of the manual. This prompted the participants to request for the other manuals of the R&D centre.

Fr. Barnabe introduced the FINO Savings cum identity card to the participants and gave them an opportunity to discuss it with their Directors to take it further for implementation in their organizations.

The Workshop ended with an announcement of a follow up workshop on October 10, 2009, in Maria Ashiana, Lonavla for the NGOs of Pune district on the same topic and a soon to be released (October) manual on ‘Eliciting People’s participation in Community Development’ a research based manual on Shelter Don Bosco’s experience of working for urban and rural communities.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Natasha Almeida
A cultural programme and felicitations marked Teachers’ Day celebrations on Saturday, September 5, 2009 at the Maschio Centre, Matunga. The celebrations were organized by Don Bosco Development Society to felicitate teachers from the community centres at Mahim and Matunga and Bosco Plus at Dharavi.
Amidst the chatter of the excited children, students who had gathered from different areas welcomed Fr. Edwin D’souza, Guest of Honour and the teachers by way of an aarti. Soon after a short cultural programme followed which saw the students put up songs and dances in appreciation for their teachers. In their own way the students not only entertained but also provided valuable information about the origins and history of the Teachers Day celebrations in India.
Fr. Edwin D’souza, in his address made a mention of two important words that the children need to use towards their teachers, namely, ‘Thank You’ and ‘I Love You’. He also said that the best gift a student could give a teacher would be that of excelling in their studies and other activities.
In the end floral tributes were handed over to the teachers. At a time when the country struggles to give teachers their due recognition, in a small corner of Mumbai, these under privileged children with twinkling eyes came forward in gratitude and humility to appreciate their teachers – their second mothers. The aisles of Maschio Centre echoed of ‘Thank you teacher’ long after the children had left for their homes.


Natasha Almeida
On Friday, September 4, 2009, Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS) organized a one day
workshop at Dharavi, in association with Ekvira Mitra Mandal, a community organization. The workshop focused on developing and promoting awareness about RTI among women who are part of the Self Help Groups and the Tailoring Course at Mahim and Dharavi, as well as providing a platform for these women to interact with each other.

Along with the 120 women, present for the workshop, was Fr. Elson Baretto, Director of DBDS and Fr. Savio Silveira, Executive Director DBDS. Fr. Elson, in his motivational address made mention of an anecdote ‘Ghar ka malik kaun?’ This got the women all ears for the workshop.
The resource person for the day was Mr. Praful Shinde, a leading RTI activist for the last twenty years from Sampark Sanstha. Mr. Shinde, a former resident of Dharavi, mentioned that he felt more than comfortable to deal with women coming from a place where he resided earlier. After giving a brief history of the origins of the RTI Act, Mr. Shinde step by step dealt with the whole process of RTI. The four hours workshop also consisted of an open forum for the women to raise questions and clear any doubt about the RTI. Issues ranging from education to poverty and governance were raised, with the women showing awareness about various social and general issues in their neighbourhood.
Surekha Pednekar, from Don Bosco Development Society, said, "This workshop was primarily designed to allow the women from the slum areas to learn about this tool and allow them to solve any doubts they may have about its operation."
Shweta Bharati, a resident of Mahim who participated at the workshop said, “I am thankful to DBDS and more than happy to have attended this workshop. This information will surely help me and my fellow residents to deal with the water issues in our area. We not only learnt about RTI, but also got to know the mindsets of women from different areas and their views."
In conclusion, Ms. Pednekar delivered the vote of thanks. The women left the community centre high on energy already discussing how to make the best use of the information they have received.