Saturday, July 25, 2009

DBDS #018 EMPOWERING YOUTH TO SPEARHEAD MOVEMENT OF NREGS

Subhash Shirsath
NARUKOT, JULY 25, 2009:
Don Bosco, Narukot organized the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) ‘Workshop and Sharing of Experiences’ at the campus on July 16, 2009. Thirty-four Village Education Programme (VEP) masters, from different villages of Narukot and from Lok Seva Kendra – Chhota Udepur, Kawant Education Society – Kawant, Alirajpur Shaikshanik Samajik Kendra –Alirajpur, Amrut Dhara –Kapadvaj, and Narukot Education Society- Narukot centres of development department representatives, participated in this programme. Advocate Mr. Himanshu Benker (Chief Secretary of Gramin Majdur Sabha- Gujarat), who has been working for Legal Rights of Rural Labourers and Rural Development for the last 16 years, was the resource person for the day.

Drawing from his long and rich experience in this field, he explained to rural youth the rights and provisions of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act -2005. He shared his own practical work experiences with regard to the NREGS, interesting ideas and methods with the trainees. He then focused on the awareness of villagers, building competencies for the rights of the people. Further, he also gave answers and details of NREGA‘s legal and practical problems. ‘Bandhi Lo Sahu Ked’- a film on the issue of the NREGS was screened for the trainees. After this session Fr. Stanny Ferreira sdb, encouraged and motivated the trainees to start an NREGA movement in the area. The next Leadership Training Programme will be organized on July 26, 2009. The resource person invited will be Prof. Dr. Roman Bhatia from Surat to further strengthen the cause.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

DBDS #017 WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT IN CHHOTA

Ranald Lopes sdb CHHOTA, JULY 8, 2009: Don Bosco Skills Training Centre once again completed another three-month course for new tailors. This time, the completion was not just with needles and scissors but with a brand new sewing machines. The twenty four simple village girls who came in daily to learn tailoring and emboridery accquired a certificate at the successful completion of the course. The surprise factor of the course was that each of the women got a sewing machine through JDW-BMZ for themselves to begin a new home business in their own villages. Thanks to JDW-BMZ who sponsored this Integrated Programme, which is just one of the many programmes they have initiated. Surely women's empowerment is just a step away in Chhota.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

DBDS #016 THE TIME IS RIGHT!

MUMBAI, JULY 7, 2009
Savio Silveira


Our focus all through June was definitely on the NREGS. The month began with a meeting at Chhota Udepur, Gujarat, to chart a definite course of action for the next three years on how to ensure the proper implementation of the NREGS in the villages we are working in. And the month closed with a staff training workshop, again at Chhota Udepur, which aimed at understanding a little more clearly the ground reality vis-à-vis the complex dynamics involved in actualizing this scheme. The days in between were spent in enabling each centre to get its act together and to actually step into the arena. And yes, the month also threw up a few quick successes, especially at Kapadvanj, where we had some of our village communities acquiring their Job Cards, applying for work and even getting down to work in two villages.

Against this backdrop, the budget presented by the Finance Minister in Parliament yesterday is heartening. He reiterated the Government’s commitment to the NREGS, announced an allocation of 39,100 crores of rupees for this programme, and even declared—although a little ambiguously—that the minimum wage under this scheme would be Rs. 100 per day. Rural India definitely has a reason to cheer!

But all this good news does not imply that we can now let down our hair. If anything, it is a call to further pull up our socks. We know just too well, that at the end of the day, it’s not about plans and schemes and budgetary pronouncements—it’s all about the delivery system. To ensure that the people can access the NREGS, that the crores of rupees pledged actually translate into employment and wages for the rural populace, that productive assets get created in the villages—that’s where we enter the fray.

In more than one way the NREGS has got the economics right. The challenge now is to get the praxis right too.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

DBDS #015 VALEDICTORY FUNCTION AT DHARAVI

MUMBAI, JULY 4, 2009: The afternoon of July 3 saw a large number of school dropouts, unemployed youth and housewives gather for the valedictory ceremony at Dharavi. The ceremony marked the closure of the Spoken English and Basic Computer classes that were held for a period of three months beginning April 1, 2009, by Don Bosco Development Society in collaboration with Ekvira Mitra Mandal as part of Don Bosco Tech. Those gathered had been a part of the three month long venture.In attendance for the function was the team from the Mumbai Development Office including Ms. Laxmi, the Computer facilitator; Ms. Nushrat, the spoken English facilitator and field worker staff Ms. Sanjeevani. It commenced with the welcome address by one of the students. She spoke about her experiences at the course. This was followed by a welcome song sung in English by a few students. A few more students came ahead to share their experiences. It was heart wrenching to see a simple housewife from the Dharavi slums speak in English. Though she stumbled for words in between she picked again from where she had stopped.Before the distribution of the certificates Fr. Savio Silveira encouraged the participants to take what they have learnt ahead. He mentioned that it wasn’t the end and that things had just begun for them. A hilarious skit in Marathi put up by the students followed. The skit had everyone present in splits. Participants sang an English song which was commendable and yet another participant sang ‘Itni shakti hamein dena data’- a Hindi bhajan. Ms. Surekha from the Mumbai team explained to the participants the objective of collaborating with Ekvira Mitra Mandal, after which the certificates were distributed. The students promised her to come back in a month’s time much more improved and to lead by example.The vote of thanks was delivered by Ms. Nushrat the spoken English facilitator. This three months program has benefited 160 students in all.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

DBDS #014 DBIT STUDENTS RESEARCH RURAL REALITY

Royal D'souza KURLA, JULY 1, 2009: India’s status as a largely agricultural country with a growing population showcases that the demands on its limited natural resources are steadily increasing. Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS), through its partner organizations, is involved in natural resource management, community organization and skills training in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. ‘Jal Academy’ is a new venture being launched by Don Bosco Institute of Technology (DBIT) in collaboration with DBDS. The purpose of this Academy is to work out practical ways in which technology can be used for the benefit of rural people, especially in the sector of water. To understand the needs of the people in the villages and their problems with regard to water, DBIT sent 20 students and 7 teachers for an exposure camp to Gujarat and Ahmednagar, from June 21 to June 27, 2009.In Ahmednagar the group was based at Bosco Gramin Vikas Kendra (BGVK), while in Gujarat they were based at the Don Bosco centres at Chhota Udepur, Kawant and Narukot. A key focus of the camp was to study existing water projects, so as to be able to design effective and low cost solutions to water problems, both, for domestic use as well as for agriculture. The students returned to Mumbai with several innovative ideas which they will work on during the year. The students are also planning to design a website for BGVK which will make people aware about projects like watershed development. The visit proved to be a good learning experience for the students and teachers. Thanks to the different centers which hosted the students and to DBDS for helping organize the entire camp.