Saturday, June 30, 2007

Phasing Over from Food Programs of CRS

The Director, R. Puthumai and Mr. John Hembrom visited Purnea in the State of Bihar, India for a discussion with the five Partners of Boarding Feeding program (now known as Residential Institutions support). SWI supports 1820 students below the age of 14 in the districts of Purnea, Katihar and Kishanganj in the most backward State of Bihar, in India. The program will be phased out in September 2009 as USAID will not support the program after that. The USAID gives food support to 7810 poor under-nourished tribal children in 53 Partner locations across three districts of West Bengal and three districts of Bihar, through Catholic Relief Services and SWI. So, the Director and Mr. John, the Program Coordinator met the Partners at Purnea and discussed the phase-over plan so that the partners in Bihar can begin to look for support elsewhere. A similar meeting with partners in Bengal will be held on 11 July 2007.

Day of Reflection

All the senior Staff of Social Welfare Institute gathered at SWI on 29 June at 10.00 a.m. for a day of reflection. Mr. Jiten Mahato and Ms. Sanchari presented reflections on Natural Resource Management and Watershed Management with implications for our working area. Ms. Shivangi Gupta presented a short report on her visit to Guwahati for the Monitoring & Evaluation workshop in mid-June. Mr. Sanjay Nahak gave his experience at ATI, Salt Lake for the "Psycho-Social Impacts of Natural Disasters" and "Community Based Disaster Preparedness". A short film on Impact of pesticide usage in parts of India was also shown as part of awareness building among the staff. Later, the Director, R. Puthumai, had some reflections and discussions on matters pertaining to the Staff. The next Quarterly Meeting has been fixed for 19-20, July 2007.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Amazing Teacher Student Ratio !

If you ever thought Indian education is growing faster.... think again. The District of North Dinajpur, where SWI is trying to bring in development by encouraging children to go to school, has hit a record ! Just imagine, the Sithgram Vidya Bhavan, a high School just 9 kms (6 miles) north of Raiganj town has 1,830 students enrolled in the school, and there are only seven teachers. That means, there are 262 students per teacher. A world record? (May be someone should suggest its name for the Guinness Book of World Records. And there are just 11 classrooms. Obviously, those students who do not find a place inside the classroom, spend their time outside the classrooms on the veranda. Amazing ! Believe it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fr. Herman Kindo to Join Social Welfare Institute

The Bishop of Raiganj, Rt. Rev. Alphonsus D'Souza has appointed Fr. Herman Kindo as an Assistant at Social Welfare Institute. Welcome dear Herman! . Fr. Herman is presently the Priest-in-charge at St. Vianney Seminary, the candidate house for those who are willing to be priests, at Rajibpur in South Dinajpur District. He is expected to join by the end of June. So, SWI will now have two assistants to support the Director.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Capacity Building of Staff : NRM and M & E

Ms. Sanchari Baral, Mr. Jiten Mahato and Mr. Subhash Topno of Social Welfare Institute are in Darjeeling at Mineral Springs for a training in Natural Resource Management. Dr. Joachim S. from Germany is the main resource person. Ms. Shivangi Gupta of SWI is in Guwahati, Assam for the entire week for a training in Monitoring and Evaluation, specially of Community Based Disaster Preparedness Programs. Both these workshops have been arranged by Caritas India and Catholic Relief Services, with support from ABCD. Mr. John Hembrom, Mr. Budhan Mardi and Mr. Robi Lakra were in Kolkata, at the CRS office for discussions on Phase Over Plan for the boarding feeding program. The boarding feeding program that supports 7,810 is scheduled to be closed by September 2009.

Change in Telephone Number of Director

The Cellphone number of the Director has been changed to +91 94347 53999. Please note the change. The number is, as usual, available at your service.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Trip to Bhubaneshwar

I just needed a break for couple of days. What best I could do? I left on 1 June evening to Bhubaneshwar, the capital town of the State of Orissa, India. I reached on 2nd afternoon. My niece, Ms. Jenifer who is preparing to be a nun in the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and Sr. Valentine of the same congregation, and Mr. Mishra, a friend of mine welcome me as I land there. Then, I spend the evening at the Sisters' place and have a dinner with the Mishras. On 3rd, I celebrated mass for the sisters on the Feast of Trinity Sunday. Later, the time passes quickly. I sleep a lot, spend time in quiteness and silence. Later Sr. Rose, Sr. Valentine, Jenifer and me go for some sight seeing. My return journey was not as pleasant, as I miss the connecting bus at Kolkata and get stranded looking for a bus to reach Raiganj till mid-night. Having found none, I reached SKC, Kolkata at half past mid-night, and find a bed there to hit my head. In the morning, woke up at 4.30 a.m. to catch a bus at 5.15 a.m. on 4th June, and reached Raiganj at 4.00 p.m.! A very long and tiring journey through the day. Oh yes! I got a chance to meet some persons from a non-profit organization called ORISSA ! They seem to be doing lots of very good work in some of the most poverty-struck districts of Orissa, many of them, worse than those in Bengal. They asked me if I could help them with some support. I am not so sure dear! (All this from the desk of the Director)