Friday, November 21, 2008

CBDRM Workshop by DIPECHO and Welthungerhilfe

The Disaster Management division of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), Welthungerhilfe of Germany and Ramakrishna Mission of West Bengal jointly organized a State Level Workshop on Community Based Disaster Risk Management on the theme : "Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead" on 19 - 20, Nov 2008 at Narendrapur. The program was inaugurated by Dr. Hoeper of Welthungerhilfe and Swami Asaktanananda. The entire program was coordinated by Dr. Joachim Schemerbeck and moderated by Puthumai A. Nazarene, with assistance from the staff of Ramakrishna Mission. The meeting was attended by over 60 scholars, research students, International organizations, NGO activists and village level leaders. It was also wonderful to note that representatives from UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank too took time to make their presence felt. Some of the presentations given at the venue are available at the Public Library of this site. You may also avail of it by going directly into the folder : Climate and Disaster Management

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Blog in German

This blog that has already been visited by over 11,500 visitors in the last two years, and has even become a good download point for many social workers through the Public Library that is available along with this site. Now this website is available in German (Deutsch) language too. Just as you have been visiting for the English version, you may also visit for the German version of the same. This translation work has been done by a volunteer Ms. Alexandra Klages who has consented to translate it continuously. Enjoy the same excellence and visit again and again. We are thankful to Ms. Alexandra for accepting to do this wonderful task.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Animators take up Political Leadership

Raigunj, Nov. 15, 2008 Caritas, Raiganj motivated animators to take up village leadership. 23 animators of Social Welfare Institute, (SWI) popularly known as Caritas Raiganj have become Village Development council members during the recent selection. Out of the 25 animators working with the SWI on Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) programme, 23 of them have been selected by the village Panchayats to be the members of the Village Development Council (Gram Unnayan Samiti). These members have a role in planning village level Development, disaster management and health related programmes for the good of the villagers. They will also control the part of the finances given for development programmes by the Government in each Ward, said Fr. Puthumai Nazarene, the Director of SWI.We are very proud that our animators who have been trained by us have become VDC members in Harishchandrapur II Block of Malda District, said Miss. Bimala Baru, coordinator for CBDP programme supported by the UNICEF (United Nations Children's Education Fund). This is a great recognition for our organisation, said Fr. Puthumai who conducts monthly trainings for the animators.I am glad to learn that our animators have achieved this level of leadership, said Miss. Parnasri RayChowdhuri, Emergency officer of UNICEF, Calcutta. We are sure these animators will help the Panchayats to utilise the funds fully for the good of the vulnerable communities, said Bro.I.P.Sarto, Secretary of the Bengal Regional Forum. This is a good achievement on the part of the diocesan social service society in empowering people to take up political governance at the village level. We are sure these animators will help the people to get the Government facilities, said Sr. Naveena Tudu of the Sisters of Charity. SWI based in Raiganj works in three districts of North Bengal, viz, Malda, North Dinajpur and south Dinajpur since 1972. SWI was formerly involved in relief works for the Bangladesh refugees and later shifted to children's welfare, women's health and all round development of the vulnerable communities, said Fr. S. Santhappan, former director of SWI. Presently SWi works in collaboration with various Government departments. ## I.P.Sarto, Calcutta (from a Press Report sent to Christian magazines by Fr. I.P. Sarto)

Providence stands by the Poor

The Sisters of Divine Providence have joined with Social Welfare Institute in working in three villages near Patiram, 15 kms from Balurghat town, for the development of the poor, specially through service to the school drop-outs. Inaugurating a program on knitting and tailoring for 15 drop-out girls, Mr. Ashesh Chatterjee, the Assistant General Manager of NABARD, welcomed the initiative and said that we must ensure that every family in these three villages have a bank account. Puthumai A. Nazarene, in his special address, proposed that NABARD could join with Social Welfare Institute in the development of the poor in these three villages. He made special mention of the efforts taken by the Sisters of Providence, very specifically by Sr. Bindu, who did the entire survey in the three villages, and has plans for mainstreaming the children who can be placed back into schools, and other plans for the young boys and girls who need to be taught various other skills. He said that the target is to declare these three villages as “drop-out free” villages. This can function as a model.

 Methodologically, under the current program, the 15 girls will be made into a group, with a common bank account, and from the third month onwards, market linkages will be made for them so that they can sell their produce. The entire training will be for three months. Fr. Patras Bara, the Vicar General of the diocese, Fr. Lazarus Minj, the Parish Priest of Patiram, Fr. Herman Kindo, an Assistant Director of Social Welfare Institute, Sr. Manuela, the Superior of the Sisters of Providence, Mrs. Smritikanya Sarkar, the teacher and several other persons, children and self-help group members also attended the program. We thank Fr. Lazarus for offering the place for the training, the Sisters of Providence for their new partnership with Social Welfare Institute, and the team of staff of SWI (Mr. Shahnawaz and others), and Sr. Bindu for organizing the entire training. Part of the fund support will come from the FVTRS which has been supporting various skill development programs in Raiganj.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Loretos Redefine Development

Darjeeling, Oct. 29, 2008 :
Loreto sisters of Darjeeling Region in West Bengal decided to take up "Rights based Approach in their community development" programme. All the sisters of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) in the Region attended a workshop on "Redefining Development", Oct. 26-29, 2008 to review their social apostolates in Darjeeling.
Education has been our greatest strength. Now we would like to take up a pioneering role in developmental work in the villages where we are working, said Sr. Monica Alfonso, Regional Superior based in Siliguri about 550 kms north of Calcutta. Presently they have seven centres in Darjeeling district of West Bengal, Sikkim state and Nepal.
Frs. Puthumai Nazarene, Social works Director of Raiganj diocese and Ignatius Philo Sarto, Secretary of the Bengal Regional Forum facilitated the workshop. They elaborated the developmental concepts and various models of development adopted by various NGOs and in the Church. The facilitators extensively quoted the Bible to elaborate the prophetic role of Church in today's world. Fr. Puthumai elaborated the story of Moses, the prophet in present day context with social analysis.
A sister each will be posted in every community to look after the developmental and pastoral works in the area, said Sr. Alfonso at the end of the workshop. The sisters unanimously decided to train more sisters on development and to identify suitable lay people to train on social apostolate.
The sisters also accepted "to work towards building a more just  world where the rights of every woman and child are protected and ensured" as their vision. Mary Ward Development Centre (MWDC), named after the founder of the Congregation, established in 2006 facilitates, supports and sustains the development and justice initiatives of the Loreto sisters working in the Himalayan Region.
The MWDC is involved in education, health, women's empowerment, anti trafficking and volunteers programme in the region during the last two years, said Sr. Sabrina Edwards, directress of the centre.
This workshop is an eye opener for me to understand development in the context of the Biblical perspective, said Sr. Teresa Mc Glinchey, Principal of Loreto school, Darjeeling.  All the sisters shared their expectations  and unanimously decided that the MWDC would coordinate the developmental works in the missions of the Loretos in the Himalayan region.
I am glad that the concepts of development and justice are clarified during this workshop and we are able to look at the future with a new thrust, said Sr. Carmella Coelho, former principal of Loreto College, Darjeeling.
We must work for local fund raising for our village out reach programmes, emphasised SR. Coelho who is presently in-charge of finances in the region. Mr. Roshan Rai, a development activist in Darjeeling elaborated the situation in the hills and made a social analysis inviting the religious to go out to the vulnerables who are still living in the forests far away from any development.
Besides the IBVM sisters, priests from the neighbouring diocese of Jalpaiguri and the staff of Darjeeling diocesan social service society attended the sessions on "Spirituality of Development". It is a great opportunity for us to sit along with the priests and senior religious to attend this workshop and benefit immensely, said Mr. Albert Lepcha, one of the staff of Darjeeling .
We need to do more serious analysis to understand the implications of poverty in our society, said Fr. Sushil Toppo of Jalpaiguri, one of the participants.  Social analysis is the basis for every development work, said Sr. Christine Gurung who had done pioneering works in Nepal.
The sisters decided to hold quarterly review of their developmental programmes and to have a biannual orientation programme on development for those who are directly involved in social developmental works.  They also unanimously decided to give legal identity to their MWDC by registering it as a social service society. MWDC staff Varsha, Priscilla and Rohini left no stone unturned to make the workshop a success and fruitful...
(As reported by I.P.Sarto, Oct. 29, Asansol)

Right to Food Workshop

A training on Right to food was organized by Social Welfare Institute on 11-12 Sept 2008. Sixty seven participants attended the programme from various parts of West Bengal. The programme was facilitated by Fr. Puthumai

 Nazarene, director of Social Welfare Society, Raiganj, Fr. I.P.Sarto, Secretary of ABCD, Regional forum, Calcutta, Mr. Aftab Alam, the North Dinajpur District Development Officer in-charge of NREGA Programme and Sr. Mariola, BS., National Coordinator for Right to Food, Delhi. A detailed report is available by clicking on : Right to Food Worshop at Raiganj