Monday, November 17, 2008

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.

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