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NO WAR: RELEASE WAR OBJETORS !

WRI is constantly campaigning on the issue of war free society and recognising the human rights of every citizen to refuse to associate in anything relates to war. Swadhina subscribe to the notion of WRI that "War is a Crime against Humanity".

Swadhina Secretary Saswati Roy, long-term associate Diptendu Mukerji and youth representative Subhadip Mukerji attended WRI events from time to time in different global campaign in Germany, France, Croatia, Brazil, Africa, UK, Switzerland, Philippines and Italy.

NO Armaments

Swadhina is committed to an arms free world of everlasting peace and harmony. Towards this mission, Swadhina has endorsed its support to global campaign against small arms promoted by IANSA. Swadhina members regularly participate in events on this regularly which includes interactions in WSF.

Gender Meets

These are one day interactions held at all the Swadhina state units. Reading theme paper, group discussion on gender sensitization and narrating case studies and part of this effort. On an average 50 women participate. Last year alone there were 20 such events held.

8th March, Women's Day

Every year women's Day is observed in a big way with seminar,drawing speech competition. This is held separately by all the state units of Swadhina.

Awareness Posters

Two posters have been developed and printed on communal amity. Along with a card depicting the crucial need for communal harmony, decrying the happenings in Gujarat these posters were to sent to over 500 NGO and other friends of Swadhina across the country. The two posters designed by a young artist Palash Roy were appreciated by all as an apt symbol depicting harmony. - Two posters on "Violence against Women" were brought out - one in Bengali and the other in English. The posters were released at Calcutta on 30 November 2002 were developed by Srichandra Venkataramanan. The posters are being distributed to different organisations and individuals. - A small sized poster on use of Arms was brought out and distributed by Swadhina during the US attack on Iraq. The message says `Use Arms to embrace and not to kill'. This too has been developed by Srichandra.

Awareness T-Shirts

Swadhina so far has brought out 5 theme T-Shirts. The first one was on "Small Arms". The other four were released during the 20th Anniversary of Swadina and themes were: "No War at Our Cost ...It is our Money Afterall" ; "Don't Make War an Excuse to End Violence"; "Women are Strength, Women are Power"; "We Are NOT under-developed, We are OVER-EXPLOITED"."Think Green".

KANYAKUMARI TSUNAMI REHABILITATION PROJECT

In the early hours of dawn, death and devastation stood hand in hand, washing away life, living and humanity- one by one, bit by bit. Hand in hand, we re-built them- home and happiness, secured togetherness- brick by brick, dream by dream.

On December 26th 2004, a mass tragedy had struck in the form of Tsunami. Thousands of lives were washed away and thousands of homes destroyed. The tragedy had also touched the lives of the people of the coastal region of Kanyakumari.

Swadhina has been working in the Colachel region for past 13 years and following the distress call from the workers of the region it was decided to take concrete re-habilitation steps which would help them re-establish their lives once more. Thus, Kanyakumari Tsunami Rehabilitation Project was undertaken from January 2005 onwards.


Under this project the following activities were undertaken:
1) Re-schooling of children

  • Providing School Kits to primary level school children
  • Providing Toys and Playing items to local schools
  • Arranging Intra and Inter Village Sports
  • Providing School Development support to local schools

2) Rebuilding economy

  • Providing fishing nets to families
  • Providing support for acquiring country boats - catamarans
  • Providing support to women's group (SHG)

3) Re-housing of families

  • Providing support for houses to repair


The programmes are being undertaken for a period of one and half year. At the end of March 2006 most of the re-habilitation efforts are over and the people have already begun to re-build their lives in a positive way.

Under the Re-schooling of children programme

  • 453 children were given school kits comprising of school bags, school dresses, pencil box, tiffin box and note books.
  • 5 Games Kit was provided to 5 schools.
  • 2 schools were given infrastructure support in the form of furniture, wall painting.
  • 4 Sports Meet was organized for 5 villages.

Under the Re-building of Economy scheme

  • 202 families were supported with fish-net of three types-Large, Medium, Small
  • 148 families were supported with Cattamarans of three sizes- Large, Medium, Small
  • 10 SHG groups have been formed where the members have begun to save and have bank accounts.
    The IGP programmes will start soon.

The Re-housing of Family scheme could be used to support

  • re-building of 100 partially damaged houses
  • re-building of 50 fully damaged houses

The project has benefited the people in a number of ways. For instance, the school kits given to the children has greatly influenced them. Just after Tsunami the most affected lot were the children who were psychologically disturbed and terrified of leaving their houses for their school, however these new kits and colorful walls and furniture in their school induced them to shed their fear and start going to the school once more. Not just this, the performance of the students has also shown marked improvement in one year.

The sports programmes have helped them forget their trauma and get on with fun and life once more.
The boats, nets given to the families have ensured that they have a stable economy to re-build and support their family. The Tsunami waves had washed away the boats and nets which are the only source of livelihood for the fisher folk. The support given has ensured that they once again go for fishing and earn income for their family. This has helped provide a stable economy for the families once more.

The Tsunami waves had caused immense damage to the houses near the sea-coast , rendering them unsafe for further use. It was thus necessary to provide them a stable shelter. The re-housing activities have ensured the villagers have a safe abode that is much stronger than what they earlier had. Each newly built house has two rooms and a stable roofing.

SHG groups have been formed to involve women in sustainable income generation efforts. 10 groups have been formed having 188 members. The members have begun to save money and now they have saved nearly Rs. 56780 /- in the bank.

The efforts taken by the team of workers from Swadhina has been praiseworthy and today the people of Colachel, Kanyakumari are able to re-build their lives and dreams, leaving behind the horror of Tsunami.

Agro-Project

The state of Jharkhand is newly formed bifurcating the state of Bihar. Illiteracy, high infant and maternal mortality rates are some of the marked features of the state. Though rich in valuable mineral and natural resources, the Jharkhand area has always remained miserably poor since the outsiders have always reaped the benefits out of the mineral and natural resources. The simple tribals have always been exploited as unskilled labours. Agriculture is the chief occupation of people living there. Many possess land but the yield is not sufficient. Most of the land is rocky and uncultivable. Lack of irrigation facilities is also another reason for poor agriculture. Moreover then cost of agriculture has increased manifold with its growing dependence on market for purchase of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and hybrid seeds. Therefore agriculture is no longer a viable economic option here, neither does it ensure food security. Women play a significant role in agricultural activities but their contribution has also remained invisible and unrecognised. Women have always been exploited and discriminated. They have always remained the poorest among the poor and marginalised. At Jharkhand too women share the same plight. The project plans at agro-based economic development of the area for 300 families in 10 villages at Patamda block of Jharkhand and ensure food security for them through increase of agricultural yield by bringing additional land under cultivation through land reclamation, introducing multi-cropping pattern replacing the mono crop system, arranging irrigation through construction of irrigation boxes, tank desiltation, encourage the villagers to reduce excessive dependence on chemical pesticides and fertilisers, and use good quality seeds for better production, grow new type of vegetables. Since 2005 this project is being supported under European Union/Welthungerhilfe funding.

Compost Pits

210 families have constructed Compost pits to get organic fertiliser for agriculture. This will surely reduce to some extent their dependence on chemcials. People have voluntarily come forward to dig their own pits.

Irrigation Facilities

Irrigation box construction and tank desiltation work was promoted for providing additional irrigation facilites. 60 tanks were identified and de-silted. 300 Irrigation Boxes (small percolation tanks) have been newly excavated in the region . These are providing benefit to the villagers for irrigation for sustaining a crop and in some cases help them to go for a second cropping.

Land Reclamation

410 Acres of so far unused land taken up for levelling to make cultivable for further use. Grains cultivated in these additional land helped people increase the overall production. Babui grass cultivation was taken up at the land earlier left uncultivated. This grass is used for rope making and bring good profit.

Grain Storage Beans

The women members of the families have been encouraged to save grains together. The community Grain Storage effort has received very good response from the Women's Committees because when there is food scarcity, women suffer the most. They provide food to all the hungry family members, themselves going unfed. 100 families, the small and marginal farmers, from the 10 villages are now savings grains for future use in 25 large sized 50 quintal capacity "Community Storage Bins". They can borrow grains from there when the family stock ends. This supplement the food security effort of the community.

Animal Resource

In Jharkhand one of the stress area is providing animal resource support. Under programme cows, goat, pigs are provided on cost sharing basis Wherein the beneficiaries provide half the cost involved. So far the following are provided: cows: 100 milching cows provided to 50 families goats: 160 goats provided to 80 familie pigs: 140 pigs provided to 70 families chickens: 23 families have been provided with support for chicken rearing. fish: 22 families received fishlings.

Day Care Centres

10 centres have been set up at 10 villages for pre-school kids. These centers function like crèches for children of women agro-labourers who have little opportunity to look after their children. These centers have female caretakers known as Sahayikas who look after these children, imparting some basic education through non-formal method. At the end of this year, total number of children coming regularly to 10 centres is 191. (78 boys and 113 girls).

Rural Eco-clubs

Eco clubs to enhance the environment consciouness among teen-agers below the age of 14 years have been formed at the village level. These teen-ager groups meet regularly and are plan some concrete steps on environment sustenace. 89 boys and 61 girls (total 150) are covered through the 10 Eco-Clubs. About 30 Eco-Club members were taken on an exposure visit to Jubilee Park in Jamshedpur on19th March 2006 . Another exposure trip for these rural groups was organised in 2007 end to visit Purlia town museum, botanical park etc.

Bio-Product Collection and Sales Outlet

A Bio-shop named "Ghatsila Bipani" has been started at Ghatsila. The aim of the shop would be a dual function of collection of various non-artificial items from the village as well as urban set -up and sale of those. This would not only boost marketing opportunities for the village women but also bolster the cause of going back to nature. For the start-up indigenous handicrafts by women, cotton t-shirts and books n social issues have been displayed. Gradually pickles, hand-made food items, spices etc. from the villages are to be brought in and stored.

Rural market

With support from Swadhina team 2 rural markets have started in the villages of Hurumbil and Geruala . These markets are functional on Wednesdays and Fridays respectively. Opening of these markets have opened a flood-gate of marketing opportunities for the local growers. These markets have attracted a huge turnout- increasing the potential for local level marketing. Swadhina Women's Committee members also put up their own stall- selling non-hybrid seeds, having scope for animal health check-up and promoting environment issues.

Land & Demonstration Centre

Local Panchayat has provided a plot of 3 acres of land to Swadhina in the Garbeta area, Midnapur, West Bengal. Presently an agro based demonstration field has been developed here. The seeds plants planted here include Beans, Tomato, Pumpkin etc. Plans are there to develop a Women's Training Centre, which will include facilities for demonstration on agricultural and animal husbandry exposure. A tin roofed house has been already constructed there and a small percolation tank excavated. Sincere appreciation goes to Swadhina worker Rina Achaya whose ceaseless organisational effort in the villages bore this fruit.

Women’s Development: Tamil Nadu

In Tamil Nadu, Swadhina activities are carried out among the fishing communities living by the sea shore supported by TWA: Third World Association, Germany. Here the chief occupation is fishing. The necessary nutritious vegetables are not available in the area. Whatever little vegetables available in the local market, are very expensive. Therefore Swadhina thrust in this area is promotion of kitchen garden. Promotion of kitchen garden in their respective families of the beneficiaries is the thrust here. Beneficiaries are given a kit of different vegetable seeds, and,the results are very encouraging.

Medical Aid Programme

This programme is carried out with medicine support from Action Medeor, Germany. Essential medicines are received every year, which are later sent to different state units of Swadhina. A medicine Kit containing simple medicines and various ointment for treatment and prevention of various diseases for children and women is given to the select workers who act as bare-foot health guide. Before distributing the medicines, the use of each medicine/ointment and its dosage etc. are explained to them. So that for simple diseases the workers themselves can give those and the villagers do not need to rush to distant hospitals or depend on any external health personnel. The medicines have proved to be very useful in remote villages.

Health Check-up camps

Regular Health Check up camps are conducted at rural areas with the voluntary services of nearby town doctors.Swadhina working villages in this area are very remotely located and the villagers find it difficult to go to the health centres for any health ailment.On an average about 200 people attend these camps every month.

NFE Centres,Kanya Kumari, Tamil Nadu

There are ten centres. Each such village centre is run quite successfully with full participation of the local villagers. At each centre, equal stress is given on cultural orientation and value promotion along with providing academic guidance to the children. Many festivals like Christmas, Diwali, Pongal are celebrated, at the same time during Special Day celebrations like Environment Day, Women's Day etc. children from the centre are involved so that they develop social concerns. Many children already go to the nearby schools and come to our centre where the Animator helps them with their studies. The girls always outnumber the boys in terms of admission and attendance. This is a significant achievement since girls in poor families mostly become drop-outs and get no chance of completing their school education. About 300 learners are being covered through this effort.

NFE Centres, Jharkhand

These were started at 6 working villages on request of the local villagers. Appropriate learning materials from Swadhina were given to the children for use at the centres. Everyday the classes were held for atleast two hours. About 120 children are getting an opportunity for learning through these centres. out this additional responsibility for one year.

Al-Chiki Study Centre

In Midnapore, Swadhina activities are carried out exclusively in tribal villages. To counter the recent trend of erosion of tribal culture and language, a special education centre for the tribal children has been started. At Loginoari village, Hikim Kisku, a tribal Al-Chiki expert teaches Al-Chiki to children and adults. Swadhina has printed At Chiki alphabets for this purpose. Another centre of similar nature has been started at Bondih village in Jharkhand.

Rural Libraries

This project, taken up a few years ago, covered 50 villages in remote rural areas of Tamil Nadu and Orissa. In addition 10 such centres were run in slums of Kolkata. The objective is to offer an opportunity to the neo-literates to gain knowledge, and, present a common rallying point to initiate village development actions.



Swadhina, 34/C Bondel Road, Kolkata (Calcutta) 700019, West Bengal, INDIA
Tel: (+ 91 33) 32451730 / 22870934
Email:
mainoffice.swadhina@gmail.com
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