Thursday, November 13, 2008

Trips to various grassroots efforts

Coming back home was important for many reasons. One of the main ones was the opportunity and the interest in spending time with grassroots efforts here. This is an exciting phase in my life. I could actually travel long and spend more time at the places I want to be at! I reached India in March 2008 and had to join work only in mid April. I made use of that time to do some long visits. After joining work, I still traveled to places around Bangalore. Here are some of the efforts I visited and accounts about my experiences as well.

Bharathi Trust is a non-profit development organisation working for the cause of upliftment and empowerment of Irula Tribal communities living in the interior pockets and coastal areas of Tamilnadu. It has been conducting a number of development programmes such as Sangam formation, awareness camps, liason work with government for obtaining development schemes, day care services, motivation centres for eradication of child labour, housing schemes, Tsunami relief and rehab etc.

Here is an account of my experiences in cuddalore

Here is an account of my experiences in Thiruvallur

I took a trip around Uttar pradesh to visit efforts that was supported by Asha Austin and we also attended a conference on water rights. Nandlal and his colleagues founded Lok Samiti in Rajatalab. Lok Samiti has spread to 25 villages today and the various Lok Samiti groups focus on educating the people about their rights, raising awareness about problems specific to each village. They believe that to bring about economic, social and political change, groups like Lok Samiti need to act as watchdogs, demanding that their elected officials truly represent them. Lok Samiti raises awareness of social issues through the street play team, Kala Manch. Lok Samiti has also played an important role in the creation of 35 self-help groups for women.

Here is an account of my experiences in Uttar Pradesh

My trip to Asha Samajik Vidyalaya in Uttar Pradesh

My trip to Bharathiya Jan Seva Ashram in Uttar Pradesh

The plan was to go to Bhopal and Rajasthan to visit a lot more efforts after my trip to Uttar Pradesh, but I fell sick with food poisoning and had to cut it short. So, I returned home from Uttar Pradesh. I still did go visit Bharathi trust efforts and Banyan in Chennai.

Back in Bangalore we visited a lot of projects in and around Bangalore. We have even volunteered at these organizations.

Shristi Special Academy - As part of the community affairs team, we have been able to convince my company to procure goods made by the kids at Shristi! This is quite an achievement (but, it most probably happened because the goods in itself were great in quality and price - not because of a socially responsible action ;) ..)
Here is an account of my experiences there

Prasanna Jyothi is an orphanage supported by Asha Austin and is based close to my home. I have been visiting the kids regularly and we even went on a trip to the Vishwesharaya Science Musueum. Here is a brief account of my visits there a few months back.

Timbaktu is an organization that Asha has worked with before. We made a visit first to understand their organic farming initiatives and later we went to review a fellowship we support for Mutyallappa, a sarpanch in the village of Mushtikovila. Here is an account of my experiences there.

Thulir is an Education Resource Center for children and young adults at Sittilingi which is a tribal village in Dharmapuri District, Tamil Nadu. It's a Tamil word that means, "tender shoot", also "to sprout". Asha Princeton has been actively supporting the Thulir effort since 2004 through Fellowships for Anu and Krishna, who started with the objective of establishing an Education Resource Centre in a remote adivasi(tribal) area, to supplement the education they receive from Government schools and to work with the children who drop out from schools. Currently, Asha Bangalore also supports the running expenses of the resource center. Here is a brief report on our trip as Team Asha.

We also visited Sita School. Our interaction with Jane Sahi of the school was enlightening. Asha Bangalore will be selling calendars made by the kids at Sita School this year.

Asha Bangalore works with a couple of government Schools at Chandranagar layout and Kumarsamy Layout (both these places are walkable distances from my home). I help out with the salary disbursals for the teachers supported by Asha at the school and we also have a consistent volunteering effort - every Saturday at the school.

I also made a trip to Gandhigram to learn more about their efforts. After my ultra run this novemeber, I will set out to complete the unfinished trip up north - I plan to visit a number of efforts at Bhopal and Rajasthan. If you would like to know more about any of the efforts supported by Asha Bangalore or any of the efforts I visited or I am associated with, please do let me know. I have learned a lot from these trips, hope to learn more and help these efforts in any way possible.

1 comment:

Bhopale said...

Hello, I would like to request you in advance to write a guest BLOG for me about your experience with background details when you visit Bhopal.

Great work. Keep going.