Saturday, March 21, 2009

Act to Combat Trafficking

A US$2.5 Billion business worldwide, human trafficking is a huge nuisance as well as a matter of great concern for every nation and community in this universe at present. Women and children, especially of the deprived section of the society, are lured, forced into illicit and illegal trades which sometimes are accountable for their deaths also. The Church on its part has a huge responsibility towards this mammoth menace disquieting humanity.
The Diocese of Durgapur, which has a protracted account of standing for the subalterns, with the help of Diocesan Women’s Fellowship for Christian Service and the Diocesan Board of Social Services organized a two day discussion on Human Trafficking on the 20th and 21st of March 2009 at the Diocesan Office compound. 50 women from all over the diocese were present to take part in the discussion.
The discussion opened with a short worship conducted by Rev. Swagata Das who refered to the book of Genesis chapter1:26,27 where it is written about God getting immense pleasure after He created Man in His own image and then Woman.
The two day dialogue was an enlightening one which incorporated sessions by scholars and activists in the field like Mr. Manabendra Mondal of S.L.A.R.T.C, Mr. A. Goswami from SANLAP and Rev. David Copley from the United States. The speakers informed about the various ways that humans are nowadays trafficked, the causes and the probable solutions for resisting trafficking. While Mr. Mondal and Mr. Goswami enlightened everybody about the various aspects of human trafficking, alluding to various cases from their experiences, bringing into light the dismal and inhuman, brutal, merciless and cold blooded nature of the traffickers and the mostly defenselessness of the trafficked victims, Rev. David Copley very appositely brought out the Biblical side citing that the human being was created in God’s own image and that too the greatest creation of all but which is being exploited to the brink due to the never quenching greed of mankind. He further emphasized that we as Christians are called to live in good relationship with each other and to remind all that we are God’s image and that God loves all madly, no matter what race, religion, color.
The sessions were trailed by interactive episodes which brought out various unasked questions that were infusing in the minds of the participators and in the course various probable solutions were also originated, which is guessed the participants will put in use in their locality when they go back.
Truly, discussions like these are the need of the hour which will persuade the people to rethink about their neighbors, especially those who live in abject poverty, who are the most vulnerable to trafficking. But sheer participation in discussions is not called for, what we as Christian are called for today is to ACT TO COMBAT TRAFFICKING.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


In the year 2007 the Diocese of Durgapur had launched a programme for rickshaw pullers who are socially and economically deprived class of the society. The objective behind this programme was to bring a dignity to their profession and improve their standard of living. Under this programme, the Rickshaw Pullers were provided with Rickshaws donated by the Diocese. Generally, the rickshaw pullers do not have their own rickshaws and they rent the rickshaws which results in a large chunk of their income going to the rickshaw contractors. Thus, they cannot lead a comfortable life despite the hard work put in by them and perennially trapped in debt.
The Diocese already has 4 such Rickshaw projects going on in Sarenga, Purulia, Durgapur and Dinajpur with a total of 16 Rickshaw Vans and 1 Rickshaw being donated in these areas. The rickshaw pullers donate 5 rupees every day which is kept in a fund which can be used for major repairs of the vehicles as and when needed.
Ashish Ree was a labourer toiling in the local cold storage at Sarenga from 06:00 A.M in the morning till sometimes 10:00 P.M in the night in order to earn a full days meal for his family which consists of his wife, two daughters and one toddler son. His wife’s health was frail which meant that she and her tiny son were vulnerable to all kinds of ailments and diseases. Ashish had no way but to endure all this as he had no means to afford for better treatment facilities as his daily income was around fifty rupees which is much lower that what is needed for two meals for a family of five.
This was the familiar complaint in all the families of the pullers in the four areas before they were donated with the vehicles. Today one won’t find the stereotypical notion of this impoverished state anymore, though as changes are taking place in their lives. A new enthusiasm for economic independence and a life of dignity is slowly replacing the old traditions and helplessness. Today they earn about Rs. 80/- to 100/- every day which is a far cry from what they used to earn earlier. They now plan of sending their children to better schools, repair their dilapidated houses, treat their old ailing parents and family members, and get good food for their families and save some money in the bank also. The Diocese of Durgapur, firmly believes that the economic empowerment of these people is essential. It not only helps in providing sustenance, but increases respect for them in the society as

The Gift of a Magi

By birth she is an English national, who had married a Bengali gentleman and since then her love for India , especially Bengal has been profound. Her name is Mrs. Eileen Chakravarty hailing from the United Kingdom who had resided in India for forty years in the past. Mrs. Chakravorty had a ling desire of revisiting India since her association with Bishop Probal Kanto Dutta when the Bishop was the pastor of Sudder Street Church in Calcutta and she was its parish member. Later she had heard, from the Bishop , a lot about the Diocese of Durgapur, its various ministries and specially the ministry towards the slum children which is being taken care by the Diocesan Women’s fellowship for Christian Service and was overwhelmed by it. Her longing desire came to reality when she visited the Diocese in December 2008 when the Projects under the Women’s Fellowship were holding their Annual Sports. So much was she overcome with compassion and love for the children the care is being extended towards them that she sold off her most prized possession in her life- the jewelries that were given by her mother in law after her marriage and donated the money for the ministry towards the deprived children. It is hard to believe that, in this fast changing and selfish universe where everyone is thirsty for each other’s blood, persons like Mrs. Eileen Chakravorty still exist who care for the needy and can sacrifice their most prized possession for that cause. Truly she is like the magi who had visited Jesus on His birth and gifted him with Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh and then Diocese of Durgapur is glad to have her as its friend well wisher.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Visit of ERD, development partner of BCDP(Balurghat)-DOD. (26rd-28th February,09)

(Healing a hurting world.)

Balurghat,South Dinajpur area, one of the distanced Durgapur diocesan territory remain remained untouched comparatively with other nearby areas since formation of the diocese. The vast area is marginalized and poor tribal populated and joined Durgapur Diocese from Baptist Mission during the days of CNI formation.
Once again it the Rt.Rev.Dr.Prabal Knato Dutta, the youngest Bishop of the diocese looked into life and status of these people and supported them during the period of Draught, 2006 and 2007 and supported the south Dinajpur area with life savings relief material focusing agriculture as livelihood promotion.
Now the area has received a regular project titled BCDP, Balughat Community Development Program and people have reasons to Joy and Praise the Lord.

On 26th-28th February,09, ERD program staffs Mr. Nagulan Nesiah and Ms. Jullie petrie visited the area as part of their yearly evaluation visit. The program area conver 15 villages in three clusters- Tarapur, Kamal pukur and Kalikapur cluster. The Erd visited all the clusters, meet the people, discussed with them, visited the community assets created by the people in support of the Diocesan development program.
Taragunj cluster gathered at Ramprasad village primary school, the community study center children, run by BCDP, welcomed the visitors and recited poem, songs, performed danced before their proud parents and neighbors and friends. The cluster is benefited by ten water pumps and one hand tractors and all the cooperatives gathered together for retrospective and prospective reflection. The open discussion was full of dynamics and ERD partners were enlighten to see the inner-spirit of people’s solidarity.

The same experience in next cluster-KAMAMPUKUR- traditional welcome by the tribes followed by the discussion. The lively discussion prevailed many aspects of their aspiration and also existing potentialities and resources of the people. The discussion outcome ware full of insights considered to the upcoming program planning. It was very satisfactory to see that people are ready up to 50% partnership in some of the activities.

In Kalikapur village all the cluster villages gathered to witness the handover ceremony of a Hand tractor to the cooperative federation of 8 cooperatives of the area. The tribe community welcomed with dance and songs, washing feet of the partners and other elders. The best part of the welcome performed by the community Study center run by BCDP. In fact the teachers and the little children are so enjoying the class time that little children of ICDS project run by Govt at next door, joins BCDP community study center.
The officers of LAMP a central govt project for Tribal welfare, Panchyat Pradhan and other elders of the community enriched the discussion.The evaluative visit of the Program staff of Parnership agency became an event of enjoying the qualitave and also quatative out come of the program and also to see and fell

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New Principal for St. Michaels School

Mrs. Madhumita is the new principal of St. Michael's Schools from 1st' March 2009. Born in Calcutta & did her schooling from Assembly of God Church. She finished her bachelor's degree from Loreto College with honours in English. Then she finished her Master's Degree from the Calcutta University. After her master's degree she completed her B.Ed and M.Ed.

She has taught in many schools in Calcutta and has got twenty one years experience as a teacher. the last school she served was Calcutta Girl's School where she taught for eight years.
She is married, with two children, one son who is finishing his Engineering degree and her daughter who is a medical doctor. her husband works for Bank in Calcutta .
(Reported by...Debjit)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Visit of ERD, development partner of ACDP-DOD. (23rd' -24th' February, 2009)

( Healing a hurting world)

Episcopal Relief & Development program Staffs visits Samadi Community Development Program of Diocese of Durgapur.

Empower the Powerless in the spirit of Jesus Christ, the lord and redeemer was the moto of the Bishop of Durgapur Diocese, Rt.Rev.Dr.Probal Kanto Dutta. His concern for the marginalized people was the foundation stone of the project Samadi known as Samadi community development project. Soon the project became one of the leading projects not only in India but in Asia.
Mr. Nagulan Nesiah the program Associate and Ms. Jullie petrie the program officer visits the diocese, the program area of SCDP and BCDP, Balurghat community development project from 22nd to 28th February,09. Pretext of the visit was drawn due to high spirited presentation and also presence of Durgapur Diocese at Bankok consultation of ERD.
It was nice to see that the coaching center (run by SCDP) students welcomed the ERD friends at samadi center. The multipurpose village workers and the Self Help groups interacted with the external evaluators. Visitors were happy to know the impacts the project health staffs are making in tribal health in the area. It was satisfactory to see that nine groups are making profits more the loaned capital provided by the projects. The entire economic venture made was based on local products like Babui Grass, paddy, and other forest products. Discussion continued on what are the other commercial activities women can take. Proposal came on possibilities on installing Sal leaf making machine and Babui rope making machine in each village. The request was taken seriously.
The discussion was followed by village visit to Muchikata- coaching centers, rural child library, fish firm cooperatives, Self Helf Group’s store room of Babui grass and open door meeting with the Village Development Committee members followed by physical verification of Hand pump and fish firm. ERD consultants were impressed by the progress women are making and positive changes in the life and society of the tribal.
Second day was a visit to a village named Mahisamura; it is the village that has been considered as a model for “NIRMAL VILLAGE” i.e. human excreta free village, by the project. A village, each family has concrete latrine and the only source of safe drinking Hand pump provided by SCDP. 24TH February, 09 was the day, all the dwellers of the village came forward to receive and welcome the friends who have made changes in their like. Women do not have to scare of elephant at night as the elephants use the village as their passage corridor at night. Secondly, women have not to go to far distance agriculture field for drinking water.
Shining and smiling faces of the villagers were witnessing the expression of gratitude to the partner representative. The benefit of the democracy yet not helped these people since 60 yrs of independence.

( Reported by.....Mr. Khagen Das)

Annual Inter Village Coaching Centre Sports Meet

The children of the ten villages, around Sarenga, that have started to experience revolution under the challenge being taken by the Diocese of Durgapur in the form of the Community Development Programe , Sarenga gathered in the Mission Grounds in Sarenga on the morning of the 1st’ March to participate in the Annual Inter Village coaching Centre Sports Meet. The ,event , although, started the earlier evening when the children started arriving at the programe office in Sarenga. It was a scene worth, seeing all the children from villages far off, some at a distance of 14 kilometers also.

After an overnight stay at the progremme office, the children of each centre assembled in groups at the field wit the enthusiasm and energy overflowing within them. After the inaugural ceremonies the main sports event started.

This was the first time I the life of he children that were participating in an event of such colossal scale with over 250 children participating. Keeping that in mind the program organized simple events like flat races for higher classes, & biscuit races for class 1 students. But looking at the stimulated children and the delight they were having one could hardly judge they are the same children who lead to life in their simple and extremely backward villages. The most exhilarating and enjoyed for their memory test.

The community Development Programme Sarenga is proud and contented that it could bring the lost smiles in the faces of the children who had earlier forgotten to smile under the lumber of the survival struggle that the lowly and forgotten aboriginals of India, especially in the tribal subjugated district of Bankura, now face. The programme is pledged in the mission to bring about a wave of development differences in ten villages and it is sure, seeing the encouraging and affirmative reaction it is getting from every quarter.

( Reported by Bunty Kobiraj)

[picture-1. Biscuit Race. picture-2. 100mt. race]