"Doing good to others out of compassion is good,
but the Seva (service) of all beings in the spirit of the Lord is better.” -- Swami Vivekananda
Development of Corporate Citizenship (DoCC) is an integral part of learning at SPJIMR. The objective of DoCC is to improve efficiency of NGOs across the country by providing voluntary on-site services through projects and campaigns. This unique experience of working in an unstructured business environment engrains humility and social sensitivity in the participants. It is like the hidden wand of the course that creates sensitized individuals who can serve the world better while excelling in their fields.
We, the PGPM Batch of 2018 went for a 2 week internship to 42 NGOs spread across 8 states.We had the opportunity of working on 90 different projects addressing various social issues like sustainable development, healthcare, child education, rehabilitation, women empowerment, awareness, etc.
I take this opportunity to cite my and my fellow participant Sayantan’s experience. We were assigned a project about sustainable development of tribes around Kanha Tiger Reserve.Our journey began on 4th June from Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus and after travelling for two days we reached Garhi, a small hamlet in Baihar tehsil, 100 kms from Balaghat. The sighting of a tiger surrounded by forest department elephants on the way wore off our tiredness. We were welcomed by NGO staff Santosh at Garhi field office. It was raining and almost dusk when we finally settled in the NGO office which was our abode for the next 15 days. Needless to mention we had left behind the creature comforts and nature was our only luxury.
Next day, Mr.Sudhir Pawar briefed us on the functions, areas of work and current structure of the NGO: Community Development Centre, Balaghat. Deliverables were assigned to us and we left for our first field visit. Sayatan and I went different ways and we spent whole day mixing up with the tribes Baiga and Gond, understanding their culture and livelihood. We visited seven villages in the next few days and gathered insights on the issues faced by the people and the work done by CDC.
CDC aims to cover 324 beneficiaries and has 22 villages under its radar. The villages are inhabited mainly by people of the Baiga and Gond tribe with a small population of Yadavs. Most of the Baiga people prior to 1977 stayed in the core zone of Kanha and were totally dependent on forest resources. After their relocation by the Government of India, they were finding it tough to adapt to new ways of life when CDC, State Government of Madhya Pradesh and other international organizations like WWF intervened to help them out of crisis.
We studied the work done by CDC and how it is bringing changes in the life of the people. It is working mainly in the areas of seed assistance, promotion of organic farming and water irrigation system. As directed by Mr.Pawar, we started creating a sustainable model for a new village (Ghursibehra) under the scope of CDC with help of NGO staff Praveen .We befriended the clan of 12 Baiga families of that village and stared studying them closely through interactions under the shade of jackfruit tree. For next few days that small village in the buffer zone of Kanha tiger reserve was our daily destination. We drank water from their only village well, strolled in their farms, witnessed their pattern of growing crops and heard their issues. Scarcity of water,total dependence on agriculture and no additional income forced them to be constantly under the weight of dues and was their primary pain area.CDC has been able to improvise conditions of many subject villages and we hope it will be able to do so even for Ghursibehra village.
We suggested alternate methods of building livelihood and feasible inexpensive ways of rain water harvesting in the region. Moreover, detailed report of the ideas, feasibility of implementing each idea and the perceived economic benefits of these ideas were also reported. We were touched deeply by the love and simplicity of these tribes. The senior most member of Baiga clan blessed us before we left Garhi. He had come walking all the way from Ghursibehra village to Garhi, around 5 kms, to meet us. We believe that our project would be successful only if our ideas and model could enhance their lives and bring more smiles and complete meals to these people.
This journey of only a fortnight has really changed our kaleidoscope of thinking about “what happiness is? – “Is it accumulation or distribution?”
Aditi Choudhury & Sayantan Mondal
PGPM Class of 2018