Shyamsunder Panchavati

Shyamsunder Panchavati
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Healthier Water Means Children Can Go to School

By Shyamsunder Panchavati

Healthier Water Means Children Can Go to School

I am pleased to share with you an article about the work done by the development Agency Outreach International to change the lives of children specially the girl child.

Thanks for reading this,

Shyam

Imagine: keeping your children out of school so they can walk miles a day to the nearest stream to get water, filling large containers and carrying them on their heads or backs. Then, although you have water, there’s no purification or treatment so the desperately needed water also makes your family sick from water-borne diseases. It’s an endless crushing cycle.

Healthier Water Means Children Can Go To School

In Malawi, a small country in southern Africa, there is no infrastructure here to process clean water from streams and creeks. And without sanitation systems, toilets, and plumbing the waste from people and animals in the forests eventually ends up in the water.

“The people worked together for a long-term solution: installation of 12 wells benefiting 8500 people in five villages, reducing water-borne disease by 60%.”

Chiwa was only 7, the oldest girl of the youngest four children, but strong enough to go to the creek everyday with other children from the village. She hoped to go to school this year, but then, who would get the family water? Her family needed it for washing, cooking, drinking. She was the one to go.

So four miles there and back, carrying the heavy water. Then the water has to be boiled for drinking, cooking, washing. If it isn’t, and sometimes even when it is, water-borne disease is present, and the results are diarrhea, worms, dehydration, cholera, and worse.

When Chiwa got home after fetching the water, her friends were coming home too, from school. She wanted to be in school. Some children had bright new uniforms, and much to talk about. Someday maybe she could go… that’s what she wished for many months ago.

Today Chiwa goes to school, a very different life for this little girl. Outreach International trained facilitators to help people help themselves, and people in the village have begun to turn things around. The village identified the lack of infrastructure sanitation and water systems that were keeping them sick and keeping their children out of school.

The people worked together for a long-term solution: installation of 12 wells benefiting 8500 people in five villages, reducing water-borne disease by 60%. Installation of two shallow wells and one borehole further reduced disease in one village by 55%. Thirty-six toilets were installed in homes and between homes reducing the need for people to use the bush or forest. All to build a system of health and well-being for thousands of residents, and hundreds of children who now didn’t have to spend all day hauling bad water. Now Chiwa spends her days in school.

Outreach International’s work creates healthier lives for children like Chiwa and their families. Support sustainable good today

Development Dynamics, Embrace the culture to Embrace the Cause

Many development agencies from America & Europe are doing extraordinary work in many strife torn countries of Africa and Asia. There well intentioned efforts are often met with resistance from the populace, prisoners of in age old culture and customs. They consider any community development activity to be an encroachment into their well protected domain.



























Image credit : Shyam's Imagination Library

Any community development or capacity building activity has to be conceived staying within and respecting the cultural parameters. Cause can never be divorced from the culture. Africa & Asia are comprised of many religious and non-religious groups. The major religious cultures are Muslim, Christians (Roman Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and others), ethnic religionist, non-Christian, Hindu,Buddhism,Jainism,  Baha’i., and others.


If you are working on Gender Based Violence eradication program, or HIV awareness program, you need to be very careful. Each religion, each ethnic group needs a different approach to tackle the same problem. Some groups may not be open to outsiders redressing their problems. They have their own inbuilt system of redressing grievance. Some other groups may not like awareness programs being conducted for their girls, &; women. Some Muslim groups strictly implement Shariat rules which place restrictions on the movements & dress code for women.

It is always better to meet and take into confidence the tribe or village head and involve him in the activities, and follow his advice. Many organizations which haven’t followed this have faced revolt from the communities and consequently failed in their programs.

I feel that before embarking on a program of rehabilitation. It is always necessary to make a detailed study about the region the culture the people. The geographic and demographic intelligence play an important role in the success of any capacity building and development program.

Small & Silent is also work . Charity doesn’t beg for recognition, But at least once in a while, shouldn’t they be mentioned at least ?????.

 “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love” —Martin Luther King,


There are hundreds and thousands of silent workers the unsung heroes with limited or no resources working under great adversity with just grit determination & self less zeal as their tools. They are all around us, but, we fail to notice. Unfortunately we tend to look for brand equity to serve or associate with a development project.

I am happy to enumerate at least two examples of individuals or group of individuals working tirelessly to bring about transformation in the living standards of the populace& sacrificed their lives to save precious lives. Names of the individuals and groups have been deliberately blanked out so that the focus remains on the work and impact.

Live bombs do not deter this man from his commitment to save innocent lives.

Panna Lal ,who saved hundreds by defusing bombs ,dies unheard, unsung
Braver than film heroes, in real life

There were no official words of condolence nor were any wreaths laid as the body of “Chacha Bomb Squad” was consigned to the flames.(cremated)

The exploits of unsung hero , Panna Lal , or “Chacha Bomb Squad” as he was popularly known among his former colleagues in the Punjab police, will not find mention either in history books or in the numerous books written on terrorism in Punjab. However, those who worked with Chacha still carry vivid memories of this lean man bending over a live bomb and studying for some time before snapping at the circuit of the device in order to defuse it.

When bomb explosions by terrorists were a common occurrence in this Punjab state in India, the one member bomb squad of Chacha helped save hundreds of lives by defusing the devices. Panna Lal must have defused at least a dozen bombs hidden by terrorists in the busy lanes and by-lanes, in vehicles and in trains. But he received no laurels for these acts except for the occasional letter of appreciation.

The services of Chacha, Who had retired as a subhedar from the army, were sought by the Punjab police in the late 1980s as the department was hampered by the lack of a bomb disposal expert here .He rejoined the police in 1989 as a special police officer (SPO) and left the organization three years, let down by the attitude of his superiors who were always on the looked for an opportunity to berate him.

At the height of terrorism when unidentified objects were detected, the wireless sets would frequently blare “Chacha Bomb Squad come here quickly”. Shopkeepers of the busy area in a Punjab town in India cannot forget that fateful day in 1991, when disposing a bomb in pouring rain,he himself sustained injuries which led to his arm being partially disabled .

Due to his army background, Chacha could handle complex bomb circuits as he proved in 1992 when he defused a bomb planted in a compartment of the Frontier Mail minutes before it was to explode.
But recognition eluded him .For all his acts of courage, Chacha’s name was never considered for any bravery award and neither was he compensated for his medical bills.

Senior police officers often took the credit for any bomb that Chacha defused .On the plea of certain well-meaning local citizens however, Chacha’s name was forwarded to the state home department for the shaurya chakra but his file continues to gather dust in the department.

Note .
Chacha – means uncle (father’s brother elders are fondly addressed like that)
Shaurya Chakra It is a gallantry award instituted by the government of India

How Grit determination & perseverance pays for james, and his community

This story is from Bolivia........

James ( name changed) is a 47-year-old Bolivian with a wife and eight children. He is a skilled, gifted leader and tenacious about seeking solutions – solutions not only for himself and his community of Jatun Pampa, but for his children as well.

Problem

 He knew something had to change. Once, the rain and sun provided good growth of crops and residents maintained their families on crop income. But lately, they were besieged with drought, and then flooding. They had little rain, new growth dried up, there was ice in the summer, and strong winds blew where trees once stood. It was the result of natural disasters, the need for firewood and climate change.
Making the Connection

Residents agreed it was a problem, but felt alone or resigned to their struggle. So James travelled to Wayrapata, Bolivia, where an International organisation was working with another group. James was persistent in requesting a facilitator come to his community and soon after, he was in Jatun Pampa.
“Trees neutralize the strong winds,” James explained to Marc, the facilitator. “They hold the ground from erosion. We call the trees the lungs of the earth because they restore and replenish it. And when the ground is not eroded, we can also plant gardens.”

Through the process of authentic participation, a community group was organized of 16 families. Which acquired small trees from a Bolivian forestry organization. But the trees were delivered to the valley and had to be transported by donkeys because the mountain road was not maintained. It was difficult work, and after planting the tiny saplings, many were eaten by animals.

So the community group petitioned the government for a better road and, once built, 9000 pine trees were delivered to the top of the mountain and 18 acres of the Jatun Pampa village were reforested with new trees.
Families then sought seeds for vegetables and apple trees for their gardens.

Now, after only a year, the trees have stopped erosion down the mountain, helping even the vegetable gardens to succeed. There is a surplus beyond feeding families, and vegetables are sold in nearby communities.

The greatest growth

But the greatest outcome of planting the trees has been on the children.
“I planted a pine tree with my children,” one mother says. “And I believe they will continue planting trees when they are older.”
“My children take the initiative to care for our trees. They are the first ones motivated to give new ideas, too,” another says.
“When I was a child, we didn’t have gardens and I didn’t know how to plant,” a proud mother says, “But my son Rodrigo is eating fresh vegetables and already knows how to plant. It is a good thing.”
And James, who helped to initiate the transformation in his village? He just smiles and watches his own children watering the trees.

Conclusion

This recession, has however brought a welcome change in the mindset of the people, It seems to have nudged the pendulum a bit in the other direction. Incredible acts of generosity are occurring — often between complete strangers. Helpful communities and support initiatives have sprung up on social networks with people freely offering time, advice and encouragement to get others through difficult periods or job searches. Individuals are engaging in volunteer work.

I realize that the giver also derives benefits — both karmic and tangible. I do my share of charity, but that has to remain anonymous for the present. I hope this article will motivate people to do their bit, within their resources to impact a few lives.

Best Wishes,

Shyam

Body tattoos are exhibit, Mind tattoos are they inhibits ????

By Shyamsunder Panchavati

Few more University degrees than others does this make you a better educated person than others?
Humility born out of knowledge is divine,
Confidence born out of knowledge is good welcome and acceptable.
Arrogance born out of knowledge is Ignorance magnified.
Ignorance is trait born out of captive mind set.
Kupastha Mandukam are we one?? (Frog in well)
As Intellectuals, well we are not expected to be one.

Mind tattoos, the responsible factors for captive mind set
People are led by the captive mindsets which lead to inhibition and inaction
Mind tattoos, the responsible factors for captive mind set
“Dr Norman Vincent Peale the famous author was walking by a tattoo shop when a confused looking young man came out of the shop with a tattoo in his right arm that read “Born to Lose”. Dr Peale asked the tattoo artist about it and the tattoo artist replied…. “ I did ask the young man if he was sure that he wanted to state “Born to lose” in his arm and the young man was pretty stubborn in that. A surprised Dr Peale asked the tattoo artist – “Is’nt that surprising?” For which the artiste replied “Not really! Much before he tattooed it on his arm, he has firmly tattooed it in his brain, and his body tattoo act is just a reflection of his mind tattoo”.””

But what we tattoo on any part of the body for others to see is not as important as what we tattoo in our minds…. And positive, successful, energetic mind tattoos are a must to attain success…
So, it should be our conscious and subconscious endeavor to keep tattooing our mind with thoughts that are ONLY about winning, what we want be, want to reach, want to achieve, that perfect day as desired, ALL THAT IS SOUGHT BY US FOR A GREAT LIFE.
A few degrees less or more doesn’t decide whether you are intelligent, Creative leader

Creative people are full of curiosity.

Creative people are wonderstruck. They are tickled by the newness of every moment. They have lots of questions. They keep asking what, why, when, where and how.
A questioning mind is an open mind. It is not a knowing mind. Only an open mind can be creative. A knowing mind can never be creative.
A questioning stance sensitizes the mind in a very special way and it is able to sense what would have been missed otherwise.

Problems & the blame game
When there is a problem, some people can be seen wringing up their hands. Their first reaction is to look for someone to blame. Being faced with a problem becomes a problem. Such people can be called problem-averse.
Intelligent people, on the other hand, are problem-friendly. They just roll up their sleeves when faced with a problem. They see problems as opportunities to improve the quality of life. Being faced with a problem is never a problem.

Value ideas and suggestions from the colleagues

Creative people realize the value of an idea. They do not take any chance with something so important. They spot an opportunity in the ideas suggested by their colleagues.

Delegate and define responsibility to make them accountable & responsible.

Delegate and clearly define responsibilities to each member of the team. Allow them controlled discretion & inculcate a sense of responsibility & accountability in them. A responsible and winning team can only make you a winning leader.

Visible enthusiasm for achieving set goals

Effective leaders are enthusiastic about their goals. This enthusiasm works as fuel for their journey, propelling them to their goals. This is also extremely contagious and spreads fast in the team.

Perennially dissatisfied.

Leaders are acutely aware of their dissatisfactions and unfulfilled desires. However, this awareness does not frustrate them. Their frustration never reflects in their behavior with colleagues. As a matter of fact, they use this awareness as a stimulus to realize their dreams.

Be an optimist, regardless of adversities & constraints.

Creative people generally have a deeply held belief that most, if not all, problems can be solved. No challenge is too big to be overcome.
This doesn’t mean they are always happy and never depressed. They do have their bad moments but they don’t generally get stumped by a challenge.

Creative people make positive Judgment.

A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn. It can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a right man’s brow – a businessman Charles Brower

The ability to hold off on judging or critiquing an idea is important in the process of creativity. Often great ideas start as crazy ones – if critique is applied too early the idea will be killed and never developed into something useful and useable.

This doesn’t mean there is no room for critique or judgment in the creative process but there is a time and place for it and creative people recognize that.

Academics excellence should not bring about arrogance of Endemic proportions

Your having more knowledge than your colleagues is the most natural thing and that should not make the other person less of a human being. If that knowledge gives you a sense of arrogance and self righteousness, You are endemic diseased get yourself cured immediately. Your superior knowledge should be used to help build ladders out of ignorance for lesser qualified colleagues & students.

Great people are good at reframing any situation.

Reframes are a different way of looking at things. Being able to reframe experiences and situations is a very powerful skill.
Reframing allows you to look at a situation from a different angle. It is like another camera angle in a cricket match. And a different view has the power to change your entire perception of the situation.
Reframing can breathe new life into dead situations. It can motivate demoralized teams. It helps you to spot opportunities that you would have otherwise missed.

It does not mean that excellent academics make you less educated. It only means that excellent academics & education are not interrelated directly or inversely. We had great academicians who were also excellent human beings. Dr. Rejendra Prasad, Dr. Radhakrishanan, Dr. Zakir Hussain, and Dr. Kalam. Remember our word action directly impacts the destiny of the future generations. Our actions should help to mould the youth to become future leaders and fulfill Dr. Kalam’s dream to lead India to lead the world by 2020.

Best wishes,

Shyam,


Small & Silent is also work

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love” —Martin Luther King


There are hundreds and thousands of silent workers the unsung heroes with limited or no resources working under great adversity with just grit determination & self less zeal as their tools. They are all around us, but, we fail to notice. Unfortunately we tend to look for brand equity to serve or associate with a development project.

I am happy to enumerate at least two examples of individuals or group of individuals working tirelessly to bring about transformation in the living standards of the populace& sacrificed their lives to save precious lives. Names of the individuals and groups have been deliberately blanked out so that the focus remains on the work and impact.

Live bombs do not deter this man from his commitment to save innocent lives.


Panna Lal ,who saved hundreds by defusing bombs ,dies unheard, unsung
Braver than film heroes, in real life

There were no official words of condolence nor were any wreaths laid as the body of “Chacha Bomb Squad” was consigned to the flames.(cremated)

The exploits of unsung hero , Panna Lal , or “Chacha Bomb Squad” as he was popularly known among his former colleagues in the Punjab police, will not find mention either in history books or in the numerous books written on terrorism in Punjab. However, those who worked with Chacha still carry vivid memories of this lean man bending over a live bomb and studying for some time before snapping at the circuit of the device in order to defuse it.

When bomb explosions by terrorists were a common occurrence in this Punjab state in India, the one member bomb squad of Chacha helped save hundreds of lives by defusing the devices. Panna Lal must have defused at least a dozen bombs hidden by terrorists in the busy lanes and by-lanes, in vehicles and in trains. But he received no laurels for these acts except for the occasional letter of appreciation.

The services of Chacha, Who had retired as a subhedar from the army, were sought by the Punjab police in the late 1980s as the department was hampered by the lack of a bomb disposal expert here .He rejoined the police in 1989 as a special police officer (SPO) and left the organization three years, let down by the attitude of his superiors who were always on the looked for an opportunity to berate him.

At the height of terrorism when unidentified objects were detected, the wireless sets would frequently blare “Chacha Bomb Squad come here quickly”. Shopkeepers of the busy area in a Punjab town in India cannot forget that fateful day in 1991, when disposing a bomb in pouring rain,he himself sustained injuries which led to his arm being partially disabled .

Due to his army background, Chacha could handle complex bomb circuits as he proved in 1992 when he defused a bomb planted in a compartment of the Frontier Mail minutes before it was to explode.
But recognition eluded him .For all his acts of courage, Chacha’s name was never considered for any bravery award and neither was he compensated for his medical bills.

Senior police officers often took the credit for any bomb that Chacha defused .On the plea of certain well-meaning local citizens however, Chacha’s name was forwarded to the state home department for the shaurya chakra but his file continues to gather dust in the department.

Note .
Chacha – means uncle (father’s brother elders are fondly addressed like that)
Shaurya Chakra It is a gallantry award instituted by the government of India





How Grit determination & perseverance pays for james, and his community


James ( name changed) is a 47-year-old Bolivian with a wife and eight children. He is a skilled, gifted leader and tenacious about seeking solutions – solutions not only for himself and his community of Jatun Pampa, but for his children as well.

Problem (Growing tree,balancing the ecosystem)

He knew something had to change. Once, the rain and sun provided good growth of crops and residents maintained their families on crop income. But lately, they were besieged with drought, and then flooding. They had little rain, new growth dried up, there was ice in the summer, and strong winds blew where trees once stood. It was the result of natural disasters, the need for firewood and climate change.

Making the Connection

Residents agreed it was a problem, but felt alone or resigned to their struggle. So James travelled to Wayrapata, Bolivia, where an International organisation was working with another group. James was persistent in requesting a facilitator come to his community and soon after, he was in Jatun Pampa.
“Trees neutralize the strong winds,” James explained to Marc, the facilitator. “They hold the ground from erosion. We call the trees the lungs of the earth because they restore and replenish it. And when the ground is not eroded, we can also plant gardens.”

Through the process of authentic participation, a community group was organized of 16 families. Which acquired small trees from a Bolivian forestry organization. But the trees were delivered to the valley and had to be transported by donkeys because the mountain road was not maintained. It was difficult work, and after planting the tiny saplings, many were eaten by animals.

So the community group petitioned the government for a better road and, once built, 9000 pine trees were delivered to the top of the mountain and 18 acres of the Jatun Pampa village were reforested with new trees.
Families then sought seeds for vegetables and apple trees for their gardens.

Now, after only a year, the trees have stopped erosion down the mountain, helping even the vegetable gardens to succeed. There is a surplus beyond feeding families, and vegetables are sold in nearby communities.

The greatest growth

But the greatest outcome of planting the trees has been on the children.

“I planted a pine tree with my children,” one mother says. “And I believe they will continue planting trees when they are older.”

“My children take the initiative to care for our trees. They are the first ones motivated to give new ideas, too,” another says.

“When I was a child, we didn’t have gardens and I didn’t know how to plant,” a proud mother says, “But my son Rodrigo is eating fresh vegetables and already knows how to plant. It is a good thing.”
And James, who helped to initiate the transformation in his village? He just smiles and watches his own children watering the trees.


Conclusion

This recession, has however brought a welcome change in the mindset of the people, It seems to have nudged the pendulum a bit in the other direction. Incredible acts of generosity are occurring — often between complete strangers. Helpful communities and support initiatives have sprung up on social networks with people freely offering time, advice and encouragement to get others through difficult periods or job searches. Individuals are engaging in volunteer work.

I realize that the giver also derives benefits — both karmic and tangible. I do my share of charity, but that has to remain anonymous for the present. I hope this article will motivate people to do their bit, within their resources to impact a few lives.

Best Wishes,

Shyam

Please also read by the same author. The WikiHow article

"How to How to Fight Against Poverty in Developing Countries as an Individual"