Wednesday, 22 May 2013

GRA Winter Camp 2012

Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan (BNGVN)

Introduction :
BNGVN ( is an NGO in Bahadarpur, Jalgaon, Maharashtra, working to empower villages to have the capacity to provide means to livelihood and have a self-sustaining ecosystem.The NGO was founded by Ms. Nileema Mishra who received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award in 2011. In order to achieve its goals, BNGVN provides micro finance and logistical support to farmers and village entrepreneurs at reasonable terms of repayment, organizes women into Self Help Groups to
encourage savings and impart skills for alternate livelihood.
The 19 of us from the Group Rural Activities (GRA) of IITB left the institute on the evening of 27th Nov. and boarded a train for Jalgaon from Thane. We reached Jalgaon early in the morning on 28th Nov. and  headed for our final destination which was Bhadarpur, about 40-50 Kms from Jalgaon.

Working principles of ‘didi’ and BNGVN:

  • Organisation always follow ‘why’, ’what’ and ‘how’ [WWH] policy throughout their deeds before stepping forward for any initiative.
  • It does not want to reach the top in a single day but wants to travel small steps and cross small levels to enable the aspiration true. So, it believes in passing through the pragmatic aspects of life, performing experiments and assessments, facing failures, crossing hurdles. Didi always told us throughout discussions that they have not taken decisions suddenly. Until they faced a problem regarding an initiative, they would never think of that problem deeply which would never allow to come up with a long term decision. BNGVN believes in the famous Swami Vivekananda’s quote “In a day, when you don't come across any problem, you can be sure that you are travelling in wrong path”.
  • It never goes among the needy by themselves. Until needy come to them out of their need for help. They never step forward from their side. According to the previous point BNGVN always have performed experiments before initiatives. So, decision to not move from their side is based on an incident. Besides members’ restless effort for 1 month to 7 convince tribals to form SHGs, extreme reluctance to invest money by the villagers and more other incidents triggered BNGVN to accept this moral principle. 
  • People asking for help are being helped only in the terms and condition that they belong to a SHG and proper membership. 
  • People with problem when approach to the organisation for help, NGO itself asks them to tell the solutions and give full freedom to think of the problem faced by them deeply. As didi always believe villagers have talent on the par with the educated. BNGVN also believes that people facing the problem can view the problem in a better way and from different angles to come out with right solution. Same thing happened with 14 women who were confused as to how to invest their accumulated money in a business or when farmers having a plight of shortage of water. BNGVN follows the proverb, “God helps those who help themselves”.
  • Imposition of terms and conditions (like quitting drinking habit, build “Shauchalaya” i.e. toilet in individual houses) as an eligibility either in becoming a member of SHG or getting the monetary help from ‘Gram-Nidhi’ is an indication that BNGVN follows the famous quote “Be someone who abides by the rules. If you don't follow the rules, you will have to undergo the retribution of being abnormal in the future “ of venerable Master Hsuan Hua.
  • Institute never give money as donation. They always lend money to the needy with the hope of getting it back within a stipulated period based on personal rapport and mutual trust. Till now, BNGVN has no such cases of experiencing fraudulence by creditors.

Our overall experiences and views:

  • We have gathered abundant virtues, lessons, which we can apply to lead and nurture our lives towards a correct, fruitful direction.
  • From didi we learnt not to underestimate anyone and remain calm either in happiness or in difficulties. Her management skills, administration policy, purity, simplicity, are quite surprising and appreciable.
  •  We are wondered with the hospitality, religion, custom, behavior of the villagers.Despite being strangers, we had friendly behavior with them. Reforms in the villagers’ mentality are also satisfactory to us.
  • We got the opportunity to taste versatile delicious Marathi food prepared by Amma after couple of months. Accommodation, food, and other arrangements everything was simply awesome.
  • Despite being very busy, didi has spent all the 4 days with us to make us familiar with her objective, type of work, policies and allowed us to comment on her activities for the betterment of the institution.
  • This camp has taught all of us that working for our society is not only duty, being a part of the society, coming out of the society, getting recognition from the society we owe to this society a lot. So, social activity of any kind is our responsibility, a must -doable task.We should not do it just to get fame or money, it should come from heart with lots of love and care for the society.

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