Sarada Group of Development Initiatives (SGDI) has been a Village Earth affiliate since 2000. This initiative focuses on the tribal people of India, who have a rich tradition of culture and customs which are very much environment-friendly and sustainable. Some of those are “sacred groove,” mixed farming, alternate cropping etc. They are truly “Banputras: children/protectors of the forest.” Unfortunately, they have had difficulties coping with the fast pace of “development” that is overtaking their native environment. They are treated as “backward” by the rest of society, which forces them to adopt a culture of silence. Being deprived year-after-year they lost their faith, motivation, self-respect and confidence. They have been forced to migrate as seasonal laborers, and have thus become prone for HIV. They live with high child mortality rates, malnutrition and low levels of education.
SGDI rejects the view of this rich culture as “backwards” and instead seeks to respect and utilize their knowledge, wisdom and solutions to various problems. SGDI has worked with these indigenous communities since 1996.
Who We Are
SGDI is a national forum of individuals and organizations concerned with sustainable village based development which is participative, pluralistic and dynamic. As a catalyst for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and a strategic counterpart to the intra-governmental system, SGDI, promotes aspirations of grassroot level people, promotes new ideas, and designed policy actions to transform development priorities towards a community which is people-centered, sustainable, democratic, just and inclusive.
SGDI initially started working in a block (clusters of small villages) in Arsha of Purulia- a tribal dominated district of West Bengal, India. Due to the project’s success, it has been expanded not only other villages of the same district, but also neighboring districts and neighboring states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. All of the group’s internal volunteers are tribal members from the villages. They work on language training and literacy projects, agriculture and reforestation projects, a goat (livestock) project, a plate project, a school and health project and projects focusing on reproductive and sexual self-determination.
Where We Work
The project is located in Purulia, Bankura and Midnapore Districts in West Bengal, India. We totally focused on tribal population. The project covers:
- 100 villages with 60,000 population
- 75 existing groups of women (each consisting of 15 individuals on average)
- For the Resource Access Unit we have 20 acres of land with some basic structures where we run a basic school for tribal children.
- We have identified Purulia and Bankura for our model projects of the Village Earth. We have recently included Midnapore district in this list.
- Women’s micro-finance groups
- Income generating activities like goat project and leaf-plate project
- Water project including a village well for drinking water made and maintained by the villagers
- School for tribal children (up to 8th grade)
- Literacy campaign- Groups of women are getting training on Bengali to speak, read and write (This is the official language but not their mother tongue.)
- Health awareness campaign – involving the women’s groups
- “Save the environment”- reforestation initiative by group members in Bankura district
- 10 women-directed micro-enterprises
- 5 women groups in Bankura are involved in Arjun plantation in barren lands with the help of RSVY, Government of India.
- 100 children of group members are attending the school
- Attendance in the literacy campaign has increased by 50
- Has held health & nutrition training on basic nutrition, personal health and hygiene for the family especially for the children
Registered Under Indian Registration of Societies
WEST BENGAL ACT XXVI of 1961
No.S/IL/1030 of 2000-2001.
Director: Milan Dinda
SDGI (City Office)
HIG(U) Block-4, Flat-4
Birati Abason, M.B.Road, PO-Nimta
Kolkata-700049, WB, India
Tel: 91-33-25392394 9831772399 (M)