In the Shadow of Gandhi..


Just now we have finished a two hour brain storming session about future course of action and division of work among the core team members. Hassanand, Shivasubramanian, Mani and Vishal represent the core team. They bring various skills, experience and resources to the group. Most social movements start in an spontaneous and ‘informal’ way but at some point they have to stop, take stock and get organised. Chennai chapter too has enetered this phase of evolution.
For example we discussed such questions:
1. What do we do, when all these inquirers come for the SHG meeting?
2. How to offer hope to young PWS and still be honest?
3. How to deal with media and how to use it to promote our cause?
4. How to reach out to common people who dont access internet but can read Tamil?
5. How to ensure TISA focus on long term social / attitudinal change rather than just selling “two weeks” stammering cure camps?
6. How to attract resources- human and other, to meet the growing future needs?
7. How to encourage development of SHGs in other regions of Tamilnadu?

It was a very fruitful meeting, which helped us to concretise our thoughts. The group has alreday booked a conveneient central venue for the weekly meetings till March end.

Last few days: Mani took sachin to Chenai Sewerage treatment plan- the modern technolgy which converts household sewer darinage back to safe water, which can be released into some pond or river. Totally energy efficient. The sludge generates methane, which drives the motors, which in turn, power the filtration ponds and other operations.
The biggest bus stand, which looked more like some airport.. Vegetable market…
Then, Dr Anupam came and spent some time with sachin. Anupam has a lot of insider perspective on therapy, self help, role of family and colleagues. He immensely enjoyed “Unspeakable” and “Courage to Speak”. By the way, everyone in the audience was inspired by his courage to speak on 24th Jan, in the public meeting, inspite of the difficulties, which is well known to us. He is a very interesting person and a bright Opthalmologist-to-be.
Couple of other children and young men, visited sachin at YWCA. We are counseling them and requesting them to attend the weekly meetings organised by the Chennai chapter.
Above is the picture of the Gandhi statue, where five students of Mr Bala Subramanian, used to meet and conduct self help group, in 2001. Mani recalled those early days, on Marina beach. Then, in 2004, the members dispersed for some or other reason. Now, again in 2009, an initiative has started.
If Gandhi is remembered a thousand years later, I guess, it will be for his insistence on truth. And that, I think, should remain the central message of our SHG: If it hurts, let us say so- and do something about it- for the common good.

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