1. Name of the organisation- Sri Ramanand Saraswati Pustkalaya
2. Registration No./Date/Place of Registration- 1019/93-94/4-1-1994
3. Place of Registration- Azamgarh
4.FCRA No./Date of Issue- II/ 21022/73(169)/ 2005 / ,Reg. No.- 136250046 / ,Date-- 09/ 08 / 05
4.Address-- Sri Ramanand Saraswati Pustkalaya, Jokehara, Azamgarh, 276136
5.Phone Number/Fax Number/E-mail- 09313842044 / firstname.lastname@example.org srsp1993.blogspot.com
6.Name of Responsible Individual ( Name/Designation/Phone Number / E-mail)-Sri Shesh Nath Rai / Secretary / email@example.com
7-1. Year of Establishment- 1993-1994
7-2. Nature of the Organization- Social, cultural and educational
7-3. Number of Branches, Field Offices and their location - nil
8.Purpose of Establishment, Vision and/ Mission Statement
SRSP intends to combat two major biases of the Rural India related to cast and gender which may help creation of a just and equitable social order. It is committed to the goal of enabling Rural India to live life of dignity and respect.
SRSP works for the sustainable social and economic empowerment of women and dalits. The focus is on rights based approach through which these marginalized segments of the Rural India are sensitized about the dignity of their human existence. The tools of this endeavor are education, capacity building by skill up gradation, exposure to the laws of the land and international conventions and creative activities like theatre, music, and painting. Efforts are also made to involve these potential groups in such efforts like water conservation, forestry and preservation of oral and written folk traditions which may enrich their life. Special attention is paid to the improvement of their health and hygiene.
9. Main Activities of the Organization-
During more than one decade of its existence SRSP has turned into a prominent cultural centre of the country. Initially started with an aim to promote the culture of book reading, very soon it got involved in many other activities of community development. It took a moderate project of adult literacy with an aim of making every body in the village Jokehara literate and this target was achieved in three years. To sensitise villagers on gender and dalit issues many discourses were organised in which social activists like Teesta Setalwad, Shabana Azmi, Medha Patkar, Asgar Ali Engineer, and Acharya Ram Murti along with the hosting of writers, playwrights, poets, academicians, photographers and film and theatre critics. It was believed that the exposure to such a wide variety of experiences and ideas, the youth of Jokehara and its neighbouring villages would be able to come out of their caste and gender constraints.
Jokehara and the villages around it are like any other village of eastern Uttar Pradesh where caste and gender lines are very pronounced. SRSP, since its inception, has tried to mobilise the marginalised sections, specially women and dalits, against the social odds. It was not at all an easy task.. SRSP, had adopted a strategy to motivate dalits to challenge the system which denied them dignity and equality without provoking and inviting hostilities from the upper castes. SRSP had appointed a chamar, lowest in the caste system, as librarian. Initially this led to very strange situations. For example the librarian would not sit before an upper caste reader or an upper caste reader may find it humiliating to ask the librarian to help him in searching a book. During functions when their were visitors from outside the librarian would feel hesitant in sitting with them at the dining table and even if he sat, there was always a posibility that he would be ridiculed by an upper caste person. Gradually the situation changed and the dalit librarian was accepted as equal.
9. a. Theatre Brings Perceptible Changes In The Life Of Women
Social change through cultural interventions and theatrical activities helped a lot in bringing a perceptible change in the situation. The beginning was not a conscious effort. National School of Drama, New Delhi organised its first training cum production workshop in December 2003 at SRSP. Initially everyone was sceptical about the response of women to the workshop but to everybody's surprise large number of girls participated in the camp. For them it was like freedom from mundane, routine chores of a male dominated family life where they had very little elbow space for joy and creativity. It was another departure from the caste guided behavioural pattern. Boys and girls of different castes used to spend the whole day together singing, dancing and rehearsing. Initially there was a mental barrier among them but slowly and unknowingly it disappeared and they started to share their midday meal as well. The first theatre camp changed many things in the life of village Jokehara. Women started visiting library in more numbers. There was a perceptible change in the confidence level and they started participating more freely in the discussions organised by the library. Since then many theatre camps with the support of National School Of Drama, New Delhi, Bhartendu Natya Academy, Lucknow and North Central Zone Cultural Centre, Allahabad have been organised and it has further cemented the process.
9. b. Empowerment Through Income Generating Programmes
SRSP is actively engaged in economic empowerment of local community and developing their income-generation capacity. It is running two centres under the Community Polytechnic Scheme of government of India. One centre is imparting training in typing and shorthand and the other is engaged in stitching and embroidery. The objective of the programme is to make local young boys and girls learn vocational skills and become self dependent. These vocational courses have helped villagers, especially women and dalits, in developing their confidence. The library is also running a computer training centre. The organisation believes that a good number of these trainees will soon be able to start their own enterprises.
The organisation had successfully run a project of rearing honeybee which was supported by CAPART. Under this programme 50 economically backward farmers have been given honey boxes with other accessories. The organisation has given them training and provides them with regular support. The project is expected to give them a regular and sustainable source of livelihood. With the completion of this project , more beneficiaries are expected to be covered under this programme and the project may be replicated in other areas.
At present SRSP is running a training course for motorcycle and scooter mechanics.30 young boys , mostly from the marginalised sections are enrolled in the programme. Nehru Yuva Kendra, New Delhi is supporting it.
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is supporting SRSP in its endeavour to organise grass root women self help groups. Many such groups have been organised so far which are not only sensitising their members about their rights and dignity as a person but also upgrading their skills through various training inputs so that they can earn a decent livelihood. These self help groups have linkages with banks. Efforts are on to develop some of these into small level entrepreneurs.
9. c. Physical Fitness and Sports Activities-
Physical fitness is the strength of any community. SRSP has started a volleyball nursery where about 80 boys of different age groups are learning the game under the watchful eyes of a trained coach. SRSP has also established a gymnasium which provides the youth of the area an opportunity to exercise and maintain their physical fitness.
9. d. Our Partners-
Over the years SRSP has not only diversified its activities, it has also established fruitful relationships with institution/organisations like National Book Trust, National School of Drama, Sahitya Academy, Ministry of Culture-Government Of India, North Central Zone Cultural Centre, CAPART, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Trust, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare - Govt of India, Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India, Nehru Yuva Kendra, OXFAM and NABARD.