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Through fostering for building up the nation

For Families...

Through peace and harmony

Through development...

Through livelihood and income generation enterprises

With the Nature...

Through justice to man and nature

In Equality.

Through gender sensitivity

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

My one week sojourn in Nepal

Arya Joy, Snehadeepam Balavedi
My long cherished aspiration was to travel by air and go to a place, stay over there for few days and return. The moment I was declared winner of Talent Search 2013 organized
by V S S S I was double sure that my dream like desire was going to be fulfilled in the near future as it was announced to the contestant before hand that the top two will get a chance to participate in the 7th Asia Girl Child Peace  Camp at Kathmandu – Nepal. The camp was organized by Bikalpa Ghyan Thatha Bikas Kendra from 4th to 8th October 2013.  

This windfall in life came on 12th August 2013. Almost a gap of two months was unbearable for me and it seemed that days were going by very slowly. Within a week my travel documents were ready and Mr. Michael D’Cruz C D O (Education0 of V S S S briefed me about the details of travel and writing of required essays that had to be sent to the organizers of the camp. Required air tickets were procured and travel schedules were conveyed to me in advance. From Vijayapuram Social Service Society three of us were going to Nepal, two participants- Lishamol K D from Thiruvanchoor and me and an escort Smt. Annamma Thomas.

At last 2nd October arrived with unusual slowness as for me it was the day to depart from home and reach Amalanilayam, the central office of VSSS. My mind was burbling with excitement. My mother accompanied me up to Kottayam. In the VSSS office the Director Rev. Fr. Dennis Joseph Kannamalil prayed for our safe journey and bid bon voyage. We all reached Smt. Annamma’s house and had early supper and retired for quick sleep. When the mind is bubbling with excitement, sleep remained aloof from us. Hurriedly, we got ready and our vehicle skidded away slowly towards Kochi International Airport.  Cool gentle breeze came in through open window and gave me a soothing touch all over. The curl on my fore head did a weird dance in front of my eyes. The light and shade conveyed an enigmatic message in Morse code which I never bothered to decipher. By 1.30 am the runway of Nedupasserry Airport appeared like a shining millipede in the distance  

At 5.00 am we were inside the airport and checked in at the Indigo counter. After security check we sat at the lounge with leisure and watched other passengers waiting for their flights. Intermittent announcement through the PA system woke me from my semi slumber.  Boarding announcements created some hustle bustle at times and the noise dies out as the passengers board the specific flight. The interior of the airport put me in a world of illusion and I made a quick run around different duty free shops.

Boarding notification for our flight started flashing across the screen and we three dashed to the terminal to get into the aircraft as first arrivals. Lovely airhostesses ushered us in and directed to our designated seats. At last I was in an aircraft which I used to see as speck in the distant sky. I thanked  Vijayapuram Social Service Society and Vijayabalavedi unit ‘Snehadeepam’ for the unique opportunity that I received and my gratitude multiplied many fold when I thought of my class mates who could not get a chance like this,  as some of them are from well to do families. I glued to my seat as I was not yet freed from the impact of the reality that I was about to experience- flying through the air like a bird. Announcement came to fasten our seat belt. A considerate airhostess helped me do it properly. Then I saw an air hostess doing some gimmicks which I could not follow at first.  Later I understood that those were the measures to be followed at the time of emergency.

After the initial description about the flight schedule the aircraft stated moving. It was 7 in the morning.  It turned around and roared out for the final surge. I didn’t know the moment when the plane lifted off from the ground. I remained stunned. A rush of emotion, which I could not explain, came in and I did not know whether it was fright or excitement or worry. But when I resumed my normalcy my ears were slam shut and the Nedumpasserry airport became a blurred image in the distance. Immediately Western Ghat loomed in and the high peaks I could not discern whether it was Anamudi or Ponmudy At the end of three hour non-stop flight announcement came that our plane was about land at Indira Ghandhi Internatioonal Airport at Delhi. A sort of relief came in as our plane came to a stand still we alighted.

Delhi air port is a superb one, far magnificent than the one at Kochi. We had to rush to international terminal to catch the plane for the next lap of journey to Kathmandu the capital of Nepal. The sleepless night and excited journey has drained our energy and zombie like three figures huddled on longue chairs and had forty winks. By 1 O’clock again we were ready to board our next plane.  There was no botheration of collecting our baggage at Delhi as our next flight was also in Indigo Airline. We were told in advance that in the next lap of flight we would cross over the highest mount in the world – Mount Everest. We were anxiously waiting for that moment to come.  But unfortunately Himavan decided to hide behind a shroud of fog. Our disappointment vanished when we reached Thribhuvan Airport at Kathmandu. From there the mighty Himalaya could be seen clearly with no hindrance at all. I stood flabbergasted at the sight of mammoth barricade between me and my country

Thribhuvan International Airport at Kathmandu is a small airport. There is no chance of getting lost in that airport as there is only one exit. When we cleared our custom and emigration clearance members from Bikalpa were waiting for our arrival with all smiles on their face. They greeted us with usual ‘Namaste’ and gave us hearty welcome. They garlanded us with a stall and ushered us to a vehicle parked on the outskirt of the airport. When we reached Bikalpa complex after 20 minutes drive from airport it was drizzling and the atmosphere was bit chilly. October is the beginning of winter season in Nepal The path to our dormitory was paved with square stones cut neatly. They were wet and bit slippery. Lisha and I were housed in a dormitory called ‘Pragathi’ which means progress.

Next day 4th October I woke up early. My watch showed 5,45. The clock on the wall showed 6.10.I opened the door and stepped out to the veranda. It was deserted. No one was seen around It was still raining. From where I stood I could see dinning hall, office annexure and Gol Ghar where the meeting was going to be held. Adjacent to the compound and on hill slop there were so many houses. After having a delicious breakfast at 9,00 am for what business  we came to Nepal commenced. 

Camp materials were provided to 34 participants and 8 escorts. Each one had to wear a tag around the neck through out camp period. The Participants were from India, Srilanka, Myanmar, Bhutan, Thailand, Philippines, Bangladesh and Nepal There were 4 girls from India, 2 from VSSS and another two from an organization in Kochi ; Stephy and Mohini. All the participants sat together and formulated the code conduct- what to do and what not to do. The 7th Asia Girl Child Peace Camp was organized under the theme “PEACE AND SOLIDARITY”. The two facilitators for the camp were Mr. Ashok Sivakothi and Miss Helina Rai. The camp organizer was Miss Stella Tamang. The ice braking was conducted in such a manner that after writing the names of the participants a lot was taken and which ever name one gets, find that person ,get maximum information about that person and introduce that person to the entire group. I had the pleasure to introduce Miss Annestha Geethanjani Vimalrai from Srilanka. Groups were formed among the participants for reporting, reflection, management, entertainment and cleanliness. Warm up games conducted in between the activities of the camp helped the campers to remain vibrant.

On the first day after lunch the official opening ceremony was conducted. As was told earlier all participants appeared for the function in their traditional costumes. We two from VSSS wore silk skirts and matching blouses. The other two were in sarees.  All four from India sat behind a desk top National Flag of India. It was the proudest moment in my life. Get the feel that you are representing your own country in an international dais is something which would remain indelible in your memory until the last breath. A rush of patriotic feeling came in overwhelmingly and I blushed with pleasure and pride. The inaugural session was dabbed with hue of Napal customs.A sweet called ‘Shaku’ came around all of us and we were adorned with ‘Jamanthi’ garlands. Lamp lighting ceremony accompanied by chanting of folk songs from various countries extended to the small hours of the night.

Everyday the group responsibility got rotated. On second day each of us got a secret friend through a lot and without the knowledge of that person one will have to watch and write down two points about various aspects of that person and keep them in an envelop. The camp progressed with different activities and amusements. Afternoon of the second day we had a visitor from UNESCO. He described us about their activities to promote education in rural areas of Nepal. Music had no bounds and language was not at all a barrier for  the participants. I managed to assimilate two Nepali songs which I hummed through out camp days. Even while I jot down my memoirs my mind regurgitate the very same songs The highlight of the second evening of the camp was the festivity of lighting lamp all over the premises of  Bikalpa complex.  It was a gorgeous sight watch the building of Bikalpa in the flickering light from numerous lamps. Drawing exercise we had with colour pen revealed that Miss Yinlet from Myanmar was a good artist Post lunch session was set apart for shopping. We went to a shopping mall. It was very big. Experience in the mall was a wonderful one. 100 Indian Rupee is equivalent to 160 Nepal Rupees.

Fourth day was jam packed with wonderful events. After breakfast,  dressed up in traditional costumes, we went to the Secretariat of South Asian Association of Regional Co-operation (SAARC) and met the Secretary . We had prepared a memorandum on ‘World Peace and Role of Girl Child’ and handed over to the Secretary.  Lishamol K D got the prestigious role of handing over the memorandum to the secretary. She was the pet of the camp. Her talkative nature, pleasing attitude and free mingling made niche in the hearts of all who came in contact with her. SAARC library was another attraction for we visitors.

Wall climbing was another activity that I feel like noting down here.  All the participants were given gears for wall climbing and asked to scale a wall 15 feet high. It was my first experience in climbing up. As I progress my leg started shivering like the leaves of Baniyan tree in wind. When I reached the top I felt giddy and wasw about to ease out. Luckily nothing happened. But this exercise has given me the confidence to face risky situation and surmount it with presence of mind. We prepared a number of posters  on women’s right and pasted them all over the compound walls Cultural night that we had was anchored by Steffy Ann Jacob and Mohini Mohandas from India.

On the final day a committee ‘Emerging Youth’ was constituted  and Miss Bea from Philippines was elected as the president The General Secretary was Steffy Ann Jacob From India. We all became members in that committee.  We all disclosed our friends and handed over the observation made by us in these days In the closing ceremony all the participants were given certificate and shield. We had gone from India with gifts for all the participants and it was elephant carved in Teak Wood. Our gift was well appreciated and we also had gift from other participants. Breaking up of the camp was a heat splitting experience. When participants  from other countries bid farewell in English a sort of detached feeling was there But when steffy and Mohini did the same in Malayalam I could not hold myself and I burst out crying. At that time I came to know the difference between foreign language and mother tongue. Mother tongue truly comes from heart whereas the other languages come from the intelligence with no emotion at all.  

The return journey first to Delhi and then to Koch and finally to Kottayam happened in a mechanical way. Only our body was undergoing this transit. In fact our spirits were lingering in Kathmandu – Nepal- Lumbeni the birth place of Sree Budha. One day I will have to return there to get true Enlightment.     


Sunday, 11 August 2013

A chalice full of whiskey for you to keep aside. 


Alcohol and drugs are eating away the vitals of communities in Kerala.

Casual submission to the pleasures of intoxication by alcohol and drug
is not the case with the people of Kerala.  They have gone to
extremity and brought in notoriety that they are vying to retain the
hard earned first place for highest alcoholic consumption among the
world community. Amidst the abundance of divine blessings we are
compelled to put up with all vices we see in the world. We are first
for alcoholic consumption. For suicidal rate no one can defeat us. The
rate of family break up is soaring high. Old age homes are mushrooming
everywhere to shelter thrown out aged people. All are making
thunderous hue and cry against these misdeeds. Anti-alcohol movement
is very vibrant in Kerala for decades but the impact it gives is not
visibly felt by the community.

Legislative attempts have some limitations. Practically it is
impossible to declare the state as liquor Free State or dry state.
Even when the legitimate sale of liquor is easily available to all
needy people a parallel system of supply illicit liquor is rampant in
the state. Let the market be flooded with all sorts of liquor but we
want to reduce the number of potential buyers and users. How can we
achieve this dream like situation? At least we can strive for this
with concerted effort. In order to achieve this state of affairs we
must analyse and find out the reasons for people going after the
pleasures of intoxicants. Some of the reasons may be:
       Children inherit the habits from alcoholic parents.
       Influence of friends and associates.
       Strained marital relationship
       Denial of the conjugal right of married person.
       Infidelity among the couples
       Disillusioned with the behaviour of children
       Excessive liabilities
       Financial affluence
       Poor spirituality.  etc.
We want to see our people escape from the clutches of these evils. And
for that there is no panacea to serve to victim and make him free from
it. Each addict must be treated separately and the reason which
compels the victim take refuge of the alcohol or drug must be lifted

off so that he can be reconditioned from the addicted state 

Mr. Michael De Cruz

Friday, 22 March 2013

The alarming state of affairs in my God’s Own Land

God’s Own Land – Kerala is blessed with all the good things in the world. The inhabitants are good. They are well educated. The per capita income is high. The land is spawn with palatial mansions. The picturesque landscape with mountainous High Range, fertile Midland interwoven with numerous rivers small and big and the long Costal Area with beautiful beaches and lagoons: all these add up to give an impression of a paradise. But the question that persists is, is it a paradise? Can we try to answer this question?

Let’s analyze the situation prevailing in the land given as a boon to the people of this land. Kerala is a place where the highest suicidal rate is recorded in the world. Per head alcohol consumption is highest in the world. Number of family break ups is soaring high. Old age homes are mushrooming everywhere. Sexual harassment and abuses are everyday incidents in printed and electronic media. Visual Kerala is beautiful but the other side of midnight is very ugly. In nut shell we can say that whatever social evils prevalent in the world, in greater degree they are visible in Kerala. Why? No one can answer them in a simple way. In thirty- forty years back the scenario was entirely different. 

My firm conviction is that our education is the root cause of everything. Our children do not get proper and quality education from various quarters which help them to lead a successful life. When we talk about the aims of education we may think about getting a good job, crystallizing character with good traits, socialization and acquiring knowledge. But the ultimate aim of education is to help us lead a good life.  The present day symptoms we see in our society do not give the impression that our education is serving the purpose. 

In order to lead a successful life the child must be trained to face the problems he or she encounters.  In schools the children are taught to solve problems. But in the present day situation, either the parents or some experts solve the problems for them and they snatch away the benefit of them. When a child takes up the problem, unconsciously the child undergoes various thinking processes like analysis, synthesis, application of knowledge already acquired, problem solving, creative thinking, critical thinking, evaluation etc. to arrive at the solution. 

The net result of thinking processes is the growth of intelligence which is the tool required for future life. The memorization of end product of somebody’s thinking only increases the memory power of the child which diminishes with time. One who purposefully develops the intelligence comes handy in the future when life problems arise. This thinking takes place smoothly when teaching and learning takes place in one’s own mother tongue. In almost all the countries where the educational visionaries insist their children to do the schooling up to secondary level in their mother tongue because they know that children are the assets of the nation.

Malady of Kerala is the attempt of the government to bring in privatization in educational sector especially in pre-primary, primary and secondary levels. The money mongers, in order to squeeze more money from the stake holders, played with English medium. Thus we have many ill famed bakeries with unskilled bakers (teachers) producing half baked bread (children). These hapless children are denied of all pleasantries of good education. They waste away their precious childhood and teenage period without imbibing anything good for their life.  They cram and cram for good marks in class. Parents shove them to these English shops to acquire English language.  But the end result is no English is acquired and good education is a mirage for them.  For acquiring English there is no need to teach them in English medium, just send them to short term spoken English classes they will master more English with less expense. Spoken form of a language is the first thing that one should get which our English medium schools are not giving our children.

We fall for this trap because English has a prominent place in international circle.  Recently someone has jokingly remarked that Chinese and Japanese languages are going to take the place of English. Then we Keralites will have schools with Japanese and Chinese Medium.  When our children learn in other languages their natural thinking processes will be hampered by language backwardness.  In order to cope up with peer group challenges, they resort to mugging up the learning materials without assimilating anything. Let us free our children from this burden and allow them to enjoy learning in their mother tongue. They will go for some extra reading assimilating values and customs of the society and grow in our culture. When the mind is vacant of any good thing all evils will resides in the virgin mind and bring froth demons we abhor.

Socialization, its cradle is the family itself. It starts from the family. But the present day children are growing up in the protective shield of grown ups in the family. No parent allows the children to take up stress and strain of day to day life and get trained. Parents are doing everything for the children.  In practice we can say that children are living in artificial situation, a sort of incubator not in the real life situation. They are not assigned any responsibility and the only task to perform is to swallow food and mug up study materials. When it comes to peer group activities, they are not permitted to go outside the premises of the house. The feature of the villages in Kerala is that each house is separated from the neighboring one by a compound wall. They are denied the opportunity to mix up with children in the neighborhood.

Peer group activities foster many good qualities in children. Any ill effect which may arise can be lifted off easily with timely intervention of the grown ups. Squabbles which naturally surface are solved with auto adjustments without outside interference. Many decisions they make in their group all give many a vista of learning basic principles of democracy. Instead parents try to take the role of peer group in their day to day life. Father and mother play with them argue with them and yield to any demand logical or illogical because of excessive pampering they mete out to the children. Children fail to cope up with a situation where their demands are not fulfilled. They do not know how to give due regards to their parents and finally children are ignorant of giving due consideration to elders and others who deserve better treatment. We are an utter failure in giving social education to our dear children.

Is there any character formation that we intently give to our children? I seriously doubt that. No responsible person is handling this issue. Always paid hands are coming in. No parent is sparing time to make interaction with the children. Most often parents come to know of their children from others. Parents and children are coming together and sitting together in front of television. Whatever is shown over the visual media is not being disapproved by father or mother. Ugly love scenes and suicidal traits fostered in films and serials are making indelible marks in young minds. When they try to make these in their real life what they learn from these media there is no need to raise our eye brows. Ask ourselves whether we are any role model to them to practice. Lots of sermons and talks are there but no proper role model for the younger generation to follow. There is no wonder when our children go after sex symbols and rebels and take them as role models.
Finally our children end up their secondary and higher secondary education with some crammed knowledge. The twelve or fifteen years of education has not helped him to know what he is or who he is.  The education the child received has not brought out the potential in the child. As result without knowing the one’s aptitude, interest or personality a career is chosen unscientifically and pursue higher studies. In some case it clicks and most other cases end up in failures. These hapless victims have no satisfaction in their lives and resort to all the maladies that are visible in our God’s own land. Who is to be blame? 

Michael D’CruzCDO Education


Monday, 18 March 2013

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We work here in Kerala for the upliftment of children, youth, women and the the family. We promote education for children, Employment opportunities for youth. Making women capacitated  give financial assistance and income generation options for men. We also support the handicapped through our programmes CBR which is links with our Swizz Supporter Rehawsizz.

Making the individuals capacitated  through educating them and facilitating for their development is our core objective. You can know more about us 

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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Bliss Of Giving

A Powerpoint Presentation on Organ Donation- by Mr. K P John