Tour, Volunteers

London

It all started with the AID Calendar. AID London asked for 50 calendars, and I wrote to Rashmeeta asking if someone could collect the from Heathrow airport, as we were going to India via London. She wrote back asking if we could give a talk and help AID London reach out to the public. There had been quite a bit of volunteer turnover since we last met them in 2011, she explained, and they wanted to use this event to rebuild the chapter. She and Vamsi were as energetic as ever, or even more so. Best of all, they were now married, adding AID London to the ranks of chapters that boasted an AID Couple.

AID London Meeting4They worked hard to publicize the event, and got replies from 15 people saying that they would attend. When we walked into the Abbey Centre, a community centre attached to Westminster Abbey, we saw 25 people, and a few more walked in as we went along. People were quite interested and asked questions during and after, just as at any AID talk.  In fact, it all felt so familiar I wondered why we had doubted at all that people would be interested. Maybe it was the size and pace of London – would there be time and space for volunteering with AID?  But the people stayed well past the closure of the meeting and we could have easily continued longer, had the room been open. We hope to see this commitment continue as AID London serves as a channel for those who care about sustainable and just development in India to put their energies to good use.

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Exhortation, Tour, Volunteers

AID Connections 2

AID Connections 2

In visits to several AID  chapters we met people engaged in issues deeply connected to AID but not necessarily at the forefront of AID’s currently visible and audible activity.

In almost every chapter there is at least one volunteer who shows interest in working full time on the cause of sustainable development and social justice in with AID India or an AID Partner in India.  Some people choose to work on an agenda complementary to AID or through similar issues through alternate means. Either way, during the years that the volunteer is in the US, AID has the opportunity to help such volunteers better understand the synergy of sangharsh, nirman and seva in such a way that they can meaningfully utilize their talents.  In the case of those planning to move to full time community-based work, particularly in India and to help them plan their transition to grassroots community work
Irrespective of future plans to work in India, while in the US, there are volunteers in every chapter who want to connect deeply with project partners, understand the work and the issues people are dealing with on the ground level, and their connections to national and global policy. It takes time and courage to study and discuss these issues, confront their implications, apply them to our lives and engage with partners who are working from perspectives of sustainable development that take human rights, empowerment, social and environmental justice seriously. Why

AID must be a place that facilitates study and discussion of these issues. This will build our capacity to recognize and support high quality projects.  Such projects are often complex and we need to explain these in greater detail to convince people to support them, morally as well as financially.

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Volunteers

Request for volunteers

Request for volunteers in Jadugoda

message from Shriprakah
Jharkhandi’s Organisation Against Radiation
Jadugoda

We are seeking volunteers in Jadugoda, who are looking forward to integrate their knowledge with their quest for practical reality. Jadugoda, Jharkhand (India) has had Uranium mining for past 30 years that led to serious ecological and health problems, consequently followed by social and economic problems among the local Adivasi populations. An organization Jharkhandi Organization Against Radiation(JOAR) has fought over the years to assert the rights of the people and has come a long way. The organization has enabled scientific and health studies by Independent organizations such as Sanghmitra, IDPD (Indian doctor for peace and development – sister organization of IPPNW- international physician for prevention of nuclear war- noble peace prize winner 1984) and Pr. Koide of Kyoto University. (http://www.jadugoda.net )

The findings of these studies brought to light the health acute hazards of radiation among the local inhabitants. Apart from the serious problems of mining, there have been numerous problems with Nuclear waste disposal and Tailing pond leakages. Today these problems have become acute and need immediate intervention. After a long journey, today the movement wants to look into this issue in the rights discourse.We are looking for somebody with expertise and can provide this Adivasi movement their research abilities and campaign for “Right to health”. This would require living in the village interacting with Adivasi people and others and bringing a perspective on the issue and work in a way that would help the people and movement in the right path.

Expertise in Health sciences, nuclear sciences and Human rights would be appreciated.

further information please contact
shriprakash
for
JOAR
tel no 094315 80434(jharkhand)
090101 78837
prakash.shri @ gmail.com

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Solidarity, Tour, Volunteers

Texas / LA Regional Conference

Following up on key action items from the Columbus conference and ongoing discussions over the past few years, we had a series of regional meetings on AID philosophy and strategy for improving the quality of our work towards sustainable and just development.  In the South, AID Houston hosted such a meeting on Sept 16-17, 2006. 
 
In a brainstorming thread earlier, Srinadh wrote: 
 
 … broadly speaking it would be nice to re-emphasize (and revisit) our core AID principles:
 
  • For example why Sangharsh, Nirman and Seva?
  • What are our partners on the ground saying and feeling about the effects of rapid globalization?
  • Why do we oppose centralized planning without local context and input?
  • Why is peace important (example Gujarat) to development?
 
and the like.
 
In June he wrote: 

Houston, Austin, Baton Rouge and Dallas chapters are planning to have a retreat over the Sept 15 weekend in Houston, TX. (Haven’t heard from College Station folks but hoping they make it too!).Ravi and Aravinda have indicated that they will be there and join! Other interested people are welcome to join too.The Houston chapter has agreed to host the event and details are being worked on regarding logistics, agenda, schedule etc.

This is an early heads up to enable out of towners to begin planning.

More details here!

Cheers,

Houston, Austin, Baton Rouge and Dallas chapters

 
Nirveek wrote:
 

the recent philly workshop and the AID conference has given us several ideas as to how we can explore contemporary issues relevant to AID, constructively discuss any issue with an open mind, train each other in effective communication, etc.so i would think that in this retreat we can spend some time looking beyond just reports-kind-of-sessions – for example we can look at how we can creatively communicate with each other, new volunteers, and the community in general … since we have much more time to prepare than before the columbus conference, we can come up with a decent, well thought-out such interactive sessions. we can also take up the eFAQuate session that Aravinda started at Columbus and enrich it further.The Philly workshop brought us in touch with a group called “training for change” … and i think there are a lot of things in “effective communication” through role-playing that we can learn from them.  

After 30 posts and weekly conference calls organized by Priya, Sandhya and others in Team Texas, the dates & agenda were set, rooms booked, university support secured and one fine weekend in September, 50+ volunteers from Austin, Dallas, Houston, College Station and Baton Rouge converged in Houston for the retreat. Smaller than an AID conference, no parallel sessions, nothing to vote on, volunteers opened their minds and hearts to explore difficult questions concerning corruption, gender equality, diversity within AID, and the role of sangharsh.   Betsy from Training for Change engaged us in activities that gave us models for thinking about change, such as figuring out how to make radical change while including everyone … symbolized via an exercise where a group of us stood on a sheet and had to turn the sheet upside down without having a single person move to the floor – everyone must remain on the sheet, and the sheet must be overturned.  
Betsy receives first copy of AID 2007 Calendar "Nurturing Nature"
 
We also had the release of the 2007 AID Calendar, whose theme was Nurturing Nature.   Betsy received the  first copy.

Yes the house is that close to the factoriesThe field trip on Sunday was eye-opening and disturbing …. we went on a “toxic tour” of the city, visiting the neighborhoods in close proximity to factories emitting toxic waste.  
We read and talk about the common experience of injustice among communities across the globe.  Sometimes when we talk to people about the struggle in Bhopal or the villages along the industrial corridor of Gujarat, people can’t believe that such things are happening, and continue to this day.  Now we were standing right in the midst of it, feeling the same sense of incredulity that things could actually be this bad
 
The second superfund site we visitedWould this leave us in despair of ever making change?  Or would it empower us to recognize the struggle everywhere, in our own backyards and even within ourselves, and to BE THE CHANGE?Exuding Passion

More photographs from the Texas / Lousiana chapters conference: TX LA Retreat

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