Sunday, March 22, 2015

Top Dalit rights NGO shuns foreign funds, invites donations to help NO PLASTIC, NO CASTE motto

Martin Macwan
By Our Representative
In an important move, the Navsarjan Trust, top Gujarat-based NGO, has decided not to go in for any foreign funding for one its major projects -- the three schools run by it in Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Patan districts. Announcing this, Martin Macwan, founder of Navsarjan Trust who currently directly looks after the schools, has said he plans to collect funds from "concerned citizens" who believe in the concept behind the three "model" schools -- to usher in the spirit of equality among children.
The decision comes amidst continuing controversy around foreign funded NGOs India, triggered by the Narendra Modi government's effort to put under scanner human rights organizations across India. Navsarjan Trust is one of the premier Dalit rights NGOs of India, with presence a large number of Gujarat's districts, is known to have campaigned fought against manual scavenging in the state and India.
Calling upon people to "liberally contribute" in order to continue maintaining school's model character, Macwan, in a recent writeup has said, recently Gujarat's public schools decided not to use plastics in its premises. "We do not dispute this. But our schools will set up a model by holding high the slogan of "no plastics, no caste".
Pointing out how in Gujarat's public schools children and teachers "are discriminated against on the basis of their caste identity", which is a national shame, Macwan said, "Our national vision for education is to train not a caste-ridden generation. We have made a breakthrough by running primary boarding schools (grades 5-8) to break bonds of caste and sub-caste, and create environment where children across castes live and learn together".
Seeking to carry forward Dr BR Ambedkar's idea of "annihilating caste", Macwan has decided to come up with a programme on April 12, where "concerned citizens" will see for themselves how children in one such school to live live without discrimination, learning to study, play, cook and cleaning "as equals, in a non-discriminatory environment."
Calling for contributions, he said, "In Navsarjan boarding schools, each student contributes Rs 750 as her or his monthly contribution, which covers their food cost. Navsarjan schools are required to raise donations to support teachers’ salaries, even as maintaining the schools’ expenses." While till now they were "dependent on foreign donations", the new "challenge" is run them "with Indian and community donations".
Macwan later told Counterview, "Our campaign to shun caste in 2013 showed that it is possible to run our programmes without foreign funding. We ran the programme in the whole of Gujarat, taking out rallies and mobilising public opinion against caste with the help of Rs 17 lakh of coummunity funding."
"Concerned" citizens have been asked to see on April 12 how one of the three schools, in Limbdi taluka of Surendranagar district, is implemening the idea of "NO PLASTIC; NO CASTE" into a reality, and help turn the slogan into a "movement."
The function is proposed to take place at Navsarjan Vidayalya, near village Katariya on Ahmedabad-Bagodara-Limdi highway. Macwan says, one "may donate money either by cheque, demand draft or via direct bank NO CASTE; NO PLASTIC transfer."
"The donations are exempted under Section 80 (G) of the Income Tax Act. The details of donations will be posted with your consent on our website, navsarjanvidyalaya.wordpress.com", Macwan says, adding, "Our Bank details are: A/C Name: Navsarjan Trust-Primary Education Fund, A/C No: 912010037161980, Bank Name: Axis Bank Ltd, Sanand; Sarkhej-Ahmadabad Road, IFSC code: UTIB0001426".
For further information, Macwan has said, citizens could to contact him on 09727750448, or on email id martin.macwan@gmail.com.

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