Annual Report 2005 -2006
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It is with great pleasure that I present this report to you for the period 2005-2006.
Like the past year, this year has also been eventful. Since we pursue an integrated development approach to whatever we undertake, needless to mention that the related activities will be increasing year by year.
We added two initiatives this year and both of them related to combating HIV/AIDS:
While the former covered the population in 23 villages of Toopran and Chegunta Mandals the latter concentrated on pregnant women in both those Mandals. Along with these initiatives, the existing programs related to
Before enumerating these events, however, I would like to share a few thoughts about the initiatives that the organization is implementing because they reinforce the importance of peoples participation and networking. One relates to the spread of HIV/AIDS and its prevention and the other pertains to comprehensive eye care services.
We are all aware that the spread of HIV/AIDS has reached alarming proportions. I do not want to furnish any statistics but it would be sufficient to say that Andhra Pradesh is leading as the highest HIV/AIDS affected State in India. Hyderabad tops the national average of HIV affected areas with 34%. STI is ever increasing. Prostitution has reached new heights. Trafficking of women and children is on the rise and is taking place without any check. The trafficked victims are lured and taken to various destinations under the pretext of providing/arranging jobs. But many a time they, especially the women, land up in brothels. It is not that the authorities and others concerned are not knowing about it and rescuing the victims. Rescuing the victims is taking place at a slow pace mainly because the perpetrators of this crime go unnoticed or they vanish from the scene without leaving any clue. They do their operation clandestinely. This has to be checked and the culprits brought to book. Needless to mention that the rescued persons—women and children—should be rehabilitated. Our initiatives in partnership with PLAN International (India) aims to achieve this very objective. We need to look this problem from various angles—socio-economic, cultural etc.—and not from mere moral or legal angles as often we are tempted to do. These problems cannot be tackled unless the government and voluntary organizations, especially Civil Society Organizations, work hand in hand with commitment and without any discrimination and any “holier than those” attitude.
Awareness building exercise on HIV/AIDS in various forms among the people is being carried out on a regular basis for preventing the spread of infection. The communities in the participating villages are actively involved in this effort of checking the spread of this disease. This is indeed encouraging. Spread of infection from parent to child also to be checked at appropriate time. This was also being carried out with the support of UNICEF.
The other initiative of providing Comprehensive Eye Care Services is in operation since April 2004 in Toopran, Chegunta and Ramayempet Mandals, covering a population of over 200000. Here, our attempt is to complement the efforts of the government agencies through networking with establishments having similar objectives/programmes. Such arrangements are working out very well. However, it is regrettable that the communities are not participating in this effort to the extent expected of them though they are aware that diseases of the eyes affect them directly in terms of mobility and earning capacity. This is despite holding counseling and awareness building sessions. Of course they have their own reasons and difficulties to describe which we can understand to a great extent. Our experience is that unless the community shows equal interest in the process of preventing and treating blindness, the blindness control programme will not have the desired effect. However, we also understand this is a slow process and we need sustained effort and a lot of patience.
Our involvement does not end at just providing eye care services. What we are doing is extending a comprehensive eye care service where prevention to identification of blind persons/persons with refractive errors to medical/surgical treatment to rehabilitation are looked into and dealt with appropriately.
What I am trying to bring out by quoting the experience of the organization is that there are two major elements that one cannot ignore while implementing any initiative. They are: a. peoples participation and b. networking of people and organizations. Development agencies should give utmost importance to both these aspects not only in writing but also in action. Otherwise the efforts put in will not be effective and will not ensure sustainability.
MDIDP (Medak District Integrated Development Project) is a larger initiative of Sanghamitra and within its framework comes different projects. What Sanghamitra could do in the last five years had been a small portion of this larger initiative. Therefore, a lot of work has still to go into it and in that regard skill development for income generation, community health care including primary health care, environmental sanitation, primary education, eradication of child labour and promotion of suitable farming and farming methods are on our priority list. Implementing these require inputs in terms of funds and human resources. We are sure that support will be forthcoming from many organizations in the future for taking up new ventures and expanding the ongoing ones.
We look forward to the active participation of anyone who is interested in the development of other people, in our efforts to bring about development in the areas we operate. We must express here that whatever we had been able to achieve was possible with the help, support and cooperation of many people and organizations.
I take this opportunity to thank all the funding partners and government agencies who have extended their assistance for undertaking the initiatives mentioned in the report. Thanks to all the networking institutions/communities and associates who have contributed to the efforts of the organization in the field of integrated development.
The Sanghamitra team has put in its best efforts in ensuring that the organization achieve effectiveness in all activities. I am proud of all the members in the team.
The Executive Committee of Sanghamitra has been a source of inspiration. It has encouraged taking up new initiatives and has extended its unstinted cooperation to all those initiatives. I hereby place on record my sincere thanks to them.
I also thank my Provincial, Fr G Lazar svd, for allowing me to continue with Sanghamitra.
Above all I could always feel the unseen hands of Divine Providence guiding us especially in difficult situations. I bow my head in thanks giving before that Almighty Power.
Fr John Vattamattom SVD
Secretary & CEO