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Schizophrenia-Awareness and Reintegration
This major project, undertaken by MSSO with participation of Schizophrenia Awareness Association (SAA) and K.S. Wani Memorial Trust, will be completed at the end of this year. The progress of the various aspects of the project is given below.
Awareness Movies: The movie Devrai, has won many national and international awards - (1) The festival film critics (from five different countries) at the 9th International Kerala Film Festival gave a special award, technical excellence in acting, to Atul Kulkarni for his role in Devrai. This was the only award received by an Indian film at the festival, which included films from 16 different countries including four from India. (2) Four awards - best picture, best directors, best actor & best actress in Screen competitions, (3) Five awards - best picture, best directors, best actor, best screenplay and best photography in Maharashtra Times competitions, (4) Two awards - best actor and best story at Alpha TV Marathi competitions, (5) Another Jury's special award at MAMI Festival in Mumbai to Atul Kulkarni, (6) A national award from the Government of India for the Best Film for Environmental Awareness.

 

MSSO gratefully acknowledges assistance of the following in the production of MSSO News

 

 

Canadian International Development Agency
200 Promenade du Portage, Hull, Que., Canada K1A 0G4

 

 

Polyphase Engineered Controls Ltd.
3555 - 93 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6E 6N6

 

 

Devrai is now screened in commercial theatres in many cities of Maharashtra. Sumitra Bhave & Sunil Sukthankar, the director duo, toured Canada and the United States to screen the movie for interested groups in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal in Canada and in Chicago, San Jose, St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Chapel Hill in U.S.A. The movie is available from MSSO on a DVD with English subtitles. (Details on page 4.)

 

We are pleased to report that another awareness movie, Majhi Goshta (My Story), has been released on 31st July 2005 in Pune.

 

It projects a different perspective in understanding Schizophrenia and its treatment. It will be soon screened for many different service clubs and self-help groups in Maharashtra. Within the next few weeks it will be available on DVD with English subtitles. Vidyadhar Bapat, one of a dedicated SAA volunteers, initiated and completed this movie almost single-handedly, including script writing, direction and administrative management.

Poster of "Majhi Goshta"

Rehabilitation Activities: The sports and entertainment activities initiated by Vidyadhar Bapat are producing remarkable results. The following comments from the caregivers are a measure of the success of this program.
(1) "Miraculous results. My daughter is better in all respects. Side effects have gone. Dosages reduced. No depression. Enhanced confidence. (Many) other benefits which we had never imagined before."
(2) "At first we thought of putting my son in a mental hospital and leaving him there because we were confused and didn't know what to do. But after joining SAA and attending the exercises and entertainment programs there has been so much change in his behaviour. His expressions have improved tremendously."
(3) "The physical exercises conducted by SAA are refreshing and revitalizing and have proved to be very useful for my child who has been suffering for last 15 years. He is better, active and nearly depression free."

 

 

 

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There are many such comments, which cannot be reproduced here for space reasons. It is noteworthy to record here that the activities have attracted attention of caregivers from other cities. At least two families have moved to Pune from other cities to take advantage of the programs offered by SAA.
Some of the participants have either been gainfully employed or have started their own small businesses. Almost all of the student beneficiaries, appeared for exams in the current academic year and have done well. Some of the participants are taking a leading role, totally independently, in conducting exercise sessions, including the planning and implementation of the entire schedule of one hour. These leadership initiatives included a production of a program to express appreciation of their parent's support in the painful journey of this illness. The beneficiaries themselves planned the entire function. There were many touching moments in the function. The parents were overwhelmed by the feelings expressed by their children. Many beneficiaries and caregivers had tears of joy in their eyes. No wonder, many psychiatrists are directing patients and their caregivers to join self-help activities conducted by SAA. Dr Vidyadhar Watve, the psychiatrist associated with the program, observed "reduced weight, release from endorphin and antidepressants etc., increased alertness and coordination, increase in social skills and confidence level due to both (sports and entertainment) activities" amongst all his patients participating in these activities.
The sports and entertainment therapy is complemented by the Recovery method. The method, based on rational emotive therapy, helps the participants develop an insight into their life and thus reduce dependence on medicines and elimination of relapses-cum-hospitalizations. It is interesting to note that women participation in SAA activities is close to 65%.

SAA participants at the Recovery Inc. meeting in Chicago Yeshwant Oak, Nilima Bapat, Gurudatta Kundapurkar, Anil Vartak

The volunteer social workers of SAA have been elected to serve on many national and international bodies, such as WFSAD. They have been invited to make presentations at many national and international conferences related to mental health issues; the most recent one was the annual conference of Recovery Inc. held in Chicago in the later part of May 2005.

Publications: As part of the awareness program, SAA has published three books Schizophrenia - Ek Navi Jaaniv (Marathi); Schizophrenia - Ek Naya Ehasas, (Hindi); and "Divided Mind - A Handbook of Schizophrenia." SAA has undertaken to produce the fourth publication Schizophrenia - A New Perspective. The manuscript of the book is ready and it is in the printing process.

 

Daycare Centre: K.S. Wani Memorial Trust has purchased a piece of land measuring 10,000 square feet adjoining a very large open space for constructing the proposed daycare centre. The construction has already begun. The completion date is 31st December 2005. This will be a major accomplishment in the rehabilitation program of SAA. In the interim period, Pune Municipal Corporation has provided the office and meeting space to conduct the activities of SAA at their Kamala Nehru Hospital. Using their facilities, SAA has started a daycare centre on a trial basis for ten beneficiaries.

Extension Activity: A new self-help group for non-Marathi caregivers was launched on 4th August 2005 in the camp area of Pune city, under the leadership of Mrs. Veena Tandon, herself a caregiver. Eight prospective self-help group leaders from Ahmednagar, Nashik, Jalna and Aurangabad attended a one-and-a-half day orientation course in Pune on 30th and 31st July 2005. This was a precursor to a three-day workshop planned for about 35 caregivers and volunteers from NGOs located in the neighboring districts of Maharashtra.

The successful methods adopted by SAA for rehabilitation of persons afflicted with schizophrenia are also being introduced to other regions of India through national and international conferences. Two such conferences in particular may be mentioned here. The first one is the International Conference of the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders (WFSAD) in Chennai, India, from 1st till 4th October 2004. Twenty-one members of SAA attended the conference. This was the largest group representation at the conference, attended by 300 participants from all over the world. Mr. Vartak & Mr. Gurudatt from SAA presented workshops on rehabilitation methods adopted by SAA. The second one is the Second National Convention of Caregivers, organized by the Institute of Psychological Health (IPH), Thane, from 12th and 13th February 2005. About 300 persons, from all over India, attended the convention, which included 35 members of SAA. The SAA team presented a demonstration of the 'Recovery method' and the members of the self-help group presented a variety entertainment program.

Besides these two conferences, Professor Vartak, Secretary of SAA, was invited to conduct a workshop on psychiatric rehabilitation, jointly cosponsored by the National Institute for Mental Health and Allied Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) and World Health Organization (WHO) in Bangalore, India, from 2nd till 4th January 2005.
ETV Marathi, a popular Marathi TV channel, took cognizance of the SAA activities and invited Yeshwant Oak, President of SAA, to be interviewed on their popular program 'Samvad'. The interview was very effective in creating awareness about the SAA activities. It generated literally hundreds of calls to Mr. Oak and to Anil Vartak, secretary of SAA. This is just one example of how the electronic and print media from many cities in Maharashtra, including Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Nagar and Aurangabad, have been giving ample coverage to the cause espoused by SAA. They are providing not only the media coverage but are also sponsoring SAA activities.

 

 

 

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Public Recognition: After the last reporting period two more awards were received in connection with the activities related to the project. In recognition of the service rendered by Dr. Jagannath Wani, the founder president of SAA, to the social work at the international level, Calgary YMCA presented him with their annual award for International Peace Initiatives on 26th November 2004 in Hyatt International Hotel in Calgary. The other recognition came in the form of Sangharsha Sanman Puraskar (Award to Honor Struggle) from 'Muktangan Mitra' on 10th February 2005 in the famous Amphi-theatre of Fergusson College, Pune, to Prof. Anil Vartak, Secretary of SAA, for his successful struggle against the illness of schizophrenia and helping and guiding other afflicted persons to succeed in their struggle.
The following excerpt contained in the letter from Bob MacIntyre, the President of Chicago based Recovery Inc., speaks volumes about the achievements of SAA. "I am not sure you understand that to us here in the USA, you are celebrities! You have done things that we understand and envy. We know how much effort it takes to accomplish what you have, and we have great respect for you. Always remember that Recovery, Inc. did not do it, nor did Dr. Low. YOU did it through the effort you have made. People often give great thanks to Recovery, but Recovery is just a few books and papers. Recovery just lies there. The people who benefit from it are the ones who make that reasonable, sustained effort that Dr. Low asked of all his patients. It is good people like yourselves that make it happen. Remember to endorse yourselves for that effort. Your presence here inspired us, and reminded us why we exist.
I mention here a line I read somewhere. I think it may have been Margaret Mead, but I'm not sure. It reads. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." You are such people. Endorse!!"

 

NRI Youth Volunteering in India

It is heartening to record here that MSSO receives inquiries from many youth for volunteering opportunities with our NGO partners in India. Currently there are three such active volunteers. Janaka Lagoo (Chapel Hill) has been volunteering for the last two summers at SEARCH, run by Dr. Abhay Bang for tribal people of Gadchiroli district. Shrayas Jatkar (Pittsburgh) is in India since May 2005, volunteering for many NGOs in Maharashtra and Rajasthan on watershed projects. Vikashni Chand (Edmonton) is contributing her volunteer services to Naseema Hurzuk's NGO, Helpers of the Handicapped, in Kolhapur and Konkan region of Maharashtra.

 

New MSSO Projects

Development of Abandoned Children: In November 2004, MSSO president addressed a meeting of the members of the Marathi Bhashik Mandal of Toronto to motivate them to actively participate in MSSO activities. The meeting led to the creation of a group to assist the Society of Friends of Sasoon Hospitals (SOFOSH) in their project to provide shelter for abandoned children with multiple disabilities. SOFOSH provides shelter for abandoned children and finds willing families to adopt these children. However, children with a double disability, mental and physical, are not very lucky in finding adoptive families. SOFOSH is constructing a housing facility for these children. MSSO project, jointly sponsored with Maanaw Seva Association, will provide the new housing complex with renewable energy devices such as solar system, biogas plant, tube-well and inverters.

 

Health & Hygiene Using Yoga & Naturopathy at Shivanand Math and Yogashram Sangh, in Guwahati, Assam: The Athparia family in Calgary initiated this project. It will provide facilities for teaching yoga and treating patients using yoga and naturopathy. The main objects of the project are:

To provide 400 square feet facility for yoga centre patients,
To provide equipment and furniture for a residence facility,
To train yoga teachers,
To create awareness about yoga in maintaining good health,
To teach yoga to population around the centre.

 

Mobile Ophthalmic Care: K.S. Wani Memorial Trust, in cooperation with Sandeep Foundation, provides free ophthalmic care to rural persons subsisting on incomes below the poverty line at their charity ophthalmic hospital in Dhule. Many of these needy persons cannot even afford to pay for transportation costs. The project will make provision for an appropriately equipped mobile van to provide on-site ophthalmic care to the rural population of Dhule and Nandurbar districts and also to provide transportation to those needing an operation at the charity ophthalmic hospital.

Charity eye hospital - line up for the annual camp

 

 

 

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Vocational Training of Women-Interior Decoration: The Women's Education Society in Dhule provides education and vocational training to women. Through the current project, the society is offering courses to women in Interior Decoration. Equipped with directly applicable skills, the trained young women will either find suitable employment or will be able to start their own businesses without big capital outlays.

The last three projects are jointly sponsored with the Vedanta Society of Calgary.

 

Tsunami Relief: Some of the MSSO donors wanted to send donations for Tsunami relief work. The Marathi Bhashik Mandal of Toronto took a leading role in collecting the funds in Toronto. The donors were concerned about the overhead expenses of large organizations and they specifically wanted their donations to be channeled to the relief work in India. MSSO checked around and selected Vivekananda Kendra based in Kanyakumari as the most suitable NGO for this purpose. MSSO has received a formal report of the activities of the Vivekananda Kendra in respect to Tsunami relief work.

 

MSSO Project in Progress

Rehabilitation of Rural Physically Challenged: The project is providing vocational training in agriculture and food and fruit processing to the physically handicapped in the rural area of Konkan region of Maharashtra. A video, to create awareness and describe the work of the Helpers of the Handicapped, Kolhapur, is ready for public screening.

Jagannath Wani presenting Bharari Award during a function organized by the Helpers of the Handicapped, Kolhapur

VISHWASETU 2005, 3rd NRI Convention
& NRI Literary Meet (Sahitya Sammelan)
17th & 18th December 2005 in Mumbai

"The Role of Culture in Bridging Miles and Minds" is the theme of the convention supported by MSSO. The convention is devoted to NRI Sahitya Sammelan. Vijay Tendulkar will inaugurate the convention and Dr. Kumar Ketkar will chair the inauguration session. Dr. Narendra Jadhav will honor the winners of a short stories competition. A special session is organized for NRI authors to express their views on "Why and for what do I write?" Meena Prabhu, a well-known NRI author from London, will chair the session. NRI poets will get a chance to present their poems in Kavi Sammelan. There will be high caliber entertainment programs in the evenings. Additional information about the convention may be found at http://www.setuonline.org. The registration form is available on the web site. The forms may also be obtained by contacting Jagannath Wani at (403) 288-0048 or by sending an email to wani@math.ucalgary.ca. The registration deadline for special rates is 31st October. Admission package for donors includes complimentary accommodation for two nights, 17th and 18th December, in Rang Sharda Hotel. In addition, donors will also get select seating in the very front row for both entertainment programs.

 

Heartfelt Thanks to Volunteers

Jivan Kayande organized a team of volunteers to help MSSO in a fundraising activity for two days on 24th and 25th July 2005. The proceeds from this event will be utilized for a charity eye hospital for the benefit of poor rural people.

Deepak Aggarwal

Ramesh Khullar

Pawan Aggarwal

Dhirubhai Ladwa

Ramesh Aggarwal

Subhash Lele

Sandhya Bagwe

Mukund Mehta

Darshan Behl

Narendra Deo Mishra

Preeti Behl

Sambhu Nath

Roger Bellows

Kiran Patel

Krishna Bukka

Maganbhai Patel

Jim Capp

Savita Patel

Vicky Chand

Rajiv Ranjan

Niru Channan

Satish Sehgal

Krishan Chawla

Madhu Sehgal

Rohit Desai

Deepak Sharma

Ashish Deshpande

Dev Sharma

Padma Dhodia

M.P. Sharma

Vasudev Dhodia

Naresh Sharma

Mahendra Jain

Preetam Sharma

Mrudul Jain

Pushpa Sharma

Kamlakar Joshi

Renu Sharma

Usha Joshi

Rajeshwar Singh

Krishan Katyal

Jay Sundriyal

Lata Katyal

Raghvendra Verma

Jivan Kayande

Jagannath Wani

Siddhi Kayande

Natubhai Zilka

 

Executive members of MSSO
Ramesh Aggarwal -Vice President, Jivan Kayande - Treasurer Eilish Hiebert - Secretary & Jagannath Wani - President

 

Devrai DVD with English subtitles
is available from MSSO. The cost is as follows:
within U.S. $20 (U.S.) including courier charges,
within Canada $25 (Canadian) including courier charges.
Refer to the next box for payment details including address.

 

 

Donations to MSSO are eligible for tax credit
(charity registration No. 10765 4410 RR 0001).
You may send your donations and/or requests
for MSSO videos to:

 

Maharashtra Seva Samiti Organization
4 Strathbury Circle SW
Calgary, Alberta
Canada T3H 1P7
Phone (403) 288-0048 Fax (403) 547-5471

 

 

 

Visit www.mssoonline.org for
(1) Past issues of MSSO NEWS and
(2) List of available videos, VCDs & DVDs