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MSSO NEWS - 1998



Editor: Eilish Hiebert




Modification to the Vision Statement

There is a historical imbalance of power between men and women in the world. The following is a glaring example. More than half the world's total food is produced by women. However, women own less than 1% of the world's farmland. It is an obvious fact that women are often denied the opportunity to become agents of change in the development of civil society. MSSO has been conscientiously promoting gender equity in all its development projects. However, this fact was not incorporated in our mission statement. We have now expanded our mission statement to include empowerment of women.

Revenue Canada Audits MSSO

Donors are naturally concerned about the proper use of the money they donate to charitable organizations. They want the NGO to be accountable for their donations. MSSO is well aware of this and regularly monitors the projects it funds.

Like our donors, Revenue Canada is also concerned about use of your donations. They have recognized MSSO as a charity so that donors can receive tax benefits. The Government forsakes income tax on these donations. To monitor the use of these forsaken tax dollars, Revenue Canada audits the recognized charities at random. It was MSSO's turn in 1998 to be audited. As a donor of MSSO you would be happy to know that audit found our operations satisfactory.



"Recall the face of the poorest and the must helpless person whom you have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him"



Mahatma Gandhi



Project Monitoring Visits

Mr. A.K. Gupte is the MSSO representative based in Pune. He is also our project monitoring officer in India. He visits our projects, monitors them and submits reports to MSSO. MSSO Executives also visit India to monitor and evaluate progress of projects. Three major projects were monitored in 1997: (1) Rehabilitation of Earthquake Victims (Manavlok, Ambajogai), (2) Rehabilitation of Rural Mentally Challenged (Prabodhini Trust, Nasik) and (3) Vocational Training of Tribal Midwives (K.S. Wani Memorial Trust, Dhule)

At a tribal residence school -
Mr. A.K. Gupte (MSSO Representative),
Dr. Amarnath Solepure (Midwives Training Coordinator)
and Jagannath Wani (MSSO President)


Rehabilitation of Earthquake Victims

The project was delayed due to government bureaucracy, late delivery of machinery and delays in procuring electricity connections. Having crossed all these hurdles, the project is now on a solid footing. The oil mill, named




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Snehadhara, was formally inaugurated by MSSO President on 7 January 1998. The name Snehadhara signifies a flow of friendship from Canadian individual donors and the Governments of Alberta and Canada to earthquake victims. The inauguration function was attended by more than 300 farmers from the surrounding area. As a result of elimination of middlemen, the farmers in the region will have their incomes significantly enhanced.

At the inauguration -
Dr. D.S. Lohiya (coordinator), centre, and
Jagannath Wani (MSSO President), extreme right

Rehabilitation of Rural Mentally Challenged

Prabodhini Trust is involved in training and rehabilitation of mentally challenged children in Nasik. In big cities there are special schools for mentally challenged children but rural students cannot attend these schools due to lack of residential accommodation. MSSO is assisting Prabodhini Trust to construct a residence facility for rural children, to conduct an awareness program for the community and to reintegrate the trained students in the regular workforce.

At the Prabodhini School for mentally challenged in Nasik.


On 25 September 1998 the MSSO President along with Mr. A.K. Gupte visited the school and the sheltered workshop run by Prabodhini Trust. They held a meeting with the trustees to explain the various aspects of the agreement between MSSO and Prabodhini Trust. The Trust has acquired the necessary land for construction. Planning and designing of the building is underway. The architect hired for this purpose was also present for the meeting.

Visit of MSSO Indian NGO Partner

Dr. Amarnath Solepure, the coordinator of MSSO's Tribal Midwives training program, was nominated by CIDA to attend the 15th biennial world volunteer conference of the International Association of Volunteer Efforts (IAVE 98) held in Edmonton in the last week of August. The conference was addressed by Madam Huguette Labelle, President of CIDA. In her address she referred to CIDA's support for the volunteer effort. She specifically mentioned MSSO's projects in midwifery and vocational training.

MSSO extended Dr. Solepure's visit to augment its Public Engagement program. Besides Edmonton, he visited Calgary and Saskatoon to attend community meetings and briefed the audiences about our tribal midwives training project. He held meetings with the heads of Physiology and Pathology Departments in Edmonton and Calgary hospitals.

Tribal Midwives Training Report


Though 80% of the population of India lives in rural areas, most of the doctors, nurses and hospitals are clustered in urban areas providing service only to the 20% of the population. The rural population has no access to affordable health services. Situation is still more gloomy in the areas where accessibility is limited due to very difficult mountain terrain. The tribal population of Dhule district falls in the latter category.

The health standards of tribal people of Dhule district are unrealistically low. The current maternal mortality rate is estimated around 80/1000 live births and infant mortality rate around 110/1000 live births. There are no properly trained doctors or nurses. Each village has an "experienced" but untrained midwife. These midwives are the only source of medical help in pregnancies and care of the newborn. They fail to recognize medical problems during vulnerable periods. The project, with motto: Tribal Health in Tribal Hands, starts with what is available in the community; the uneducated midwives. They have their family roots firmly planted in the community. They will not be lured away to urban areas. Over a period of three years the project will train 225 uneducated midwives from the tribal communities located in mountain terrain of the district.

The Training

Dr. Solepure, Dean of Medicine at North Maharashtra University, is the project director. For instructional




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purposes, he sought assistance from three faculty members and 5 nurses from the local medical college. Use of the teaching hospital was essential for practical training. He requested permission from the state Government of Maharashtra for the use of hospital facilities as well as for participation of the faculty members. The project was to start on 1 March 1997. However the government bureaucratic procedures delayed the start of the project till 2 October 1997.

Examining the difference - boiled water and untreated water

K.S. Wani Memorial Trust, the Indian NGO partner, realized that dependence of the project on government servants and a government hospital will hamper the progress of the project. To reduce this dependence, the Trust organized a team of local doctors and nurses to teach a separate batch of midwives. The team enlisted participation of the local municipal hospital for practical training. A local NGO, Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram, running a hostel for tribal female students offered to provide accommodation to this batch of trainees. The first group of five trainees enrolled in the training program on 30 September 1997.

As of 30 September 1998, the two teams, one at the government medical college and the other at the municipal hospital, trained 114 midwives. The training follows a day to day curriculum prepared by Dr. Solepure. The curriculum is organized in a book format titled: Curriculum for the Training of Tribal Women Leader of Health.

Gathering of the trainees at Dhadgaon, in tribal region

In the first week of January 1998 a formal gathering of the midwives trained at the government college was organized at Dhadgaon, a town which serves as the administrative head quarters of the tribal region. The MSSO president


attended this gathering and discussed the progress of the midwives on a one to one basis. Within three months after their training some of them had performed as many as six deliveries. In one case the mother delivered triplets while in another case the trained midwife had to intervene to pull out the baby by hand. The confidence of the trained midwives was admirable.

Similar gathering of the trainees under the local volunteer doctors was arranged in the third week of April 1998. The gathering served as a refresher course for these midwives. They narrated benefits of their training and the respect they earned within their community as a result of the training.

Construction of Hospital

In the very early stages of the project, it was realized that dependence on government medical college and the attached teaching hospital was shaky. (In August 1998 Dr. Solepure was transferred out of Dhule. As a result of his transfer, the training at the government college has temporarily ceased.) For the sake of independence and continuity of the project beyond foreign assistance, the NGO partner requested a change to the construction plan. The original proposal called for the construction of a hostel for a group of 25 trainees. The revised plan includes a 30 bed maternity hospital.

Tribal women in traditional dress

Construction began in June 1997 and foundation was laid in August 1997. Mr. Uday Thakor, a consulting architect from Calgary, was requested to examine architectural drawings. Mr. Thakor has participated in construction of hospitals both in India and Canada. He readily agreed to volunteer his services. In December 1997, the MSSO president and Mr. Thakor visited Dhule and held meetings with the local architects and engineers to improve the design of the hospital. They also met teaching faculty, trainees and administrative staff associated with the project. The construction is expected to be completed before August 1999.


Notwithstanding the delay in starting the training program, the project is progressing very satisfactorily. The satisfactory progress is a result of organizing an additional




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team of private doctors, nurses and participation of a local NGO which runs a hostel for female tribal students. The addition of the new team also provides a wider base for the project, in that it does not depend on one single individual. A maternity home will generate enough income to make the project sustainable after the termination of external funding.

A batch of midwifery trainees with teachers and assistants

55+ Age Group Waiting for Invitation

Madam Huguette Labelle, President of CIDA, stated in her address at IAVE '98 that she first started volunteering because someone had taken the initiative and had invited her to volunteer. Just like Madam Huguette Labelle, many persons of Indian origin aged 55+ would like to contribute to the development process of India but they are waiting for an invitation. One of our donors expressed his thoughts in the following words: Many Indians aged 55+ are eager to donate their time for development of India. They have been successful in life, their grown up children have left home and they now have plenty of time on their hands. After staying in the Western countries for several years and having enjoyed all material pleasures, they are now feeling compassion. Some thought should be given to exploring this potential energy.

True, there is a vast potential energy to be tapped. What is needed is a coordinator who can chalk up a program and take a leading role in the execution of the program. Can we find a volunteer in the 55+ age group who will invite others to join him and take the bull by horns? MSSO is ready to provide a link between these volunteers and NGOs in India.


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


200 Promenade du Portage, Hull, Que., Canada K1A 0G4


3555 - 93 Street, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6E 6N6


#10, 3803 - 26 Avenue SW, Calgary, AB, Canada T3E 6V7


MSSO Success Stories on a Video

The MSSO video, Three Faces of Tomorrow, features three success stories associated with three MSSO projects. It illustrates how MSSO changed the lives of three frustrated, unfortunate victims of destiny, with help from MSSO donors and matching funds from the Alberta Wild Rose Foundation and the Canadian International Development Agency. It is now available for viewing to any interested persons or groups. Persons donating $200 or more can request a complimentary copy. Others too can receive a copy by paying $15 for duplicating, handling and mailing expenses. Address and other details are given at the end of this column.

Heartfelt Thanks to Volunteers

The following volunteers helped with fundraising activities, raising in excess of $38,000. The actual assistance to the less privileged will grow manifold through matching funds from the Wild Rose Foundation and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Baldev Abbi

Pratima Pandit

Sandhya & Sujata Bagwe

Rajiv Ranjan

Krishan Chawla

Madhu & Satish Sehgal

Rohit Desai

Angela Sehgal

Jaydeep Deshpande

Moloy Sen

Jacqueline Doell

Dushyant Sharma

Balvant & Parag Gandhi

M.P. & Shyama Sharma

Shilpa Gandhi

Naresh & Renu Sharma

Kamalakar & Usha Joshi

Preetam Sharma

Monica Juneja

Someshwar Sharma

Jivan Kayande

Krishna Singh

Naren Mehta

S.P. & Basanti Singh

Sim Murthy

Raju Wani

MSSO Web Site

Anup Ogale of Hamilton, Ont., has developed a web site for MSSO. You may visit the web site at

"The goal to end poverty is rooted not just in a sense of crisis, or injustice but of possibility. It is not a call to charity but a call to humanity, justice, and equity - necessary if we are all to prosper. It's an agenda that leads to actions that leads - with your help - to solutions."

From What We Can Do
Canadian Council for International Cooperation

Donations to MSSO are eligible for tax credit (charity registration No. 10765 4410 RR 0001). Donations and/or requests for MSSO video, Three Faces of Tomorrow, may be sent to the following address:

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