Page No - 1


Goto Page No. 1 2 3 4


MSSO NEWS - 2003



Editor: Eilish Hiebert




Recently Completed MSSO Projects

Literacy and Development of Tribals: Construction of a ladies hostel for 150 tribal students, a school building with six classrooms and living quarters for medical doctors is complete. Three new medical doctors have joined the team of Drs. Prakash and Manda Amte. Two of them are past students of the school run by the partner and the third one is the wife of one of them. The medical staff at the hospital now includes a pediatrician, a gynecologist, an anesthetist and two surgeons.

A Recently Completed School Building for Tribal Children

Assistance for Dairy Projects: During 2002, MSSO assisted four NGOs in extension of their dairy projects by donating eight cows. The recipients of this assistance are Helpers of the Handicapped in Kolhapur, Sandipani Gurukul near Ratnagiri, Prabodhini Trust in Nashik and Maharogi Sewa Samiti's Ashokvan site near Nagpur.

Development of Court Committed Children: The project initiated by Vatsalya Trust, Mumbai, is now complete. The project has provided an opportunity for development of


court-committed children and saved them from being recruited as child laborers.

Vocational Training of Rural Women: A plantation close to drought-prone Harali has created an opportunity for fruit-processing units. Jnana Prabodhini, Solapur, trained rural women in fruit processing. This will help women around Harali to supplement their family income.

MSSO Projects in Progress

Schizophrenia-Awareness and Reintegration: The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) approved this project last year. An awareness program is a major part of the project. It includes publication of Marathi books. At present there are no books on this topic in Marathi. The first in the series was released on 17th August in Pune and on 24th August in Mumbai. The book has been a success beyond our expectation. It sold more than 1400 copies in a month. Work has begun on a book for creating awareness amongst General Medical Practitioners, providing them with guidance on treating patients suffering from schizophrenia.

Jagannath Wani, Vijay Tendulkar and Jhanhavi Kedare
at the book publication ceremony in Mumbai




Page No - 2


Goto Page No. 1 2 3 4




Schizophrenia Awareness Association (SAA) is also engaged in the following areas under the guidance and leadership of the project coordinator Yashwant Oak: (1) Awareness meetings (2) Volunteer training and (3) Courses for family members who have in the family a person afflicted with schizophrenia. SAA has involved interested groups from other nearby cities too. The main one is Nashik about 200 kilometers from Pune.

Children's Participation in Environmental Awareness

The activity on the production of the awareness video took longer to start than originally planned. Sumitra Bhave and Sunil Sukhtankar, well known producers of many award winning Marathi feature films and videos, have agreed to undertake the job of producing the video. Necessary research and script writing will be finished before 31st December 2003. The actual shooting will start in the first week of January 2004 with expected completion date 30th June 2004.

The project also provides for a daycare centre to look after medical and therapeutic needs of the afflicted persons and train them in social and vocational skills. SAA is pursuing Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to obtain a vacant facility owned by PMC for starting a daycare centre, till SAA constructs its own facility for this purpose. The process of constructing the facility is also taking longer than expected due to bureaucracy in the Indian system.

The following projects initiated during 2002 are in progress:


Personality Development of Rural Students - Vidhyarthi Sahayyak Samiti, Pune,


Development of Slum Students and Mothers- SwaRoop Wardhinee, Pune and


Vocational Training in Nursing Assistance for Destitute Women - Adharashram, Nashik.


The first two of these projects are co-sponsored by the Vedanta Society and the last one by Maanaw Seva Association.

The first four of these projects are jointly sponsored with the Vedanta Society of Calgary. The last one is jointly sponsored with Maanaw Seva Association.


New MSSO Projects

Health and Hygiene of Slum Dwellers: Sarvajanik Hospital in Dhule provides medical services to slum dwellers at a reasonable cost. The project will assist the hospital in a program encouraging family planning amongst women in these slums. This will ultimately lead to improved health standards for the slum dwellers. Lack of laproscopic surgical instruments requires the surgeon to use traditional methods for tubectomy, forcing the women to be hospitalized for seven days. With laproscopic surgery tubectomy patients can be discharged the same day. This will prevent unnecessary loss of daily wages for six days, creating unnecessary hardship for the family. The equipment will be utilized for many other surgical procedures too (such as appendisectomy, cholecystectomy, etc). In these latter types, traditional method of surgery not only requires a long stay in hospital, but also a very long period for recovery. The loss of wages in these cases is far more severe. The provision of laproscopic surgical instruments will avoid loss of wages for the slum patients. Edmonton based Maanaw Seva Association has co-sponsored this project.

Health and Education of Hemalkasa Tribals: In the early seventies, Swissaid Abroad assisted Lok Biradari Prakalpa (LBP) to set up buildings for a school, a hospital, living quarters and warehouses, with roofs having tiles set over wooden frames. Termites have eaten up these wooden frames. This is leading to a risk of these roofs collapsing in the near future. If and when this happens, the work of assisting the tribals will be severely hampered. The project is providing assistance to replace these roofs with steel frames. More than 300 tribal patients receive medical help on a daily basis at the out-patient department of LBP and more than 550 students are enrolled in the school.


Surgery in an Open Air Operation Theatre


Meals for Tribal Patients: This is another project to help the tribals who come to LBP hospital for medical assistance. In many cases, the patients have to be admitted to hospital for a longer period. The hospital does not have a facility to provide meals during these extended stays. The project is providing assistance to pay for the meal service for these patients for a period of one year. The project will be reviewed on yearly basis.




Page No - 3


Goto Page No. 1 2 3 4




Rehabilitation of Destitute Children - Sandipani Gurukul near Ratnagiri in Konkan (Maharashtra) provides accommodation, meals and education for development of students who are orphans or who come from broken homes. Along with formal education they also provide vocational training in trades such as agriculture, horticulture, arts and crafts to make them socially more responsible citizens. The project will assist them in construction of a residence facility for 20 students. The project is co-sponsored by the Volunteers in Service to Education in India (VSEI - Canada).

Soundproof Room for Hearing Test: This project was approved for a residential school for hearing-impaired in Pimpalgaon - Hareshwar, situated in a rural area of the Jalgaon district of Maharashtra. There are very few residential schools for hearing-impaired children in rural areas. Established and managed by the alumni of the school for normal children in Pimpalgaon-Hareshwar, the school has dedicated staff.

Prakash & Manda Amte at BMM 2003

A quiet and unassuming couple, Prakash and Manda Amte, has been quietly performing miracles every day for almost three decades, to improve living conditions of the local tribes deep in the forests of remote isolated region of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra. What they have accomplished in this period is mind-boggling. They provide medical care to more than 40,000 tribal people every year, as well as education to hundreds of their kids, some of whom have become medical doctors, engineers and professionals in variety of disciplines. Dr. Prakash Amte also performs a role of a judge when the tribals present their disputes before him. Wild life orphanage is another important activity of his. A year ago, Prakash received the title of "Padmashree" from the Government of India for his exemplary service to the Madia tribes and the orphaned wild life in the region. Prakash and Manda Amte are among the very few Indians to be honored with a postal stamp by any foreign country, such as Monaco.

A warm welcome at BMM 2003 Convention

There is so much to talk about their amazing work. However, neither Prakash nor Manda will talk about it. When asked about their silence on this topic, Prakash humbly says "I believe in doing the work, not talking about it." It was not an easy job to convince the couple to travel to North America to talk about their work, difficulties they encountered and the sacrifice they made for the cause of Madia tribals. We had to first persuade them to come. MSSO played a major role in


convincing the Amte couple to accept the invitation to come to the convention.


The next job was to find a way to make them talk. This could be accomplished only through an interview. Aparna Velankar very skillfully conducted their interview on 5th July 2003 for the benefit of more than 3000 delegates at the BMM 2003 convention at Madison Square Garden in the heart of New York City. There was a pin-drop silence during this interview. Using very brief questions, Aparna made them unfold their story. It was very touching, moving and heartbreaking. Almost everyone in the audience was moved to tears. No wonder Amtes got a standing ovation for a long time. The audience spontaneously donated more than $35,000 (U.S.) to support their work for tribals. It is interesting to note that neither Prakash nor Manda asked for donations in their interview. Notwithstanding the several entertainment events at the convention, the interview of Drs. Prakash and Manda Amte was the high point.


Busy Aparna Velankar with Prakash and others


The organizers of BMM 2003 deserve to be congratulated for inviting the Amte couple and providing this rare opportunity to convention delegates to hear first hand from them about their otherwise silent work in a remote part of India. The convention organizers have continued the tradition of inviting social workers as guests of honor, a tradition started at BMM 2001 convention in Calgary. We sincerely hope that this tradition will continue at BMM 2005 convention in Atlanta, Georgia.


Beyond BMM 2003

After attending BMM 2003 convention, Drs. Prakash and Manda Amte were invited to visit more than a dozen cities for "speaking" engagement. Prior to their North America visit, MSSO prepared a video, Divine Messengers, encompassing all aspects of their work to facilitate the "speaking" engagements. More than 250 copies of the video in VCD format were distributed during their visit. This was a success beyond our expectation. The cities they visited include Calgary, Edmonton and Toronto in Canada, and Allentown, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Jose, Raleigh, New Jersey, New York, Stamford and Dallas in the U.S.A. To relieve the Amte couple from the task of giving lectures, the meetings started with a presentation of the video, followed by question and answer sessions. The format worked out very well. The audiences in various cities were touched and moved by simplicity of the couple. Besides $35,000 (U.S.) raised at the BMM 2003 convention, the tour raised an additional $45,000 (U.S.) for assisting Amtes in their work for the tribals of Hemalkasa.




Page No - 4


Goto Page No. 1 2 3 4




Affection for Orphaned Animals

Heartfelt Thanks to Volunteers

Satish and Madhu Sehgal organized the following team of volunteers to help MSSO in its fundraising activity for two days on 18th and 19th June 2003. It generated slightly more than $74,000 for supporting our development work. 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).


Ramesh Aggarwal

Subhash Lele

Sandhya Bagwe

Vinod Marwaha

Deepak Chaitanya

Narendra Deo Mishra

Niru Channan

Sambhu Nath

Krishan Chawla

Jitendra Patel

Ajay Deo

Kewal Rishi

Rohit Desai

Satish Sehgal

Anil Garg

Rasik Shah

Nilay Garge

Mahendra Pal Sharma

Suresh Gurjar

Shyama Sharma

Coimbatore Janakiraman

Tilak Sharma

Suresh Jani

Gulshan Sethi

Bhanu Joshi

Subhash Sikka

Kamalakar Joshi

Basanti Singh

Usha Joshi

Krishna Singh

Yash Kalra

Rajeshwar Singh

Jivan Kayande

Jagannath Wani


Essence of the joy of giving

A woman complained that all her life she served her family and gave to charities but no one really cared. She found no happiness in life. The underlying cause was her possessive and dominating nature. She wished to win over others in exchange for her charity. Her giving carried a heavy price tag of others having to forgo their independence. If the recipients of her charity would not submit to her expectation, she would blame them for ingratitude. Such giving naturally cannot yield any joy or happiness. Similarly motives like name and fame, gifts and honors, contaminate our charity. Such motives not only deprive the donor of the joy of giving but also burden the receiver. It is not so important what or how much you give; what really counts is the attitude with which you give.



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


Bridging Miles & Minds

Judging from comments of the attendees, the first ever NRI festival, Vishwasetu 2002, in Pune from 19th till 21st December 2002, was a great success. It was co-sponsored by MSSO. The most memorable part of the festival was the interview of Naseema Hurzuk and her physically challenged colleagues. Ms. Hurzuk, herself a paraplegic, has helped literally hundreds of physically and mentally challenged persons to become self-supporting. Their experiences and success stories touched the hearts of everyone. Drs. Abhay Bang, Shriram Lagoo, Anil Awachat and Prof. G.P. Pradhan challenged the audience to help in the development of the deprived.


Workshop topics were of great interest to all attendees. The audience thoroughly enjoyed all entertainment items. Twenty-seven NGOs had set up exhibition booths to introduce their work to the visiting NRIs. The souvenir, Vishwasetu 2002, was distributed to all delegates and to members of few Marathi Mandals in North America. The readers appreciated the souvenir for its quality and the contents.

MSSO Success Stories on Videos

Success stories associated with MSSO projects are available for viewing to any interested persons on the following videos,
(1) Three Faces of Tomorrow,
(2) Gautam's Mother
(3) Dai: A Tribal Midwife
(4) Doctor, Bal Bolat Nahi (in Marathi)
(5) …of the People, … by the People and
(6) Divine Messengers - Prakash & Mandakini Amte

Persons donating $200 or more can request a complimentary copy of one video for every $200 donated. Others too can receive a copy by paying duplicating, handling and mailing expenses of $15 per video. Address and other details are given in the box below.


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