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Projects Completed

MSSO completed four projects during the year. Duration of these projects varied from less than a year to three years.
Schizophrenia-Awareness and Reintegration
This major project, undertaken by MSSO with participation of Schizophrenia Awareness Association (SAA) and K.S. Wani Memorial Trust, was completed in July of this year. Because of bureaucratic hurdles the project extended six months beyond the original deadline of three years. A daycare Centre, the last component of the project, was formally inaugurated on 2nd July 2006 at the hands of the well known film actor Niloo Phule. This is a major accomplishment in the rehabilitation program of SAA.

Book Release Ceremony
Yeshwant Oak, Jagannath Wani, Nilu Phule & Jayashri Firodiya


The latest book, Schizophrenia – A New Perspective, in the publications series of the project was also released on the same day by Dr. Jayashri Firodiya. The book will fulfill the need of non-Marathi audiences wanting to know about the illness and its treatment. Mr. Kishor Pate from Amit Enterprise was the guest of honor for the function. He provided timely assistance in the construction of the daycare centre.


The Front Cover of Schizophrenia – A New Perspective




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As reported in the previous newsletter, a new self-help group for non-Marathi speaking caregivers was launched on 4th August 2005 in camp area of Pune city under the leadership of Mrs. Veena Tandon, herself a caregiver. This year in September, the group also started sports and exercise activity for members of the self-help group. Similar activity started by the main self-help group within Pune has produced some outstanding results.

The Daycare Centre for Schizophrenia Patients

As part of encouragement to production of Marathi movies, the state government of Maharashtra gives special awards for the Marathi movies receiving national awards from the President of India. The movie Devrai produced as part of the project received a silver medal from the President of India. As a result of this award, SAA received a cash award of Rs.2,000,000 from the State Government of Maharashtra. The award money will be put into an endowment fund and the interest earned will be used to defray the expenses associated with the running of the daycare centre.
Gaythri Ramprasad from ASHA International, based in Portland, Oregon, in U.S.A., has launched a world “Rally for Recovery”. SAA was the first organization to host this rally over a period of three days at the end of August. It was a grand success. In 2007, the Institute for Psychological Health is organizing the rally in six other cities in Maharashtra.

Rehabilitation of Rural Physically Challenged
The Dining Facility – Helpers of the Handicapped

This midsize project to provide vocational training in agriculture and food and fruit processing to physically challenged rural persons in Konkan region of Maharashtra was completed on 30th September 2006. As a result of the project the partner has started several production units. Two main units are dairy and cashew processing. It is interesting to know that the demand for processed cashews has far exceeded the production during the last year. This helps in making the project self sustaining.


A video to describing the work of the Helpers of the Handicapped, our partner NGO, was released in Pune at the hands of well known film actor Dr. Lagoo and in Mumbai at the hands of social activist Medha Patkar. The original Marathi version is dubbed into Hindi and English. More than 500 copies of the video have been distributed. The video production was one of the components of the project. The project was jointly sponsored by MSSO and the Vedanta Society of Calgary.


Packaging of Cashews for Sale

Mobile Ophthalmic Care

This was a small project to assist K.S. Wani Memorial Trust in acquiring an appropriately equipped mobile van to provide on-site ophthalmic care to the rural population of Dhule and Nandurbar districts. The project was completed before the scheduled deadline. The mobile ophthalmic clinic visits rural areas providing free ophthalmic care to rural persons subsisting on income below poverty line. Many of these needy persons cannot even afford to pay for transportation costs. The project was jointly sponsored by MSSO and the Vedanta Society of Calgary.

Health & Hygiene Using Yoga & Naturopathy

The Athparia family was touched and moved by the selfless service provided by Shivanand Math and Yogashram Sangh, in Guwahati, Assam: Colleen Athparia and her son and daughter performed for a charity concert in aid of Shivanand Ashram to provide facilities for teaching yoga and treating patients using yoga and naturopathy. In appreciation of the generosity of the Athparia family, MSSO provided a one-to-one match for the funds raised at the charity concert. Paresh Apthparia took personal responsibility to coordinate the construction activity.




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Two New Major Projects


Vision Restoration for Rural Tribe ($300,000): K.S. Wani Memorial Trust, in cooperation with the Sundeep Foundation, has set up an ophthalmic hospital, Sharda Netralay in Dhule to provide free ophthalmic care to rural persons subsisting on income below the poverty line. In the previous year they provided 1003 free, 304 partially subsidized and 121 fully paid ophthalmic surgeries. The hospital has an appropriately equipped mobile van to provide on-site ophthalmic care to rural people who cannot even afford to pay for transportation costs.

Certain very specialized treatment facilities are not available within a radius of 250 kms from the project location. The ophthalmic patients needing such specialized treatment have to travel to big cities like Mumbai or Pune, if they can afford. Many of them have no choice, due to poor financial conditions, but to keep suffering from the particular condition. The project will provide financial assistance to acquire the needed specialized equipment and to provide for an addition of one functional team made up of surgeon, optometrist, nursing assistant, attendant and ward helpers.
India is home to the largest number of blind children in the world – some 270,000 of the 1.4 million boys and girls worldwide. Though half of all childhood blindness is either treatable or avoidable, the problem is quite often left untreated due to ignorance. The partners provide free ophthalmic checkups for school children to be followed by interviews with parents of the children diagnosed to be affected by ophthalmic problems. This particular program is progressing very slowly due to sheer number of schools and the huge number of children in these schools. With addition of extra staff, the partners will double the check-up rate of the school children.
Using the new specialized equipment and additional staff, the partners will increase the number of free surgeries from 1003 to at least 2000. The fees received from full paying patients will help in subsidizing free surgeries for the needy poor.
Additional information about the ophthalmic hospital is available on the website: <>
Education of Hemalkasa Tribals ($434,110)

With financial assistance from MSSO, female students have been provided proper residence facilities in 2003. However, the male students do not have similar facilities. Some are housed in staff quarters, some in a warehouse and some in a building designed for tuberculosis patients. This is far from being safe and secure accommodation. This makeshift arrangement leads to inconvenience to the staff and shortage of space for other purposes. Moreover, the supervision of these students has become a serious problem; students run away at night to see movies in a nearby town. This raises safety questions. To remedy the situation, the facility will contain a recreation room which will be open for restricted hours under staff supervision. It will also contain a library, providing reading and study area. The new hostel facility will thus provide a suitable environment for male students to focus on their studies.


New MSSO Projects

New Junior College Building

The project involves construction of a residence complex for 250 tribal male students attending the school run by our NGO partner. The total area of 25,000 square feet of floor space will include living quarters, kitchen, dining area, storage rooms, a flat for the warden and an administrative office. The construction will include a bigger dining hall to handle the overcrowding, which leads to loss of instructional time.

The local NGO partner has earned the trust and confidence of the local tribals through previous activities involving medical help; guidance in farming; disputes settlement at the family level as well as at the community level and assistance in finding answers to problems of harassment by unscrupulous elements in the society and by government bureaucrats. Additional information on the activities of our partner is available on the website <>.


New Small Projects

MSSO has initiated five small projects during the current year. The first two of the following five projects have been cosponsored by Maanaw Seva Association.

Institute for Psychological Health (IPH) ($11,000)
The Indian population of over one billion is catered to by a meager number of 3300 psychiatrists. The delivery of primary mental health care is becoming critical for the underprivileged. At the same time, the stigma regarding mental health is still pervasive. IPH provides mental health care to the under-privileged at a completely subsidized pay-structure. It also runs an awareness program and organizes self-help support groups of mentally ill people and their families. This project is a comprehensive and sustained effort to take primary mental health care to the underprivileged in urban slums, rural hamlets and tribal locations.
Bhagini Nivedita Gramin Vigyan Niketan ($24,000):

The village of Bahadarpur and the surrounding areas are drought prone. Women can do only labor jobs in agriculture. If there are no rains, there is no work. To avoid this recurrent calamity, the project envisages providing Business Opportunities for Rural Women step by step by imparting




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vocational skills along with literacy, helping them in production of marketable goods and assisting them with marketing opportunities to sale their products. A selfless social worker has established relations not only with the local authorities but also has motivated national and international visitors to come to see the development work in her area.

Reu Wani Vidnyan Vihar ($24,000):

The government gives permission to open schools on a non-grant basis. Without grants, school management does not have sufficient resources. Such schools attract only poor students who cannot afford to go to private schools where fees are very high. The necessary scientific laboratories in these schools are non-existent. This NGO partner runs a science exploratory to assist the less privileged students from such schools. The project will provide assistance to expand their facilities and to purchase basic science equipment so that the less privileged students will get an opportunity to perform hands-on all scientific experiments related to their studies.

Kamalabai Kanya Shala ($13,000):

The school was established more than 80 years ago in Dhule, Maharashtra, India, for less than 200 girls. It has expanded from few hundred to few thousand students. In the process, facilities designed for few hundred did not expand at the same speed. In particular, inadequate toilet facilities are a source of poor hygiene. The project will provide assistance to expand the toilet block facility, originally designed for 200 students, to accommodate the needs of more than 5000 students. This will improve hygiene for the female students.


Nari Samata Manch ($13,000):

This NGO partner helps the nomadic tribal ‘Katkari’ community. Most of them survive by distilling and selling illicit liquor and hence are branded as criminals and arrested when the police do not find the real criminals. There are government schemes to financially assist nomadic tribes. The main barrier to benefit from these schemes is to obtain a caste certificate from a government agency. This is difficult because of harassment from corrupt government servants. Our partner has successfully intervened to stop harassment and to procure the certificates for many Katkari people. The partner would like to expand and help several hundred Katkari people. The project will also provide them education and vocational skills.

MSSO Project in Progress

Vocational Training of Women-Interior Decoration:
The project was initiated in 2005 and will be completed in August 2007. Women's Education Society in Dhule is the NGO partner for this project. It is a two year diploma course. The project is jointly sponsored with the Vedanta Society of Calgary.


Development of Abandoned Children:
Initiated in 2005, the project will be completed in August 2007. The Society of Friends of Sasoon Hospital (SOFOSH) is the project partner based in Pune. This MSSO project, jointly sponsored with Maanaw Seva Association, will provide renewable energy devices such as a solar water heating system, biogas plant, tube-well and inverters for the newly constructed residence facility for orphaned children. Many of these orphans have double disabilities, mental and physical, and are not lucky enough to find adoptive families.

Devrai DVD with English subtitles
is available from MSSO. The cost is as follows:
within U.S. $15 (U.S.) including courier charges,
within Canada $15 (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 for
(1) Past issues of MSSO NEWS and
(2) List of available videos, VCDs & DVDs

The Dairy Section - the Helpers of the Handicapped


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



Canadian International Development Agency
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Polyphase Engineered Controls Ltd.
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