Vivek Vikas Prakalpa
Calicut – The Hidden Poor
Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Calicut located on the national highway on the outskirts of the city of Calicut, in Kerala. It was started as a subcenter of Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Trivandrum in 1999. In April 2010 it beacame a full-fledged branch center of Ramakrishna Sarada Mission. The center runs a hostel for young girls and working women and a nursery school.
In commemoration of Swami Vivekananda’s 150 th Birth Anniversary the center started a value education program under Vivek Vikas Prakalpa. The initial idea of the program was to teach Value Education to the women living in the hostel. As word spred about the classes, women outside of the hostel began to attend the classes and soon became the majority of attendees. As the classes continued and the monastic members interacted more and more with the attendees it became evident that the majority of the attendees were the “hidden poor” of the community.
Kerala as a wide social net to assist the poor in the state. Its extensive and free education system combined with generous educational assistance ensures that everyone receives an education. The poor receive free food, as well as large discounts on other items. However, as in every other social society, there is a group who then become the hidden poor. This group’s income is too high to qualify them for government assistance, but insufficent to meet their daily needs. This often occurs when the calculation on the income includes rural / agricultural property. Often these people have ancestral agricultural property from which they cannot generate an income or sell, but it’s value prevents them from qualifying for government aid.
These “hidden poor” needed assistance, but their pride prevented them from actively seeking it. Thus the center started distributing Nutritive Food Packets, clothes, bedsheets etc.. in their value education classes. This has show a great improvement in the overall health of the attendees.
Trivandrum – Shaping Young Minds
Ramakrishna Sarada Mission Trivandrum was established in 1973 to teach value education to young women. From its inception it has conducted a hostel for college girls. In commemoration of Swami Vivekananda’s 150th Birth Anniversary it has expanded its value education program under Vivek Vikas Prakalpa.
Value Education has been a primary focus of the center from its inception. Under Vivek Vikas Prakalpa these activities have been expanded. A monthly retreat is held for women of all ages. Retreat speakers are long time devotees who have been taking value education classes at the center for many years. In addition to the Devotee speakers, Matajis also give lessons to support the topic of the month. The center also conducts cultural programmes highlighting traditional Indian culture.
Interested hostel students receive training in traditional Keralite music, both vocal and instrumental.
All hostel students as well as interested students from outside the hostel participate in a daily value education club. This club meets each morning for yoga and chanting and in the evening for bhajans. Regular weekly bhajan classes are also conducted for interested women.