17th October was marked as the International Day of Eradication of Poverty (IDEP) by the United Nations with the theme for this year 2015 to build a sustainable future, to come together and to end poverty and discrimination. With the same motive, our organization PSC Peace Service Center represented itself in walking towards the same inspiration from Nepal.
Although IDEP has been observed every year since 1993, this was the first time our organization took the lead in it. We thought this would be a correct year to introduce trainings, workshops, or any other life skill trainings, as this year has been very unfortunate for Nepal and every Nepali citizen. Nepalese people were just trying to overcome the trauma of being hit by the massive earthquake and were trying to celebrate the festivity month, when India called for the blockade of borders. In a landlocked country and a developing country like ours, Nepalese people were hoping for the relief materials to arrive, but all they got is a fuel crisis as we depend on things like salt and motor vehicles from any developed country.
We had just made a successful constitution, and had set a target to develop our millennium goals in 20 years from now, but it seems 200 instead of 20 now. Therefore, our Peace Service Center is very thankful to IDEP and GNRC team for making this possible when it’s most needed.
Poverty doesn’t just mean hunger; it brings large consequences also. Some say, "To combat poverty, address the cause." It makes sense, but since the “cause” of poverty and the “cause” of hunger aren’t simple, we don’t think the solution is, either.
There are countless contributors to the problems of poverty and hunger—greed, theft, failure to plan, lack of education, laziness, natural disasters, disability, injustice, slavery, war, and oppression, just to name a few. And each one is complicated, presenting unique challenges that cannot be remedied through legislation or social programs or by celebrating one day of eradicating poverty. That’s what our organization PSC is determined and working for. We have tried to make our organization holistic so that the problem can also be addressed holistically.
We have elderly women’s classes that run every day, with a belief that when a woman is literate she is able to teach the entire family. We work not just upon their basic education, but we have tried to make a difference in their lives by giving them life skill trainings as well. We teach them what they want to learn, so that they can be independent, confident and can contribute to their families, society and to the nation by any means possible. We also run children’s classes every day with a motto: children are the future of the nation. YSP Youth Society for Peace encourages youth to be active leaders and to actively involve themselves physically, economically and socially.
GSP Girls Scholarship Program aims to reduce early childhood marriage, which still prevails in our country. We give scholarship to those needy girls so that they can complete their higher studies and be independent other than seeking marriage as their primary option.
On the marked day October 17th, we did various programs to address the root causes of poverty.
Activity 1: Parenting Class
Trainer: Shanta Sharma
Date: 18th, October 2015
We organized a session for the mothers, as we believe mothers are divine and the purest and selfless souls on earth. We have seen mothers who are desperate to help sometimes even without a strong sense of hope. They reach out to help. Parenting class was given to women, especially the mothers, so that they know what are the root causes of poverty and what they can do from their side. The training was based on the physical aid they need and an emotional and spiritual healing that transforms their lives, so they can transform others as well. Those same mothers now reach out to help others in their community and pass along spiritual support, advice, and friendship in the face of hardship. And we believe that’s a good start--looking at a comprehensive approach to fighting hunger, improving health, and creating opportunities for people to climb out of poverty. It might not be the most popular or common aspect of community-building efforts, but it works. At least it’s a good conversation to start.
Activity 2: Library Setup
Date: 18th October, 2015
A library is a store of knowledge and wisdom. A library plays a very important role in promoting the progress of knowledge. There are many people who love reading. But they can’t afford to buy books because the prices of books are very high. So when one becomes a member of a library, they can borrow valuable books. Libraries are particularly useful for poor and needy people. Even those who are better off can’t afford to buy all the books they require for their studies. For instance, invaluable books like encyclopedias and large dictionaries cannot be purchased. Therefore, with the belief that they might be very useful, and education is one powerful way to eradicate poverty, our organization had a library set up in the Shanti Sewa Ashram, so that it can be beneficial to all.
Activity 3: Training for Children
Trainer: Kriti Giri
Date: 19th October, 2015
As a matter of fact, the children are the future of the nation. We know what a sharp and intelligent plan it is to plant a seed in a child's brain, as they are not just young in body but in heart and mind as well. They have good listening skills, good memory and they are energetic and equipped as well. Therefore we had a training session for children of Hindu Vidhyapeeth School of Thali. The training was based on the importance of networking.
Activity 4: Teacher's Training
Trainer: Jaganath Kadel
Date: 20th October 2015
Teachers are the second role model besides the parents. Besides the family, it’s with the teachers whom children spend the most time with. Therefore we had a teachers’ training session, so that the teachers are not just stuck on the course books, but they can also make the most out of the leisure time they get with the children. The training was based upon how they can have communication with children about values, morals and progress. The training also carried a theme to encourage the children how to be social and what their role can be to eradicate poverty.
Activity 5: Workshop in the Slum
Trainer: Samrat Nath Yogi
Date: 21st October, 2015
Our organization chose Kalimati slum as it is the biggest slum we have the country. The workshop was based upon the ways to generate income. The focus was given to the recently married couples so that they can have a little knowledge about family planning as well: how they can smartly choose to have a smaller number of children and give them the best that they can. Also the workshop was based upon various ideas they can have to generate the income using the little resources they have around without spending much. Mostly the focus was upon the youths and the recently married women.
Activity 6: Poem Writing
Trainer: Neema B.C.
Date: 22nd October, 2015
We had a special session for children and youths to write poems on the topic: how to eradicate poverty. The session was held in Children Peace Home, in Dang, Nepal, by one of the sister organizations of PSC Peace Service Center.
Activity 7: Distribution of Jackets
Date: 23rd, October 2015
Another name for poverty would be hunger or not having basic needs. Therefore, keeping this thing in mind, our organization distributed 25 jackets, socks and stationery to the children of Gurukul, a traditional Gurukul school in Dhulikhel, Nepal.
Activity 8: Art Competition
Supervisor: Sushma Basnet
Date: 24th October 2015
We had an art competition to take out the negative energies that children have regarding the earthquake so that they can convert their negative energies to positive energy. A positive mind is all it takes to walk towards the path of targeted success.
Specialist: Dr. Chintamani Yogi
Guru Chintamani Yogi, GNRC Nepal coordinator, one of the famous spiritual leaders in the country and also the founder of our organization, is still giving lectures to different educational sectors like schools and colleges, and mentoring women’s classes and teachers. He also gives speeches to lobby and raise awareness for people about the ways they can eradicate poverty.
As we all know, eradicating poverty is a great and global challenge, and even in a developing country like ours it’s of the utmost importance. It is not something we can overcome overnight. Therefore, our organization tried our very best to manage the time and resources we have holistically. We chose youths, mothers, children, slum people and a library setup plan, as we thought these are the correct ways to kick-start the plan of eradicating poverty.