Shri Veerabhadra Chennamalla Swamiji of Nidumamidi Mutt has called upon the people to be wary of reactionary forces that are trying to disturb peace and amity in society in the name of religion. Peace and compassion form the bedrock of every religion. It was unfortunate that some extremist forces were trying to create rifts in society by misinterpreting religion, he said at the program held to mark the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of The Shimoga Multipurpose Social Service Society (SMSSS) on the premises of Sacred Heart Institutions on 09 March 2015. Christian Missionaries have rendered commendable services to the fields of education and healthcare. Along with creating awareness, the religious heads should bring the people from marginalized sections of society to the mainstream, he said. Oscar Fernandes, Member of Rajya Sabha, who inaugurated the program lauded the work of SMSSS and urged them to extend its services to a larger sections of people. Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bengaluru who presided over the function emphatically conveyed that Christians do the service only with the love of God and humanity and without any ulterior motives.
‘Chaitanyashri’ award which is instituted by SMSSS to be awarded every year to those who make remarkable contributions to promote social justice, communal harmony and social service was awarded this year to Shri Veerabhadra Chennamalla Swamiji. This state level award comprises of a citation, trophy, shawl, garland and cash. Mr. Kimmane Ratnakar, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education inaugurated the ‘Vidyadeepa’ Program and honoured Mr Edmund Frank, the first donor of this project. Meritorious children from very poor families will be sponsored for their education under this program. Mr K B Prasanna Kumar, the MLA of Shimoga handed over the Silver Jubilee Houses to the beneficiaries. SMSSS constructed 100 houses for the shelterless on the occasion of its Silver Jubilee. Fr Paul Moonjely, the Assistant Executive Director of Caritas India, inaugurated the stalls put up by the women. The representatives of the donor agencies, Fr. Paul Moonjely of Caritas India, Fr. Peter Brank of KROSS, Mr. E Monis of Andheri Hilfe, Mr. Felix D’Souza of FVTRS were felicitated on the occasion. 10 staff of SMSSS who have put in more than 15 years of service in the Organization were also felicitated.
Sharada Pooryanaika, Shimoga Rural MLA, Kalagodu Ratnakar, Shimoga Zilla Panchyath President, Mangala Annappa, Mayor, Manjunath Bhandari, AICCC member, Thomas D’souza, President of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, Most Rev Francis Serrao SJ, the Bishop of Shimoga, Monsignor Felix J Noronha, the Vicar General, Fr Veeresh V Moras, the Executive Director of SMSSS were present. More than 15,000 delegates from SHGs, farmer clubs, various stake holders, elected members of various local self governance bodies etc were participated.
Prior to the Concluding function on 09 March 2015, SMSSS celebrated its silver jubilee at three levels throughout the jubilee year:
1. Constructed 100 Silver Jubilee houses for the shelter less
2. Established Stribandhu Multipurpose Souharda Cooperative of SHG women in which 6,500 women have taken membership till date.
3. Established organization level federation of all SHGs
4. Launched ‘Vidaydeepa’ – Local Child Sponsorship Project
5. Instituted state level ‘Chaitanyashri’ award who excel in the field of Social Justice, Communal Harmony, and Social Service
1. Inauguration of Jubilee year and housing Program was held on 28 December, 2013
2. Alumni Gathering – ( Successful beneficiaries of ‘Unnati-Scholarship for higher education’ and Child Sponsorship Program) on 18 January, 2015
3. Gathering of all the beneficiaries of Family Sponsorship program on 19 January 2015
4. Conducted block and district level essay competitions for school/college/university students, on January 17 and February 26, 2015 respectively.
5. Conducted two state level workshops on ‘Social Analysis and Spirituality for Social Action’
6. Conducted dialogue with the journalists on ‘ Role of journalists in resolving local social issues’
7. Celebrated the Jubilee at various zones through the following
a. 6 blood check–up and donation camps
b. 12 health camps
c. 15 eye check up and operation camps
d. 8 awareness programs on various topics like women’s rights, government schemes etc
e. 1 sports day
f. 3 HIV/AIDS awareness programs
g. 3 dental check up camps
h. 2 awareness camps on benefits to senior citizens and registration
8. Thanksgiving Mass on February 16, 2015
9. Concluding function of Silver Jubilee on 09 March 2015
1. Impact Assessment of SMSSS intervention
2. Documentary on SMSSS
A brief note on SMSSS
The Shimoga Multipurpose Social Service Society, commonly known as SMSSS, was founded in 1989 as a social service organ of the Diocese of Shimoga that comprises three districts of Karnataka State, namely Shimoga, Davangere and Chitradurga with the vision of establishing a community with justice, peace and love. SMSSS is a secular, voluntary, non-profitable organization registered under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act. For the past 25 years, SMSSS has been able to reach out to the small and marginalized farmers, people affected from HIV/AIDs, marginalized women, children and their parents, the unemployed youth and the unorganized laborers in the 627 villages from the 187 Grama Panchayats of these three districts irrespective of caste and creed. The SMSSS has been committed to bring about positive change in the most marginalized sections of society by working in the following six program sectors
• The women empowerment program of SMSSS has reached out to 627 villages of three civil districts
• More than 2000 Self Help Groups have been promoted with around 30,00 members. At present 1206 Self Help Groups with 17,740 members are under the direct supervision of SMSSS. They have a saving amount of Rupees 10,43,33,049
• 52 block federations have been promoted which are known as Streebandhu federations.
• An all women co-operative exclusively for SHG women – ‘Sthree Bandhu Multipurpose Souharda Co-operative Bank’ has been established, with over 6500 shareholders, having collected the share amount of Rs 1,50,00,000 within a year of its establishment
• 4300 women are engaged in various micro-entrepreneurial programs
• Over 6500 women are engaged in different income generating activities
• Over 5000 women have participated in adult education and learned to read and write
• 1646 most needy families have been supported for self sustainability through ‘Family Development Sponsorship Program’ both with capacity building and regular financial support continuously for six years
• The confidence level of women has gone up so that they exhibit leadership qualities and are able to tap government resources without much difficulty
• The engagement of women in the decision making process in the families have been considerably increased
• The children especially the girls are being promoted for higher education
Education and Development
• 2863 poor children have been supported for their education and integral development through Child Sponsorship Program over the past 17 years out of which 1551 children who have successfully completed their education are well placed in society all over the world. The rest, 1312 are pursuing their education at various levels.
• SMSSS is running 18 primary and high schools and one Pre – University College in which the children of the most marginalized sections of society study.
• 407 students have been supported for higher education through Unnati-Scholarship for Higher Education.
• 1180 school dropout students have successfully completed their SSSLC through our Karnataka Open School and National Institute for Open School.
• Over 3000 unemployed youth have undergone vocational training such as tailoring, plumbing, masonry, beautician, electrician, nursery rearing etc and brightened their future through our vocational training programs
• 878 poor and needy children have been helped to pursue their education in various boardings.
• 478 parents’ meetings and training programs have been conducted and awareness on savings, income generating activities, importance of education, health care etc have been given.
• Over 600 camps have been conducted for the sponsored children on various topics of importance for as the result of which the children have been enabled for integral development
Natural Resource Management
• 120 farmers’ self help groups have been promoted through which 1200 small and marginalized farmers have been organized
• 5 farmer’s federations are promoted
• 186 farmers are producing Vermin compost fertilizers through help from SMSSS and are practicing Organic farming.
• 180 farmers produce Jeevamrutha fertilizers from the support of SMSSS and have reduced their agricultural expenses.
• 100 farmers have been helped to build bio-gas unit
• 400 families have been helped to establish Sarala – cooking
• Farmers have started local seed bank
• Over 350 women were able to cultivate their own vegetable gardens and grow different kinds of vegetables.
• 142 farmers have adopted complete organic farming
• Over 800 farmers have been successfully tapping various government schemes through lobbying and networking
• As a result of extensive trainings on Right to Information Act, more than 2000 RTI applications have been submitted and have resolved various issues and availed various schemes and facilities like widow pension, old age pension, revolving fund to the SHGs, toilet and housing schemes, drinking water facility, road and bus services etc
• The irregularities in around 120 PDS shops have been sorted out by the efforts of SHG women
• 16 Grama Panchayaths have been in the process of transforming into model ones
• 14 civic for a – ‘Nammoora Nagarika Samithi’ are very active and take initiatives for the development of the communities at the panchayath level
• Awareness on the importance of participating in the ward sabha, grama sabha, and social audit has been created among all the women in the SHGs, around 15,000 of them. As a result, there is a steady improvement in the participation of people in the local with due preparation.
• Around 1200 women have been trained and encouraged to contest local self governance, out of which 450 SHG women have won at various local self governance bodies such as grama panchayth, taluk panchyath, zilla panchayath and city municipal bodies. At present we have 118 elected women
• 1300 women have become the members of various local governance committees such as Vigilance committee, SDMC etc.
• Awareness on MGNREGA has been imparted to more than 12300 households and as a result at least 40% of them are able to get the work.
• 262 SHG children of our SHG women have availed admission to the schools through RTE
• 286 SHG women have availed anganawadi facilities as a right
• SMSSS has a full pledged training centre with all the basic facilities namely Chaitanya which houses all the training programs
• Around 180 in house training programs are being conducted at the centre every year for the Grass root federations, NGOs, Government department officials, people in the development sector etc
• A very good resource team on various developmental topics such as SHG and federation concept, Women’s rights, cooperative concept, Natural Resource Management, Human Rights Based Approach to development, Results Based Management, Leadership, Entrepreneurial Awareness and Development Program, Social Analysis, Communication, RTI, PRI, PRA, etc
• On an average around 380 trainings per year are being conducted to SHG women and grass root federations on various topics like RTI, women’s rights, importance of participation in grama sabha and ward sabha etc
• A month long ‘Diploma in Community Development’ course is being organized every year
• State level seminars and workshops are being conducted time to time on various topics
• Every year hundreds of MSW and BSW students are gaining experience on social development having exposure to SMSSS, field and block placement
• Various NGOs both from the state and outside learn from having exposure to the programs of SMSSS
Health and Development
• SMSSS is the first organization to address the issue and work for the HI V cause in the district of Shimoga
• 492 PLHIVs have been identified by SMSSS in and around Shimoga and are being counseled and given referral services.
• Promoted a Shimoga Network Positive People (SNP+) this is known as ‘Abhaya Network of Positive People’ now and has more than 3600 registered members.
• Support group meeting for the positives is being conducted every month in the centre where in the positives are given nutrition, counseling and referral services.
• 172 children living with HIV have been indentified and are supported with nutrition, referral services and helped for their education.
• 329 TB patients have identified and given adequate treatment
• 368 pregnant HIV positives have been identified and treated and their children were given precautionary treatments
• 742 TB patients in the districts were recommended to go for treatments to TB Centers. Out of this 239 were fully healed and were relieved from the hospital.
• 241 HIV positives were recommended to find support from different NGOs.
• Various health camps like free health check up, blood pressure and diabetes check up, dental check up, eye check up camps are being organized in collaboration with various organizations and hospitals.
• Health awareness camps are being conducted regularly in the target area
• Over 750 houses have been constructed for the shelter less
• 1800 toilets have been constructed for the poor
• Two community halls have been built for the integral development of the communities
• Two boardings have been established with full pledged facilities for the benefit of poor meritorious students
• Two villages have been developed with integral watershed programs
SMSSS greatly and profoundly puts on record the immense support by various donors, the President, past and present board members, social workers, volunteers and the committed staff in its joyful service to the poorest of the poor of the Diocese. SMSSS renews its commitment towards fulfilling its goal of empowering the most marginalized sections of the society.