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Devipur Experiment–latest workshop on 23/1/2011-an Update

January 29, 2011

A.         Recap

At the request of the Viswasuk Sevashram Sangha of Ichhapur , West Bengal, we started an experiment in rural development at the Aila ravaged Sunderbans village of Devipur from May 2010.

In the course of the experiment the villagers have been encouraged and guided into planning and executing their own ventures, mainly based on their own internal material and human resources and little outside assistance.

In course of the experiment during the last eight months we have witnessed how they have formed their own self help group, begun a vermicomposte project, started a tailoring school for supplying stitched dress materials to nearby markets and have begun running a sales outlet at Icchhapur for selling packaged agro products.

For the newcomer to this blog, the following links will provide the earlier reports on the experiment:–-may’30-2010/—15th-august-2010-the-first-tangible-results/


1. DATE: 23rd January’2011

2. VENUE: Devipur Village, Sunderbans.

3. EVALUATORS ON FIELD: Sri Shankar Mondal and Smt Aradhana Bhattacharyya



Present status:

Running fine. Regularly manned by a student from Devipur who is pursuing his study at Kolkata , staying at Ichhapur Ashram premises and is running the outlet smoothly.


Position as of October 2010:

(a) During the October’2010 workshop (See previous report for details) The women of Devipur had observed that the working space for the tailoring school lacked proper infrastructure for proficient performance. They were in fact working on the Veranda of the Ashram with two rickety old sewing machine. During the October evaluation workshop it was decided  that the only brick built room of the Ashram available on the same premises would be allotted to the women for their tailoring school. The men of the village would  themselves redesign the structure of the building by opening big windows on its walls and arranging proper sitting arrangements etc for the women to work there. The Ashram had agreed to bear the cost provided the villagers worked themselves in order to reduce expenses.

(b) The women observed that as they are usually busy during the daytime with domestic chores and also working in the farmlands, it would be helpful if the school could have solar lamps so that  they could work at night.

(c)    Two guest participants in the workshop promised a sewing machine and other tailoring equipment.

Finding of the evaluation team on 23rd January 2011

(a) The visiting team found that the work has been successfully executed by the villagers. The Tailoring school has now been relocated in their new station in a brick built structure and is sporting a more professional look now. The following comparative photograph tells it all:

The changed look of the tailoring facility at Devipur

(b) After publication of the request in the blog a total of Rs. 12500 was donated by two individuals. The money was decided to  be used for two purposes: (a) installing Solar Lamp in the  tailoring school premises and (b) buying a new tailoring machine.

During the 23rd January’11 workshop it was found that Solar light has been installed in the tailoring school. The WEBREDA(West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Authority) had been approached through the Ashram Authorities for a subsidized supply of solar lamp which has resulted into receiving of a 75 watt Solar lamp system at a subsidized rate. It will be capable of powering four to eight CFL lamps.

The newly installed solar lamps

(c) The promised sewing machine and the tailoring equipment has been delivered  and installed. The Ashram is also providing one more machine which is ready for delivery at Dumdum, waiting to be picked up.

(d)   It was found during the inspection that the tailoring facility has started receiving orders for stitching dress materials. Initial orders are coming from a local semi urban area called Petkul. The men are on the job for bringing in more order. The women observed that with the Solar lamp installed they would now be able use the evening hours for more training and order supply work. Also the receipt of additional sewing machines would help in expanding the per capita training and working time.

(e)    Initially the remunerations of the stitching orders were paltry (Rs. 22 per dozen). Presently they have received another set of orders  at a rate of Rs 70 per dozen. The ladies are happy with that. They very candidly admitted that this is the time for establishment of their credentials  and once that is achieved the income should grow automatically. Initially they are getting orders for stitching simple children’s garments. A discussion was held with their instructor Smt Lakhsmi Sutar during which it was decided that she would now start  instructing the ladies in creating more intricate dress material that gets more remuneration.

Handing over the money for solar lamp and sewing machine

Handing over of the fund to Secretary of the Self help group by the visiting team

(f)     Finally, on satisfactory completion of inspection, an amount of Rs 11,200 was handed over to Smt Krishna Ray, Secreatary of the self help group as reimbursement for the expenses incurred for the solar lamp and money for buying of another sewing machine. The amount came from the donation from the two well wishers as informed earlier.


This project is currently running fine. IT may be recalled that the first vermicomposte production facility was inaugurated in October’2010 at the Ashram premises at Devipur by two local men who were given training for that as a part of the project from University of Kalyani.

During inspection it was observed that the worms have already been employed in the first Vermicomposte bed and they are making a healthy progress. First yield is going to be slightly delayed due to cold season. Here is a shot of the growing worms in the first vermicomposte bed.

The vermicomposte bed is alive with activity


Rural health improvement programme with stress on preventive medicine and public health engineering

In the next phase we are planning to create a medical facility at Devipur with a small homeopathic dispensary and a non-formal training facility for the local people for training them up in first aid, public health engineering and preventive medicine. ALL SUGGESTIONS AND QUALIFIED ASSISTANCE ARE WELCOME.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sukumar Bhattacharyya permalink
    January 30, 2011 10:04

    Really encouraging for those who deserve it but do not get.
    I am proud that I know most of the dedicated persons behind it.
    I am available for any support that I can extend.


  1. Devipur Experiment–latest workshop on 23/1/2011-an Update « So … | Ashrams in India
  2. Devipur Experiment–latest workshop on 23/1/2011-an Update « So … | Ashrams in India

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