Background:CBOO firmly believes that trade unions, being social organisations, should have a social concern. This belief has come out of the diverse economic and social background of its membership spread all over India. For quite sometime social service activities were being undertaken by CBOO on an ad hoc basis. In 1998, the year it completed the Silver Jubilee, in the General Body Meeting held at Mangalore, it was decided to set up a formal social and cultural action wing. Named SWASTI, it was symbolically launched in January, 1999 under the hands of the then Chairman and Managing Director of the Bank, Shri R.S. Hugar.The name SWASTI -suggested by Sri Jayanti Prasad Nautiyal, since retired - was one out of the suggestions from members.)
Objectives:The primary objective of Swasti is to espouse causes of the economically and socially backward and underprivileged sections of the society. While supporting them emphasis will be on the means to mitigate the hardships and develop an environment to create better awareness of their own capabilities.
Education and health, environmental awareness and advocacy are the other objectives which subserve the primary goal.
Through cultural activities efforts will be made to promote integration and harmony in our midst.
Means adopted:The objectives of Swasti are sought to be achieved through support programmes. For example if a primary school needs support it is extended through assets that can enhance the teaching effectiveness; or that can create an environment conducive for better learning. The assets and infrastructure provided by Swasti not only mitigate the difficulties of the beneficiary but their visibility and durability inspire others to extend similar support and motivate the beneficiaries to work for sustained personal development.
Swasti generally identifies groups as the potential beneficiaries, instead of individuals.
How are projects identified ?Activists in different places interact with the members of the public and select groups that may need support. Careful evaluation is made about the credentials of the organisation that runs the activity and genuineness of the difficulties experienced. The kind of support needed is assessed and the budgetary implications are examined. Proposals so identified are then sent to the headquarters for scrutiny and approval by a team of functionaries. After the approval is conveyed the local activists undertake the project within a time frame.
Funding:The projects are funded from the subscription of the members to CBOO. From the monthly subscription paid by every member a small amount of Rs.5 (five) is transferred to Swasti. That brings in about Rs.18000 every month.
We don't appeal for donations; substantial amounts are received as donations not only from members but other colleagues working in the bank. Many of them want to remain anonymous as well.
Overview of the activities conducted so far:The projects organised by Swasti could be grouped as follows:
* assistance to schools.
* assistance to orphanages, old age homes and homes for the mentally challenged.
* acting as nodal agency for identification for assistance from other sources.
* conducting competitions for children of neglected schools to motivate them.
* arranging lectures, symposia and workshop on issues of social and economic implications.
* arranging cultural programmes with themes relating to integration and harmony.
Organisational set up:Swasti's set up comprises of a Chairman, a Vice Chairman and a Secretary working in Mangalore guided by a team of senior office bearers of CBOO. The Secretary is nominated by the Executive Committee of CBOO generally after the Triennial Conference of the Organisation; he holds the office at the pleasure of the Executive Committee of which he is the ex-officio member. He submits periodical reports of the Swasti's activities to the EC. The President and the General Secretary of CBOO are ex- officio Chairman and Vice chairman of Swasti respectively.
At the regional level, the functionaries of CBOO act as the representatives of Swasti to carry out its objectives.
Separate accounts of Swasti are maintained and are audited by the Auditor of CBOO every year. A detailed report of Swasti is presented to the general body of members at their triennial conference.
Mr. Narendr Hegde is presently the Secretary of SWASTI
A few samples:Given below are selected projects to which Swasti had lent a helping hand. They gave a new meaning to CBOO as a trade union and to the members involved in them a sense of purpose. It is not the money that is spent or the assets that we supplied which gave us that feeling; it is the process of identification, the decision, the visit to the site and mingling and interaction with the target groups that enhanced our sense of having achieved something beyond the ordinary.
1. Nallyapadavu Hr. Primary School, in Mangalore:Before formal launching of Swasti, a team of activists short-listed about 20 government run schools in the city of Mangalore, visited them, studied their problems in relation to infrastructure and then selected the most deserving among them for assistance. The Higher Primary School run by the Jilla Parishat, Mangalore at Nallyapadavu in Shaktinagar was considered for support. It was unbelievable that within the rapidly growing city of Mangalore itself there are schools without benches for children, tables and chairs for the teachers and bell for ringing time. There was no facility to store drinking water in the corridor of the school; the children were compelled to drink water from an open tank which was being used by stray cattle as well. The majority of the children belonged to the most backward sections of the locality; their parents were generally daily wagers or beedi workers. Many parents sent the children to the school because attendance would entitle them to subsidised provisions through the state sponsored fair price shops.
During 1998-99 CBOO persuaded the Corporation Bank to supply some basic furniture to the school. CBOO itself gave substantial help in the form of benches for one class, school bell and steel drums to store drinking water. To provide greenery to the surrounding over dozen saplings were planted in front of the school building.
2. Shraddananda Sevashram, MangaloreIt is an orphanage set up by a noble social worker, Swami Sadananda Saraswati at Arya Samaj Road, Balmatta, Mangalore. After the death of the Swamiji the Ashram came to face difficulties in managing it. There were over 50 children looked after by the Ashram. It had an English Medium School in Nanthoor, Mangalore catering to the lower sections of the society. Some of our activists were associated with the ashram.
Swasti associated itself with the management team of the ashram, mobilised financial and other support from different quarters, and brought in a new executive committee. One of its office bearers became the Correspondent of the School and provided managerial expertise to run it. Corporation Bank was persuaded to give furniture; Swasti itself gave teaching aids and racks.
Two of the office bearers of CBOO are on the Executive Committee of the ashram. Through Swasti's intervention the vacant premises of the School was rented out to a charitable trust devoted to various social causes and spreading education. The said decision now brings uninterrupted revenue to the ashram in the form of rent. CBOO regularly celebrates the festival of lights with the children in the ashram. Eminent persons are now on the management team involving themselves in promoting the well-being of the inmates. [Distribution of umbrella to students of the school.]
[President T R Bhat handing over the donation to the school at Hayyangar.]
3. Help to the needy : Donation of furniture and utensils to Anaadha Vikalangula Nirmala Nilayam, ChiralaThe Anaadha Vikalangula Nirmala Nilayam in Chirala, Andhra Pradesh is an organisation taking care of aged and destitute people. Presently there are 40 inmates in the Ashram. The Nilayam needed certain basic furniture and utensils. In February 2004 a team of Swasti activists and functionaries visited the place and handed over steel almirah, chairs and office table and utensils.
4. The schools that are in a different world:Hayyangar is a small village in a remote place about ten kilometres from Kollur in Udupi district, Karnataka. To reach there, our team had to walk through a hilly terrain and a river which has no bridge. It was about four kilometres from the road where we left our Tata Sumo. As it was summer the river was shallow and we could wade through the river bed. Plenty of trees and the cashew plants which had rich crop of cashew nuts provided us shade from the scorching summer sun.
President Mr.T R Bhat handing over the donation to the school at Hayyangar
Our destination was the primary school set up by the Jilla Panchayat at the village. While the government had set up a school there were no basic amenities either for the children or for the teacher. There was only one teacher. It was his first assignment. Hailing from a distant place he was advised by his mother not to take up the job as it was an unknown village. He took it as a challenge and established links with many organisations.
There was a festive look at the school when we reached there. The villagers had assembled in the court yard. A social organisation had also sent its office bearers with note books for the school children.
We handed over benches, book racks, globe, play things and stationery. The head master of a school near Kollur had also come to participate in the function. This was in December 2000.
The Swasti team revisited the school in 2003. A lot of positive changes were seen after the initiative taken by us. There was a playground for the children, a water pipe provided drinking water from a nearby stream, and there were more children. The villagers were overwhelmed by the visit of Swasti.
5.Moolagiripalle, Ananthapur District:Moolagiripalle is a small hamlet, about 20 kms from Uruvakonda town which is itself nearly 50 kms from the district headquarters in Ananthapur. It has about 78 families with population touching 380. Most of them belong to scheduled castes or tribes. Majority of them are labourers earning a measly 35- 40 rupees a day. To reach the hamlet you have to walk about three kms.from the tarred Ananthapur- Uruvakonda road. If you have a vehicle you can motor down through the sandy deserted mud road. You will see plenty of rocks of odd shape and size and cactus and wild thorny bushes around.
Mandal Praja Parishad runs a primary school in Moolagiripalle. The school does not have basic amenities. Swasti team had identified it as a target for assistance. In May 2004 we provided tables, chairs, filing cabinet, black boards, water storage drums of steel and plates and tumblers for the children. The function to hand over these assets was a festive occasion for the villagers who came to the school premises. And for Swasti team it was a touching moment.
6. Doddabeekanahalli, Hassan District:The government higher primary school in Doddabeekanahalli about 15kms from Hassan is more than 70 years old. Yet the children did not have benches to sit. There were no tables for the teachers. It is a totally neglected place of learning run by the government. Swasti team identified the school and supplied wooden benches and tables to the school in October, 2004. The block education officer expressed happiness that a bank officers' union from a different place had identified the need and extended the help. He lauded the efforts of CBOO.
[Donation of benches and tables to the school at Hassan by General Secretary, D N Prakash.]
7. Other Projects:a. Government Higher Primary School, Kodaria, Madhya Pradesh
b. AADHAR – Mentally retarded Asylum, Badlapur, Kalyan, Maharashtra
c. Navajyothi School for Visually Impaired, Raibareily, U.P.
d. M.D. Primary School. Kunnathur, Tamilnadu
e. Karunya Sindhu Karunasiri Seva Samithi, Krishnanagar, Saidabad, Hyderabad, A.P.
f. Theruvoram, Kadavanthara Post, Kochi, Kerala
g. Z.P.School, Gondoshi, Akole Taluk, Ahmednagar Dist. Maharashtra
h. Kasturba Gandhi Girls’ Residential School, Bokaro
i. Nandasar Primary School, Sundan Village, Badodara Dist. Gujarat
j. Lala Ramanuj Dayal Vaishta Baal Sadan, Shivaji Road, Meerut, U.P.
k. Kalinga Telugu U.P. School, Cuttack, Orissa
l. Government Senior Secondary School, Gheer, Dist. Karnal, Haryana
m. Sri Paramahans Sant Ashram, Khanna, Punjab
n. Government senior Secondary Girls’ School, nagar Nigam road, Sanganer, Jaipur, Rajasthan
o. Sneeteeram, Vilakudy, Kollam, Kerala
Programmes in different places:
SWASTI's social actions are held in different places across the states. In January – February, 2015, SWASTI created a record by assisting a minimum of one project each in all its 35 Zonal units as a part of its 43rd Foundation Day.
Among a number of cultural programmes undertaken by Swasti the notable are the following:
* Yakshagana puppet show enacted by Uppinkudru Kogga Kamath and team.
* Yakshagana by Saligrama Makkala Mela.
* A new kind of drama by Neenasam of Heggodu in Sagar.
* lectures by M. S. Sathyu and B. V. Karanth noted stage and film personalities.
* A flute and sitar jugal bandi by Pravin Godkhindi and Rafique Khan.
* Exhibitions of art works of K. P. Shenoy, a reputed artist.
[SWASTI Secretary - Sukumar S Salian speaking at Missionaries of Charity at Panjim, Goa. ]
Programme of Donations to Missionaries of Charity, Panaji Goa
CBOO - Goa Unit organized a programme under Swasti in December 2002 for donating 12 Iron Cots to Missionaries of Charity at Panjim. A Cultural programme was arranged for the inmates comprising destitute infants, children, mentally retarded girls and ailing aged women. The Goa unit distributed sweets, biscuits, fruits and also hosted a day's lunch for the inmates.
Spending time with and helping the destitute and the abandoned
At different places SWASTI's team has conducted programmes to bring happiness among the inmates of homes for the destitute and abandoned children, the elderly and the afflicted.
In December 2002, a cultural programme was organized at the Missionaries of Charities in Panjim. In December 2003, candle making machine and a packing machine were supplied to Spandana, a school for the rehabilitation of mentally challenged at Udupi. Appreciating the help Mr.Ravindra Nayak, Chairman, Hanuman Transport Company Limited, Udupi said : "Swasti has noble ideals; your support even if it is small to a deserving organization reflects your concern for the society."
In December 2003, Swasti distributed shawls to the inmates of Balika Kendra, Madikeri.
In February 2005, Swasti donated cots and beds to the Care Home run by Holy Cross in Tivim, a remote village in North Goa. The Care Home takes care of orphaned kids afflicted with HIV.
In April 2005, a team of activists and office bearers visited places in Nagapattinam to provide relief materials to Tsunami victims. Note books, writing materials, compass boxes and biscuits were distributed to schoolchildren, sarees and dhotis were distributed to the teachers of the school. Food grains, pulses, tea powder, sugar etc were distributed to the residents of another village near Nagapattinam.