As of today, Konkan Development Society serves in the state of Goa, four districts in Maharashtra and eight districts in Karnataka. KDS has undertaken multiple development projects across Goa that address the common struggles of the deprived. Digital Integrated Student Aid Centre (DISAC), Non-Residential Special Training Centres (NRSTC), Remedial School Project (RSP), Child line India Foundation (CIF), Day Care Centre, Adult Literacy Programme (ALP) are just among the many projects KDS has extensively worked on. Through their aid, St. Dominic Savio High School in Calangute was completely reformed and the school now provides quality education for children from the economically weaker part of the society. They have also conducted Women empowerment programmes in the distrcist of Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Bicholim, North Goa and trained women for skills that could help them in setting their own business.
In our today’s round of interview, we get to closely look at KDS’s long years of generosity towards helping the people of Goa. We realise that running a NGO has its own struggles and the founders at KDS help us understand how they operate. Creating a significant change in society is a dynamic effort, and in this article we throw light on how people can come forward and cooperate in the process.
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What was the vision behind forming Konkan Development Society?
Vision, Mission and Values:
Konkan Development Society (KDS) strives towards creation of a just and equitable society, where there is respect towards human rights and human values; a society where poor and marginalized communities are enabled to become self-reliant, self- sustaining & empowered to take care of their own development.
KDS seeks to achieve the integrated development of communities by building up the capacities of NGOs, civil society, individuals and community-based organizations through extension of support services like education, planning, networking, capacity building, development of programme linkages, training, monitoring and evaluation.
Which parts of the state KDS currently serve?
KDS currently works in the Konkan Province, mainly Goa, 8 districts of Karnataka and 4 districts of Maharashtra.
How did KDS continue to serve during the Pandemic? How was it affected?
When the pandemic struck, all our educational and other outreach projects had to be suspended. We had great difficulty with funds to sustain the essential staff of our various projects. However we managed to raise funds from generous donors to help the many thousands of people affected by Covid-19 in multiple ways.
The pandemic affected all of us, especially the underprivileged and marginalised sections of the communities. Noticing the situation of the migrant population KDS decided to reach out and help this community by provided food kits and medical kits for the families. We helped more than 90,000 migrants and underprivileged people during the pandemic.
KDS is an NGO under the development wing of the Salesian Province of Panjim. Being a founder, what do you think people aren’t aware of when it comes to operating an NGO?
Many people are under the impression that an NGO gets substantial funding from various sources. This is an inaccurate surmise, as procuring funds to carry out community projects for the underprivileged involves doing a lot of spade work and approaching several organizations and individuals, to create awareness about the need for uplifting the marginalized.
Perhaps people are under the mistaken impression that NGOs function on an ad hoc basis. This is untrue, as we have stringent rules and regulations in place for all the activities we carry out.
KDS partnered with Tata Consulting Services for a computer based functional literacy project for Adults. Tell us more about the programme and what does it offer?
This was a 3 years project and the target beneficiaries were persons who could only read but could not write. 13,500 such persons from Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra were given non-formal Computer-Based Functional Literacy Classes (CBFL) using Laptops, Speakers and essential learning materials. The course during was of 50 hours over a period of 3 months. The timings were flexible, keeping in mind the work timings of the beneficiaries. Suitable locations were identified for conducting classes in the villages.
What has been the most challenging project KDS has undertaken so far?
The Computer-Based Functional Literacy Classes (CBFL) was one of the most challenging projects undertaken by our organization due the poor connectivity, remote locations and erratic timings of the beneficiaries.
A Non-Residential Special Training Centre (NRSTC) was initiated by KDS for children having difficulty in coping up with their studies. How did you reach out to the children? Can you take us through the project’s functioning?
The NRSTCs were started with a vision to provide underprivileged children with help in their studies and thus prevent children from dropping out of school for want off the assistance that they need. We survey the areas where children need study assistance; we then rent out rooms to conduct the classes in the afternoons. We currently have 7 Centres spread across Goa. Each Centre has 30 students and 2 teachers. We mobilize the children by visiting their homes and Schools and develop a syllabus to meet the needs of the child. We have interactive study methods, celebrate festivals, give them a nutritious snack each day, conduct value education classes, have medical camps and have regular progress assessments.
What other projects KDS is planning to undertake?
Our immediate priority is to set up a Day & Night Shelter Home for street children in South Goa, to build the compound wall and renovate the old building of our Dominic Savio High School in Calangute, to complete the Hall and the play area of our Don Bosco Primary School in Alto Dabolim, to enhance opportunities for Skill Training in Hospitality in Don Bosco Institute Parra.
After having closely worked with the economically weaker section of society, where do you think we need people’s initiative in bringing about a significant change?
We have found that people are generous by nature but require to be sensitized about the needs of the less privileged in society. Ultimately we are all stakeholders in building an equitable social order and this can only be done with the conscious cooperation of those of us who are fortunate enough to have the ability to share our blessings with the less fortunate. So public awareness is an essential component of all social outreach schemes.
In coming time, which social issues KDS is willing to address?
Education, Environment, Women’s Empowerment, Skill Development, Caring for the Abandoned and Child Rights Issues.
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