Achievements of the organization (As on March 2015)
MASS has acquired very good visibility and excellent credibility in Belgaum district. It sits on several District-level Committees, is frequently consulted on strengthening the devdasi programmes in the neighbouring districts and functions as a resource agency for capacity building of community based organizations. When the Karnataka State Assembly held its session in Belgaum District in 2008, MASS was specially invited to meet with the Minister for Women and Child Development, for a discussion on the devdasi issue.
MASS has also helped the Karnataka State Government in implementing a pension plan for the Ex- Devadasi women. For this purpose, MASS designed and carried out a re-survey plan to identify beneficiaries. The Organization also identified those who were falsely claiming to be Devdasis, only to get the pension amount from the government.
To briefly note the achievements in view of the above mentioned goals:
- There is widespread acknowledgment in Belgaum District, including independent media reports, that devdasi dedications in Belgaum district have been controlled almost fully due to the efforts of MASS. MASS and ex-Devdasis keep regular vigil in the district to ensure that there are no incidences of Devdasi dedications. In 5 nearby districts, MASS is a frequent invitee and trainer. Bijapur District has even registered an organization similar to MASS, and MASS has also been given honorary membership in it. Raichur district is planning something on the same lines.
- MASS has already promoted 180 SHGs of former Devdasis in 7 blocks , 130 SHG of dalit community in Raibag block & 32 SHG of dalit and backward community in Athani block in Belgaum district. MASS also helps these groups in credit linkages with banks and other financial institutions.
- The Organization has been able to tangibly support its members by mobilizing housing finance, providing working capital to members’ self help groups from its own funds, starting an education fund to benefit members’ children, a death relief fund to perform the last rites, and other need- based support, including relief assistance to flood-affected members in the recent floods in Belgaum District.
The following statistics speaks of the work that MASS has done towards the livelihoods promotion for ex-Devdasi women:
- 40 lakh loan from the corpus of MASS was given along with a matching fund of 60 lakh subsidy from KSWDC to 730 members for various Income Generation activities. The repayment rate will be 99.50%
- 114 (253 loans) SHGs have got working capital loan amounting to 44.64 lakh from MASS with a low service charge of 12% per annum. The repayment rate is 99.75%
- MASS has signed MOU with NABFINS (Nabard Financial Service Limited Bangalore) to lend micro finance loan @ rate of interest varied from 12% to 15.50% pm. 1272 members from 101 SHGs were linked to NABFINS and received Rs 123.30 lakh as MF Loan. The repayment rate is 100%. MASS has started micro finance programme to SHG members. Besides, the US based Asset India Foundation has supported 50 lakh initial amount to MASS through MILAAP Social Ventures Indian Pvt Ltd, Bangalore (peer to peer MFI) & 1.39 Crore directly from MILAAP Social Ventures Indian Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. Also Micrograam Social Development Foundation (peer to peer MFI) Bangalore has provided 46 lakh to MASS. The MASS has provided this loan to 1518 member from 161 SHG amounting of Rs 2.54 Crore. For risk mitigation MASS as enrolled its members to Aam Aadmi Janashree Bhima Youjna (AAJBY of LIC). Since there is huge demand for credit, it has been planned mobilise more than 5 crore to reach larger number of target group families in the coming years.
- More than 5.96 lakh was given as educational loan (interest free) to Children of MASS Members for higher education. (232 children repeatedly have got loans). 41 children received higher education fund from PRERANA. Apart from this, for 2014-15 academic year, Rs. 143,888 has been received as grant from US based Indian individuals and Rs. 18,000 from Kannadigara Okkuta from UK to support higher education. 43 children received Rs. 1.42 lakh education fund from this.
- Around 3027 members were supported in securing houses under various housing programmes of the Government.
- MASS has also helped the Karnataka state government designing and implementing a pension plan for the former Devdasi women. For this purpose, MASS designed and carried out a re-survey plan to identify beneficiaries. The Organization also identified those who were falsely claiming to be Devdasis, only to get the pension amount from the government. Currently around 3500 ex-devdasi women (age above 45) is getting the monthly pension amount of 500/.
- MASS also supported 2721 members to get a ration card, 1213 members access to free electricity for home lighting, 332 members for smokeless chullahs (hearth) and 61 members to get irrigation bore wells.
- A Death Relief Fund scheme was introduced by MASS in 2005 for the children or relatives of ex-Devdasi women (members of MASS) after the death of the member. 2,000/- is being paid as relief amount. As on 31.03.2015 total 389 member’s relatives have received the Death Relief Fund. Towards this, a total of Rs. 521,350/- was spent.
- There is widespread awareness in Belgaum District that MASS works towards prevention of child marriage. MASS has been involved in this activity for 10 years. 33 child marriages were actually stopped by MASS staff. Towards this end, schools and doctors (both play roles in confirming the ages of brides and grooms) have been informed of the basis on which age confirmations can be made, i.e. they cannot legally issue age certificates without supporting evidence.
- MASS’ Legal Support Service has played a major role in giving the organization visibility. The Legal Support Programme of MASS extends to non-MASS members and non-devdasi communities also. So far, it has been successful in resolving 642 cases of disputes out of courts and through the involvement of families, local leaders and Panchayath members. Details of cases as below
- With funding support of ‘Every Child’, UK, MASS is implementing an education programme for dalith children in Raibag taluka. Under this programme 47 learning centres are being operating covering 2000 children. A special tuition classes are being conducted to improve children’s performance in the school, especially in Maths, Science and English. MASS has appointed qualified teachers to teach these students. Sports and cultural activities have been included as part of curricula. Also a special residential course has been conducted for 5th grade students to prepare them for an entrance exam for special government residential schools (Navodaya & Murarji Desai etc). Through these schools, the government provides free and high quality education to promising students from poor families. So far, 694 students were trained for the entrance exam and 301 students secured admission in these schools. 34 children are enrolled in CWC sponsorship & getting Rs .1,000/- p.m .The program with ‘Every Child’ started in 2006 and exit from India in March 2015 , as it will transfer its assets to the global alliance. To fund raise in order to continue the MASS Raibag work independently Everychild U.K post exit funding support given for six months.
- With funding support of ‘Child Rights & You (CRY), Bangalore, MASS is implementing a programme to secure rights of children (with focus on dalith children) in selected 16 remote villages of Chikkodi block. Under this programme, advocacy and lobbying has been carried out to ensure quality education, access to school for all children, ensure adequate nutrition intake, anaganawadi facility as per the norm etc. MASS has intensified its activities of curtailing child marriages, devdasis system, child prostitution, child trafficking etc. Apart from demanding good supplementary food to children from ICDS, supervises the status of PDS shop, conducts health camps for malnutrition children, ensures 100% enrolment of children and re-enrolment of drop out children to school, special coaching classes for students to get seats in the Novoday and Murarji schools etc are the main activities under this programme. So far 420 students were trained under this programme for the entrance exam and 45 of them have secured admission to special schools.
- MASS has carried out an extensive awareness programme on HIV/AIDS programme in Hukkeri and Gokak blocks with funding support from CDC-Centre for Disease Control-US (through MYRADA). The programme concluded recently. The KSWDC also provides financial support to treat STI (sexually transmitted diseases) cases. More than 3400 devadasi women have received treatment.
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