| Development as Unleashing Potential Efforts : the Bhagavatula Charitable Trust (BCT) of Yellamanchili in Andhra Pradesh (1995) |
a. As regards to target group of people
The environment, especially the political one, was hostile and the villagers in the area were suspicious about Dr Rao’s motivations in the early years. Dr Rao says," It is quite natural for them to be suspicious, as they always saw people who deserted their village at the first available opportunity either for educational or occupational opportunities and never saw them return to do something in the area".
On being questioned about winning and maintaining the faith of villagers in BCT, Dr Rao reflects deeply and tells,"once the motivation proved to be a deep rooted and long lasting one and aspirations established as non-political and as personally non-acquisitive, the people started reposing confidence, but they constantly watch for the signs, to guard themselves. They impose transparent purity of motive evidenced by ceaseless effort directed towards enriching the dis-advantaged as a prerequisite for winning and maintaining their trust and good will. This, by itself, acts as a big check and builds pressure on BCT to perform."
"BCT can not rest on its achievements and unless it continues to make effective contributions, its survival does not make sense" says Dr Rao.
b. As regards to networking and its ability to attract resources
BCT found it more useful to help creation of other voluntary organisations, rather than try to extend its area of operations. It tried with varying degrees of success, often at its own initiative, to collaborate with other voluntary organisations on issues which it thought as of vital interest to itself and other voluntary organisations. It is represented on various district, state and national level, government and non-governmental, organisations working in the areas of its interest. It enjoys the support of district, state and national level administration to its cause.
Over the years, with its devoted efforts and proven efficacy of its interventions, BCT established its credentials to attract human and material resources required to sustain its work. Its reputation attracts support from NRIs and from both working and retired personnel of government, public and private sector.
c. As regards other voluntary organisations
BCT was the first non-governmental organisation that came into existence with the aim of serving the cause of rural development in the area. At present, a few hundred organisations are working in Visakhapatnam district itself with wide ranging objectives. clientele and issues related to development.
Sometime back, a few members of a Mahila Mandal organised by BCT were lured away to attach themselves with another voluntary organisation with a promise of quick and liberal assistance. Mahila Mandal members returned to BCT’s fold as the organisation could not keep its promise. "BCT believes in plurality of institutions and does not think it has sole rights to work in the area but it does not like vain competition between organisations ultimately corrupting people and swerving them away from pursuing a particular course of development, as so much work is there for so many to do," Dr Rao said commenting on that instance.
d. As regards to government support
"With resources increasingly made available from within and without, namesake, self-serving, voluntary organisations are proliferating with dubious programmes, making only insignificant contributions to the development of disadvantaged," Dr Rao feels. He also feels that this phenomenon will be on the increase as political processes hijack and tend to piggy ride on the developmental processes, more so with proposed allocation of planned funds of government to be spent through voluntary development organisations.
He argues that the same has happened with cooperatives and nationalised commercial banks which are tools for development that were hijacked to subserve the short term career interests of politicians and bureaucrats. He opines that the same is going to be the case with voluntary organisations unless they understand and resist the moves which reduce people to a state of dependence and impoverishment of feelings of self-worth, of individual thinking, and of developmental action only to subserve myopic career interest of a few politicians and bureaucrats.
e. Regarding its Growth
BCT feels that its growth in terms of diversification into different activities is led by its mission and expansion in terms extension to cover more villages and more beneficiaries by the expressed desire of the people residing in the villages in its chosen area of operation. The organisation on its own has not extended its activities into any particular village or has not insisted on the participation of beneficiaries in any particular activity except on their own volition. It resists the temptation or turns down the requests of villages from other than its chosen area.
However, the savings activity of each beneficiary with a view to convert that savings into an investment either individually or in collaboration with other members with or without supplementary support from other organisations including BCT is a compulsory one.
BCT feels that community organisation around thrift would be a central activity with the focus of thrift being used to enhance the productivity of and income from the resources at the command of members like their time, land, water and labour. It feels that its functional support services may vary with changing options available for the resources with which the Mahila Mandal members are endowed with and feel confident of utilising for their benefit from time to time.
BCT sees its role in providing education and health care services as assisting its present and future beneficiaries in ridding themselves of the twin afflictions of ignorance and ill-health that cripple and restrict them from realising their human potential.
BCT believes that its work results in enhanced feeling of self-worth in the participants due to improvement in their knowledge and skill base and contributes to increase in their self-confidence level because of better realisation of income from the resources at their command and assured access to primary health care facilities.
One can notice the wave like pattern in shifting of emphasis from activities aimed at unleashing potential of natural and human resources following one another in the programmes of BCT, when one is heading for a crest, the other seems to be heading for a trough.