Contemplating the recent happenings in India, especially in Orissa, and keeping in mind the mandate of the Church, “prudently and lovingly, through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, and in witness of Christian faith and life, acknowledge, preserve, and promote the spiritual and moral goods found among these [people], as well as the values in their society and culture" (NA 2), we have tried to reach out to our brothers and sisters belonging to other faiths. The Small Christian Communities (SCCs) were made aware of the teachings of the Church regarding our relationship and our responsibilities towards people of other faiths in our neighbourhood. "All the faithful and every Christian community are called upon to practice dialogue" (SEB – Synodal Episcoporum Bulletin April 25, 1998).
The SCC Regional Council was of the opinion that we, as members of the Church in India, have to go through a fresh process of understanding the Church and re-identify ourselves in relation to the concrete communities (ethnic, religious communities in our India) whose life and struggle we share. West Bengal is affected often by cyclone, storms, landslides, floods and also by terrorist and other violent groups. All irrespective of religion, class and caste suffer from these calamities.
Taking this as a common issue in the region we have initiated Neighbourhood Human Communities (NHCs)/Basic Human Communities (BHCs) or KPGs (Khudro Pratibeshi Gosti is the literal translation in Bengali, the local language) in West Bengal of Eastern India. With the help of different NGOs we have managed to establish 477 NHCs. The aim of NHCs is to promote neighbourhood communities with people of all religions and castes and thus to promote inter-religious harmony. These units are spread out into whole of West Bengal and Sikkim states. We had been conducting awareness program and training for animators. The ideal size of a KPG is 15 to 20 families and it meets once in two weeks.
It is based on “a dream of a new socio-political and economic world order.”
The model was shared during a training on Neighborhood Human Community (NHC) by Fr. Edwin M John and Fr Augustus from Kanyakumai in South India , Feb 13 to 16, 2008 at Seva Kendra Calcutta and again from 30 June to 3rd July 2008 at Palli Unnayan Samiti – Baruipur, 24 Pargana (South) District near Calcutta.
To transform our society into a just and sustainable social order, where Gospel values are nurtured and lived
To build a community of persons by restoring the dignity of the poor and the marginalized through an empowering process.
Sarvodaya: Sarva = all
Udaya = rising
Antyodaya: Uplift of the last and the least and Antyodaya is the soul of Sarvodaya
The goal of Sarvodaya became the KINGDOM OF GOD (Ramrajya, as per Hindu scriptures). This Kingdom was to be attained on earth and had to be created and nurtured. Create equality among all people in order that they may be held together in the “silken net of love.”
VINOBA, a religious leader in India
TOWARDS A NEW CARING AND SHARING SOCIETY
Vinoba devised DAN (GIFT) Programmes:
Conception NHC/BHC: In W. Bengal-Sikkim Region KPG-Small Neighbourhood Communities is used as a strategy for effective implementation of Community Based Disaster Preparedness (CBDP) Program. Realizing that the SCCs are in the initial stage in our Region the Diocesan SCC Coordinators along with the Regional Service Team for SCC decided to keep the KPG with the Social workers of the Region with the guidance of SCC Regional Coordinator. Sr. Christin, HC and Regional Social Forum Secretary, Fr. I. P. Sarto and the diocesan directors of social works. Fr. Reginald Fernandes of Calcutta, Fr. Y. Soosaiappan of Baruipur, Fr. Puthumai Nazarene of Raiganj, Fr. Valentine Rai of Darjeeling, Fr. Oswald Xalxo of Jalpaiguri, Fr. Robin Mondol of Krishnagar, Fr. James Gonsalves of Siliguri and Fr. Wilson Fernandes of Burdwan actively encouraged their staff to form KPGs from their existing other groups. The bishops of the region are also very encouraging this effort. Archbishop Lucas Sircar, SDB of Calcutta is the chairperson for the SCC Regional Council in the region. He encouraged and supported us by his presence during the first training of NHC.
The SCCs of West Bengal-Sikkim Region decided to follow the Community Network of Nagercoil model. The model was shared during the first “Mission in Communion” programme of the Region in Asansol, Feb. 11-12, 2008. The model was shared during a training on Neighborhood Human Community (NHC) by Fr. Edwin M John and Fr Augustus from Feb 13 to 16 Feb. 2008 in Calcutta and again 30 June to 3rd July 2008 at Palli Unnayan Samiti – Baruipur, 24 Pargana (south) District. 35 participants from the eight dioceses of the region participated and understood the meaning and objectives of KPG. The Staff of the Regional Social Forum were given special training by Sr. Christin so that they in turn may train the village animators. Sr. Christin and Fr. I. P. Sarto were also personally present in some of the local trainings to motivate the animators using various teaching aids. A series of charts and posters were also prepared for the same.
The participants of the NHC training met regularly on a quarterly basis to assess the progress of starting NHC in their respective areas. In March 2009, the members unanimously decided to name it as KPG after a prolonged discussion and sharing of experiences.
Training the Theology Students in Morning Star Regional Seminary, Barrackpore, Calcutta to be animators of KPG (Khudro Pratibeshi Gosti)
KPG in Disaster Preparedness will work:
Morning Star Seminarians are taken to KPG for exposure program
Progress (formation of KPG)
The District Coordinators and Animators working in CBDP (Community Based Disaster Preparedness) programme are given with necessary guidance and training on a regular basis.
Each KPG was given a name and leaders were selected by the members. The members are to have meeting bimonthly and keep record of the meetings.
During the training in the month of May 2009, all 10 CBDP partners were given with target of forming more KPG every month.
Various groups in KPG
Children Groups, Adolescent Group, Mothers Groups, Fathers Groups, Aged persons Groups.
NGOs who are partners in promoting KPG in the region:
Progress (training of KPG)
After formation of KPG the training topics were discussed and finalized for each group under KPG.
Main objective of forming KPG to strengthen CBDP was under process. The training topics were selected in such a way that all the Task Force Training should fall under either of the group of each KPG. These are to prepare the community to well in advance how to help themselves pre, during and post disaster periods.
Male group / Female group / Adolescent girls / boys group
Female group, Children Group, Adolescent girls / boys group, Male group, Old people’s group
Female group, Male group, Adolescent boys / girls group, Children group
Adolescent boys / girls group, Female group, Male group
Male group, Adolescent girls / boys group
Male group, Female group, Adolescent boys/girls group
Male group, Female group, Old people’s group, Adolescent boys/girls group
Male group, Female group, Adolescent boys/girls group, Old people’s group
Strategies used to tackle:
Advantages of KPG
Dream of KPG based on the realization that
Identifying marks of KPG/NHC
by Sister Christin and Father I. P. Sarto, Calcutta