Adivasis in twelve hundred villages spread over seven districts of the eastern belt of Gujarat have been working quietly over the last ten years to create a massive network of micro-credit federations. They have set up their own food grain banks, water harvesting cooperatives, organic agriculture, and have run informal centres of learning.
In order to carry out the work, they set up their own Development Services Centres, or Gram Vikas Kendras. With thirty DSCs, their work includes by now over 2200 self help groups, 150 food grain banks, several thousand children in informal education and nearly seventy-five thousand healthcare cases. More than a hundred and eighty thousand individuals are directly benefited by the work of the DSCs..
Side by side, they have been promoting the arts, music and oral literature of adivasis through cultural melas and the Museum of Voice. All this work began when in 2000 when a group of young adivasis met at Tejgadh and resolved to make the adivasi villages free of hunger, indebtedness, exploitation arising out of illiteracy, and migration caused by alienation of natural resources.
The team of 400 karyakartas that has been working to improve the life of adivasis has decided to create several Green Economic Zones. The GEZs do not look towards any foreign investment. They will be created out of local resources and local investments. They will not destroy nature and leave the land, forests and rivers devastated. A GEZ will focus on enhancing the natural resource base, and will take up economic development with the utmost sensitivity to ecological conservation. A GEZ will not engage its human resource in education that does not produce anything but unemployment and alienation from the village.
A GEZ will transform education and make it purposeful and sensitive to the local culture. All this will be done by planning at the village level, and with very minimum help from outside.
A Thousand adivasis, who have already resolved to create GEZs, will walk through 220 villlages from the 5th to the 12th of June. They would like you to join in the GEZ Launch Walk. They call it Vivekshil Vikas no Pravas, 'a journey to Development with Respect for all Beings.'
We are writing to you, on behalf of our adivasi friends to join us. We will look after you during the days of the pravas with as much affection and care as we will look after ourselves.
I have no doubt that you will take time out and come and bless the initiative towards which we have been patiently preparing for the last ten years without a day's rest.
GEZ is uniquely an adivasi economic concept.
The adivasis of Gujarat are beginning the experiment from the 5th of June in over 220 villages, and are hoping that it will be extended in the next three years to about 2200 villages that fall between the Tapti river in the south and the Mahi river in the north, with the great Narmada in between.
Along these three perennial and mighty rivers, the Adivasis of Gujarat are getting ready to launch the novel experiment in development which can show a new path of peace and prosperity to the world surrounded by molls, special economic zones, greed, terror unleashed by the powers that be, and insensitivity to all forms of life.
GEZ is the adivasi reply to SEZ. Arrangements are made to receive 'Friends of GEZ' at the railway station, bus station and airport at Baroda from the 3rd June to the 10th June. We will be happy to make arrangements for your stay at Baroda, if necessary.
Transportation will be provided to all those who wish to participate in the GEZ pravas from Baroda to the specific destination as per the particular day's programme of meetings.
Please let us have your consent to join by calling 0265-2331968, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With warm regards
G. N. Devy Bhasha Research and Publication Centre 62, Shreenathdham Duplex, Bh. Dinesh Mills, Baroda 390 007 Ph. 0265-2331968, 2359059
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