Saturday, December 03, 2005

Seniors Network

Today I was talking to Darshan (Dr. Priya Darshan Patra of Portland) about how we are approaching the retired persons in Orissa to mentor and monitor talented kids via FFE(Foundation For Excellence). The idea is to use the 1st post-Independence generation of India/Orissa who emerged out of opportunities extended to the people from poor and lower middle class, who were helped by Govt. to be Engineers/ Doctors / Professors/teachers etc. They had talent and were willing to work hard. These benificiries of Independence are now getting retired over last 10 or so years. Many of them are in perfect health, have raised successfully children. There kids are now independent and adult. They have thus the expertise and time to mentor and monitor other's children - children with talent, willing to work hard but no career guidance as they are first generation who are educated from their families. This is a win - win situation. In most cases such people feel lonely as they have done their live's duties and tend to wither away. They have both financial freedom, free time and various expertise.
But they have lot of knowledge in their various fields of expertise and experience in raising children successfully. If a net work is established among them and this free time and expertise harnessed this will be very useful to the society at large. We can use the expertise of these men and women of high quality to mentor and monitor of kids - and guide them to success in education and careers.
Limited benifit of this idea has been taken to establish the Foundation For Excellence facilitator network in last 5 years. About 75 persons are enrolled as facilitators, who are mostly working with their kids or contacts who are called FFE coordinators. Starting from a low 25 this type of network has helped in about 5 years to reward scholarship money to 195 students last year. They have received about $35 thousand last year as scholarships.
This net work and others similar if developed can have a oversight over the deterioration and commercialization of education and stall the downward trend, while giving them something to live for. The ideal will be to have atleast 2 of them in each of 314 blocks of Orissa.


Dear All,
How do we empower a whole state, empathize with its teeming masses, and share our experiences for achieving the human potential of Orissa(Odisha) --- and thus perhaps of the nation? This blog is meant to share our experiences to enable and empower each other -- in some fundamental yet simple ways to streghten the foundations of the state and her people, and to participate in a well-guided investment in future. What kind of development path(s) should Orissa and all her well-wishers should adopt and nurture for the state.

Why and how should we avoid famishment on one side and borrowed "steroids" for development on the other?
How do we influence individuals and small groups and bring about internal transformation, strength, freedom, and regional/societal balance to reach up to the potential?
Thus this is the place to share your relevant experiences, tips, considered thoughts, learnings from your actions, and vision -- small or big.