Selection by Integrated Village Development Programme, a local NGO

Education scholarships to the tune of Rs.15 lakh were distributed this year by the Krishnagiri-based NGO, the Integrated Village Development Programme (IVDP) to 150 children of widows in Self Help Groups operating under it.

Speaking after distributing the scholarship cheques, Director and Magsaysay Awardee Kulandai Francis said here on Sunday that the scholarship scheme was started with an aim to help the widows to give good education to their wards.

The NGO had extended education scholarship to the tune of Rs. 53-lakh to 530 children of widows in Self Help Groups operating under its arm for higher education for the last four years, he added.

Out of the 530 students 135 students are pursuing Engineering courses and rest of them have taken up Arts and Science groups.

The precondition for offering scholarships to the students for the entire course is that they should pass in all subjects for continuity. The family background of the members would be scrutinised by the field staff of IVDP for selection.

Proper education

Mr. Francis advised the students to pursue their college education and not to divert their mind until they complete their course.

Education is the only tool to reform the society and to make people aware of social evils.

He also expressed his concern that many college students became criminal due to lack of proper education and counselling. They should be counselled properly, as it will help to groom good future citizens of the country, Mr. Francis added.

Participating as chief guest Pon Kumar, Chief Education Officer (SSA) said that ``perseverance, self confidence and sheer intelligence’’ are the mantras for success.

R. Natarajan, Principal, District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) also spoke. Earlier, short films on topics such as self-confidence and respecting elders were also screened.

There is no doubt that New Delhi’s new Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s promise immediately after his sworn in ceremony on Saturday that ``corruption-free and a new style of governance without exhibition of arrogance of power’’ has created a big impact among people.

Praise for Kejriwal

His statement brings a big relief and a ray of hope for me, as I had been a victim of the arrogance of power, said. Mr.Fancis.

He said that words of Mr.Kejriwal had more meaning for people like him who were once the victim of arrogance of power.

He said he was also the victim of arrogance of power while working for the upliftment of the poor and downtrodden during 1979, the early days of formation of the NGO.

He had bitter experience with the bureaucracy while building check dams in backward area near Natrampalayam near Anchetty in Krishangiri district.

The funding agencies sanctioned funds for construction of check dams with a condition that the cement should be bought in the government controlled price and not in the open market.

Hence, he approached the authorities for cement permit, but several of his attempts went in vain, whereas influential people got the permit to buy cement under the controlled price after greasing the palms of the machinery.

While announcing the awardees in July 2012, the Philippines based Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation said that Mr. Kulandei Francis was recognised for “his visionary zeal, his profound faith in community energies, and his sustained programmes in pursuing the holistic economic empowerment of thousands of women and their families in rural India.” The IVDP founded two decades ago has 9000 self-help groups in Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri and Vellore districts.

The NGO’s transactions through the SHGs have crossed Rs. 5000-crore this year, Mr. Francis said.