Celebrating a decade of Sangathan Building and People’s Struggle

(Lok Sangathan (people’s collective) crucial to ensure people’s rights and entitlements)
Bhubaneswar: Under the aegis of Atmashakti Trust, a national level rights based organization, more than 100 delegates drawing representation from Sangathan leaders, PRI Members, academia, intelligentsia, media and the team members of Atmashakti congregated for a two-days celebration event on the eve of Atmashakti’s completion 10 years of work in Sangathan Building and People’s Struggle, at Lohia Academy, Bhubaneswar.
While celebrating the work in the past 10 years of facilitating people’s collectives towards socio-economic and political rights of the Dalit, Adivasi, women and other marginalised population of the state, the delegates realised that a strong Lok Sangathan (people’s collective) is imperative and crucial to ensure people’s rights and entitlements of these communities as.
Started in 2009, Atmashakti Trust has been working for rights and entitlements of Adivasi, Dalit, women and other marginalised population in Odisha by assisting strong community based people’s organization, focusing on their rights and entitlements which includes right to work under MGNREGS, Food security, Agriculture, Wwater and Sanitation, Health and Women’s collectives.
Now, in Odisha, the Trust has been working with 21 regional Sangathans and two state level alliances namely: Odisha Sramajeebee Manch and Mahila Sramajeebee Manch, Odisha which are working with more than 10 lakh families of 9484 villages in 798 Gram Panchayats under 75 blocks of 15 districts in the state.
Addressing the gathering, Executive Trustee Ruchi Kashyap Said “the past 10 years has been an incredible and vibrant journey and we have witnessed many challenges, limitations along with major milestones and impact in the journey.
As an organization, we mobilise the most marginalised communities living in the remotest part of the state on their rights and entitlements by building strong people’s organization, an ideation to form them into collectives. Through Atmashakti, we aim to enable the formation of mass based organization started with village level committees which is going upto the block and district level collectives. She also informed that Atmashakti Trust will work with these Sangathan in the state level with an objective to promote this process in 17 districts for 3 million households out of which 1 million households have alr4eady been reached out by the Sangathans”, Ms. Kashyap told.
“We facilitate these self organised groups so that they iundependently take up their own issues that affects their lives. Mass mobilisation through Lok Sangathan is crucial to ensure people’s rights and entitlements and we will continue our efforts to do so in future”, she added.
M.M. Singh, a renowned philanthropist and Managing Trustee of Atmashakti Trust informed that Atmashakti was started with an objective to create awareness on rights and entitlements of the most deprived and marginalised section of the society with an emphasis on Adivasi and Dalit communiities. He also emphasised on the need to improve the life standard of the rural people through proper facilities in health and education, employment guarantee, safe drinking water and committed to uphold efforts to ensure people’s empowerment.
Attending the celebration event, renowned economist and former Finance Minister of Odisha Mr. Panchanan Kanungo, who was felicitated in the event for his solidarity said “ ensuring common people’s rights and entitlements is a challenge However, we should appreciate Atmashakti’s relentless efforts in advancing lives of Dalit and Tribals who are often being sidelined from the developmental priorities of the government. There should be more people’s collectives, Sangathans who come up and raise people’s issues to have a scalable impact on the lives of the se people”.
In the concluding event, renowned social activists Pradip Pradhan, Manas Jena, Manas Mishra, Sandeep Pattnaik, Senior Journalist Mr. Ravi Das and many other dignitaries were felicitated for their long term association and solidarity with Atmashakti’s decade long journey.
In this event, Mr Arun Prasad Dihudi, Gopinath Majhi, Pravat Kumar Sahu, Panchanan Pradhan and other senior members of Atmashakti Trust shared their journey with the organization.
Senior Programme Manager of Atmashakti Trust Mr. Satosh Kumar proposed formal vote of thanks for the active participation and continuous support from the team members , sangathan leaders and the fellow travellers. The event was followed by the cultural extravaganza performed by the district team which showcased tribal and folk songs, dance and drama.

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