By Stalin. S Caritas India’s SOA-II phase program’s implementing partners from Tamilnadu attended the quarterly coordination meeting on April 27-28, 2009, at Tuticorin Multipurpose Social Service Society (TMSSS).
The coordination meeting is organized quarterly to assess the achievements and learnings of the DSSS on Community Mobilization program for the tsunami affected communities.
Fr. Victor Lobo, Director of TMSSS, welcomed the participants. The first day’s sessions focussed on experience sharing of TMSSS fishermen federation. TMSSS formed fishermen federations in all the villages in Tuticorin as part of their tsunami rehabilitation programs. In the initial stages these groups were formed to support the fishermen to get rid of the clutches of moneylenders or mediators who enjoyed maximum benefit of fishermen’s hard work. Under the Community Mobilization program these groups were further strengthened and channelled their attentions to different sectors like financial support, accident cover, death benefits, business initiatives etc. At present these groups are planning to enter in to the fish marketing (exports) sector too. During the meeting, Fr. William, one of the pioneers of this initiative presented the history of fishermen federation and their present status.
Members from the fishermen federation also shared their experience during the meeting. They shared how this initiative changed their lifestyle and living conditions. Participants visited a fishermen group in Alanthalai village and interacted with them to understand their modus operandi and future plans.
Second day, all the eight partner DSSS and Tamilnadu Forum made the presentations based on their last quarterly planned activities. The presentations mainly focussed on the achievements, learnings, constraints and measures to tackle the issues, followed by presentation of activities for the next quarter. Bishop Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticorin graced the occasion with his presence and addressed the participants.
Program support officer of Caritas India Ms. Milan presented the online shelter data collection software and its advantages on behalf of CMT. She had made a demonstration of the software to provide more clarity on the initiative. Once uploaded, the online shelter data software will provide the details of Caritas India’s tsunami shelter programs. This is an attempt to make Caritas India’s shelter programs more transparent and easily accessible to the public. Gradually Caritas India’s other shelter programs also will be incorporated to this program.
The meeting concluded with vote of thanks by Forum Director Fr. Xavier and Fr. Victor Lobo, Director of TMSSS, thanked all the participants for their cooperation and support.