Equality, Education, Empowerment and Environment are the four pillars of SEED fort and we are constantly working in these areas since last two decades. Our present challenge is to fight the climate change effect in our work area in Sundarban’s Sagar Island. To make the community understand the consequence and reasons of this continuous climate change process, we are educating the people from lower strata there.
Continuing their support to the Oraon tribe, the organisation approached Tribal Welfare department, Government of West Bengal, Urban Land Reforms department, Government of West Bengal and Calcutta Municipal Corporation. The organisation fought for establishing the land right of the tribe but sidewise they started educating the whole family of the tribes so that they become self-dependent. They conducted night schools for the elder members with the help of eminent local people, senior citizens and some Community Based Organisations (CBOs). Once the mothers of the kids understood the value of education, they started sending their children to the school.These lines of Mother Teresa, an epitome of love and care, brought together some renowned professionals of South Kolkata (West Bengal), who had a spark to serve the society in all possible way. In the mid-90s, the group noticed the problems of the Oraon Tribes living in their locality Naktala. A small group of the tribe was staying there for years in a vested land. When the local land speculators noticed the rising market price of the land, they aimed at selling this land illegally for commercial purposes. The poor illiterate tribal people had no idea about their rights so fell helpless. With an aim to help this community, in 1995, these enthusiastic minds from different strata of the society formed a small organisation named “Naktala Centre for Socio-Economic Reform and Environmental Conservation” that will work for people, with the people and by the people. Developmental consultants and renowned social workers joined hands and thus the organisation was registered in 1996 under the West Bengal Society Registration Act 1961.
Apart from educating the Oraon tribe of Naktala, the organisation worked on their healthy sanitation process and managed safe drinking water facility, ration card, voter card and birth certificate. Finally in 1998, the efforts of the organisation were paid in the form of the tribe getting their land right. It was a great victory for the organisation also as it has been the motivation behind its coming into existence. Now, the Oraon tribes of the locality are secured socially and financially as they were trained in various handicraft works and some have gone out for work. Even their kids are regular to schools and very much part of the civil society.
Here are some renowned stalwarts, who motivated and supported the organisation in this noble cause- Late Dr. LK Banerjee (Former Joint Director, Botanical Survey of India), Dr. Amalendu Bandopadhyay (Former Director, Positional Astronomy Centre, Government of India), Professor Subal Chandra Saha (Former Principal, Government Arts College), Dr. Samar Bagchi (Former Director, Birla Industrial Technological Musueum, Government of India), Dr Amio Kumar Hati (Former Director, School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata), Late Dr. Subrata Sinha, former Deputy Director General, Geological Survey of India, Late Professor Jyotirmoy Dutta (Former Scientist of Bose Institute, Kolkata) and Dr. Ashish Ghosh, former Director of Zoological Survey of India.
Following this, the group started with some relief works in remote areas of South 24 Parganas and Sundarbans with the support of different local administrative bodies. Apart from guiding in biodiversity and environmental issues, Dr Ghosh also participated in various eco-development camps with the team. Gradually, the service of the group came to the notice of people of different segments, local formal organizations as well as the Government. Appreciation started pouring in adding to the energy level of the volunteer team.
In 2001, finally SEED (Society for Socio Economic and Ecological Development) was born, when the organisation was renamed. With the help of local community members and different Community based organisations, SEED started fund raising activities for various developmental initiatives. The organisation developed a platform for various social action programmes to alleviate social and economic problems of the people of different regions of West Bengal especially in the peri-urban and remote rural areas.
However, the first significant project of SEED was on ‘Environmental awareness mapping programme’ in the KMC ward No 100, which was sponsored by ‘West Bengal Pollution Control Board’ in 1999. The project was accomplished with the maximum involvement of the local people and local CBOs.
The second project was a humble attempt on finding out ‘Problems and prospects regarding formation of SHGs (Self Help Groups) among rag pickers in East Kolkata’.This project was sponsored by CARE India, another national level development organisation.
The next project in ‘East Kolkata Wetland area’ was totally self-funded. The aim of the project was to work on the vulnerable communities of the area, support in their development and education. The main purpose was to organise a campaign to declare it as a protected area. It also aimed at biodiversity conservation, wetland conservation and livelihood development.
Henceforth, there was no looking back and SEED continued to work for the people to bring about a positive change.