VISIT TO WAGHOLI EDUCATIONAL AND REHABILITATION CENTRE
30-11-2002 : Pune
I am very happy to be with you all, this afterhoon. Time was when many used to think that developmental efforts and social upliftment activities were purely the concern of the government and government alone. This philosophy has, undergone a sea change in the not-too-distant past. The government's role, appropriately, has come- to be regarded as more or less regulatory and more as a facilitator. The birth of many non-governmental organisations is a testimony to this wholesome and welcome change in the philosophy of development. .
I am happy to note that the Bharatiya Jain Sanghatna has been doing commendable work particularly for the welfare of the socially and economically disadvantaged sections and in particular. students in that category. That the World Bank and the Government of Maharashtra have come forward to help this organisation financially is in itself indicative of the fact that the work undertaken by the Bharatiya Jain Sanghatna through its Wagholi Educational and Rehabilitation Centre here, is a sincere and dedicated effort by this NGO in the socio-economic sphere for this vulnerable section of the society. What is more gratifying is that the centre has adopted an integrated approach in tackling these problems affecting these students by not only imparting bookish education to them but making them wholesome human beings with self-confidence and a positive outlook to look forward to ' a meaningful life and the world around them.
I have also learnt that the BJS volunteers did excellent relief and rehabilitation work in quake-hit Gujarat. I am glad to note that 368 schools were built in a record time of 5 months after the earthquake hit Gujarat in January, 2001. I have always maintained that for the success of any such venture, the wholehearted cooperation and participation of the people affected are absolutely essential. I have noted that not only in this instance but all through, the BJS has been involving the villagers concerned in their activities, consulting them, discussing with them, eliciting their suggestions and implementing them - thus veritably making them doers and participants in the entire process. When that is done, the effort has to necessarily succeed. If the measures undertaken in the wake of the deaths due to malnutrition in .the Adivasi belt of Melghat or those in the Samkhiyani village or the rehabilitation measures in the wake of Latur earthquake in 1993 were successful, it was essentially because of this innovative approach and dedicated 'never-say-die' efforts made by this Sanghatana.
My happiness is all the more because. rightly, the Sangha tan a has targetted the upliftment of the younger generation. I have no doubt that the future of the nation is in the hands of the younger generation who account for almost 30% of our one billion population. They have their dreams, their aspirations, their vision, their expectations and hopes of a prosperous and developed India in which they would like to live and such ambitions are there in all of them irrespective of the class of society to which they belong. Developing them into citizens who would be capable of translating such dreams into actions that will help translate their dreams into reality is the most noble task that can be undertaken in nation building. I am delighted to learn that many of the students so nurtured by the centre volunteered to serve those affected by calamities in other areas like in the case of the floods in Akola, Maharashtra. .I congratulate the Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana and the Wagholi Educational and Rehabilitation Centre for the efforts undertaken by them for pursuing their initiative in this direction, I wish them all success in their endeavour and fervently hope that assistance, financial and otherwise, will be forthcoming in adequate measure from all sources to help them in their mission.