A UUCB group, UUCB Friends of DIR (FoDIR) supports the work of an NGO working in two bustees (slums) near Chandigarh, Punjab State, India. Leveraging UUCB’s connection to Developing Indigenous Resources (DIR) through its founder, longtime member Frederic Shaw, the group furthers the “global” part of UUCB’s work toward social justice, as expressed in the UUCB Vision Statement: “We are committed to serving one another, our church, and the local and global communities.”
Frederick founded DIR (a charitable non-profit 501(c)3 incorporated in California) after a long career working with much larger NGOs such as CARE.
UUCB FoDIR’s mission is to formalize the relationship between DIR and UUCB, instigate and support efforts to raise funds for DIR, and spread the word about DIR’s work promoting social justice. Those interested in joining the group or in helping FoDIR in any capacity please contact Linda Laskowski.
DIR is a small NGO testing an innovative approach to development in selected slums in Punjab, India. Its approach to development is based on founder Frederick Shaw’s observation that:
When a permanent solution has been brought to any serious, chronic problem, it is almost invariably brought by the people who have the problem… We facilitate the people in developing countries solving their own problems, thereby enabling them to bring about their own form of national development.
DIR projects fall into three groups: health, education, and income generation. All aim at improving the ability of the poorest of the poor to improve the quality of their own lives. An overview can be found at http://dir-help.org. Frederick’s fascinating monthly reports are available here: http://www.dir-help.org/projects/india/
Many UUCB members are familiar with the fruits of one DIR income-generation project: colorful wine bags, handbags and other crafts produced by women residents of the bustees, which Frederic and Roberta Shaw frequently make available Sundays in the atrium.
FoDIR would love to hear from potential partners interested in handling any aspect of the marketing and distribution of these craft items. Although produced according to certain standards, each item is the unique production of a particular craftswoman, usually working with donated fabric remnants.
In 2010 Canadian photojournalist Marilyn Smith lived for six weeks in one of the slums served by DIR. Out of thousands of images, she distilled a series of thirty-six, which she had mounted in 20”x24” exhibition format. The series has been exhibited in Paris, Vancouver and Seattle.
UUCB Friends of DIR is currently researching possible exhibition venues in the Bay Area. We would be delighted to hear from anyone with appropriate venues to suggest, in the Bay Area or elsewhere.
A selection of Marilyn’s images can be found here: http://marilynslumproject.blogspot.com/
Health Promoters receive daily training in health fundamentals, including nutrition and disease prevention. Using three inexpensive pieces of equipment -- bathroom scales, stethoscopes and blood pressure gauges -- HPs monitor the general health of residents, and gauge the need for further intervention. Results are impressive. Over six years the rate of malnutrition among children under five years of age dropped from 85%to about 43%. Over the same period, rates of child immunization have surpassed the national average, as have the number of births in hospital settings.
Guest at Your Table is a yearly tradition in which UUs contribute to the human rights work of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). Beginning December 15 you are invited to bring home a Guest Box to place on your dining table. With each meal, place money in the box that you would spend to feed a guest. The money collected will support projects that promote civil liberties, advance economic and environmental justice, and provide humanitarian aid in times of crisis.
Please… Tally your donations and write a check in the amount of what you have collected payable to UUSC! The Monday volunteers and money counters thank you in advance.
Donations will be collected on January 5, 2014.
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