UUCB Friends of DIR
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 Frederick 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.
Phones for the DIR staff
FoDIR is collecting used smartphones and good-quality flip phones for the DIR staff (about 30 in all, including a large group of women who spend the day out in the field teaching about health and nutrition.) Many Americans have older phones sitting unused after an upgrade to a shiny new model. Put them to good use!
There is no wifi service available in the areas DIR serves, so phones are much more useful there than computers. India has two phone networks, both of which use the type of phone that use SIM cards (GSM.)
To arrange to donate your phone, or for more information, contact Jim Gasperini, Secretary of both FoDIR and the DIR board. 510.559.1897.
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.
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 Frederick and Roberta Shaw frequently make available Sundays in the atrium.
DIR crafts can also now be purchased through DIR’s shop on Etsy, the online handicraft site.
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.