BIRTH OF SAMPARC

FOUNDER STORY

Working since 1984 for the children, Mr. Amitkumar Banerjee realized that children need an integrated support for development. At that time children of socially victim women, children of convicts received no support from Government or any agency. Mr.Banerjee felt that more than the identity as an orphan, a child needs to be considered from the point of view of present helpless situation. The child may be an orphan or a child of a sex worker or of a convict or a destitute, street child, what so ever it may be, ultimately the child needs a suitable shelter, care and protection and opportunity for confidence building, growth and development so that child can lead a normal life. SOS way of care and protection was very wonderful family care program. With precisely this idea in mind to act directly, he decided to start a children’s home at village Bhaje near Lonavla, Pune. He started in a rented house and formed a Society and Trust along with his colleague Mrs. Lata Pande, and thus SAMPARC – Social Action for Manpower Creation was born as an organization in 1990.

The journey of SAMPARC began with only 7 orphan children and today over 520 children – orphan, children of socially victim women, destitute, children of convicts and needy children, all are living under one shelter known as Balgram of SAMPARC organization. They do not have the social stigma of whatever background they came from. They grow freely like other common children. They grow with all cultural and social values. At the same time they learn various social and cultural values and traditions and are exposed to community life. As a result the children of SAMPARC Orphanage (Balgram) are found strong, contented with culture values and self-esteem.

Role of Mr. K. K. Singhvi

SENIOR ADVOCATE – SUPREME COURT

Mr.Amit Banerjee always used to consider himself as a worker and he always thanks God for getting people like Mr.K.K.Singhvi who was associated with SAMPARC as a President for 22 years. Most prominent lawyer of the country becomes strong support of SAMPARC to help Mr.Amit Banerjee to go ahead in different directions for the interest of poor, needy children. His leadership to SAMPARC was an immense self- less support from all levels. He was a big strength of SAMPARC.

25

YEARS

12,000

CHILDREN

10,000

WOMEN

6,000

YOUTH

In 1973, Amitkumar Banerjee was a student of Bankura Christian College in Bankura, West Bengal. He was also reporting for a local newspaper called Bankura Sanbad. He was deputed to report on a mother who sold her child to a brothel for a few rupees and some kilograms of rice. This changed his outlook towards life and he decided to work for the betterment of destitute children.

Mr. Banerjee did his post-graduation from Xavier Institute of Social Sciences, Ranchi and his subject was Grameen Vikas (Rural Development). He joined Jayaprakash Narayan’s movement for Sampoorna Kranti. As a part of the Bhoodan Movement he went to Gaya, a town in Bihar. There, he worked for landless labors and tried to empower them so they accept that they were not bonded labors, but owners of the land they tilled. Looking at his work Mrs.Bilkees Latif, wife of the then Governor of Maharashtra, Air Chief Marshal Idris Latif and her representative Mrs.Nakhooda invited him to come to Maharashtra and work for Children’s Village program in Maharashtra.
He worked with her for six years. After that, when he decided to go back to Delhi, the other colleagues who had learned so much from him, requested that he should stay back because he was the one who had inspired them. He accepted and that perhaps he could do more to help the children while working with the SOS Children’s Village program.

In 1990, Mr. Banerjee along with his colleague from SOS Children’s Village, Mrs. Lata Pande started SAMPARC — Social Action for Manpower Creation. SAMPARC began with seven orphan children who were brought to them by social workers from Marathwada. It was set up in a mud house close to the famous Bhaje Caves near Lonavala. The idea was to give a new identity to orphans, destitute and children of sex workers. “These children should not be known as children of sex workers or juvenile delinquents but should have their own identity,” Mr. Banerjee is always in opinion that grown up children should be able to earn living with dignity so there was a great emphasis on vocational training.

Mr. Banerjee says it is not a child project; instead, every child is a project– his or her upbringing, education, health and career are very important for their growth and development.

Learning from SOS pattern he too agreed that children should grow in a family environment and a lady should live along with the children as a housemother or to be called foster mother to take care of all the needs of the children mostly psychological and emotional.

Mr. Banerjee and Mrs. Lata Pande ran SAMPARC in the mud house for about four and a half years. The number of children went up from seven to 46. Along with SAMPARC, they began a pre-primary education programme in and around 25 villages with the help of CRY and provided vocational training with the help of IGSSS to village school dropouts in welding, tailoring, and bamboo crafts. SAMPARC, in association with Save the Children Canada, helped to educate more than 200 children were cowherds and gave them primary education and vocational training.

Working in the community for the under privileged family, it was realized that children who go to Government schools need lot of support for education, personality development. A program named Bal Bhavan was started with the help of Garware Bal Bhavan Pune. Bal Bhavan program was started in 6 villages of Maval Taluka. About 300 children were brought under the program. The concept strengthened SAMPARC organization to go ahead for building the future of girl children and thus with the help of K. C. Mahindra Education Trust, Education Support Program named Nanhi Kali was developed in Maval and Mulshi Taluka of Pune District, Maharashtra.

While working in the community the need to support ladies was realized and 400 smokeless -oven were installed and at the same time 250 low cost toilets were installed in 14 villages.
By 1997, SAMPARC became a full-fledged children’s home at village Bhaje, Near Lonavala on four and a half acres of land with a playground. Mrs. Lucilla Monti from Milan, Italy, who became a real Friend of SAMPARC and along with her help Mr. Banerjee, decided to develop SAMPARC organization at the National Level. Also it is important to mention about name of three persons Late Mr.K.K.Singhvi (who was the President of SAMPARC) and Dr.Lalit Chokhani (present President of SAMPARC) and Mr.Rameshji Kacholia of Caring Friends, Mumbai who played an important role for the growth of SAMPARC. Is also important to mention help of Dr. Nico Nobel of Stichting Geron, Netherlands, Mrs. Bonney Christan of FDNF Switzerland.

On March 24, 1998 SAMPARC was awarded by the Government of India the “National Child Welfare Award” by then the Hon. President of India, Mr. K R Narayanan.

Looking at the program involvement, SAMPARC was granted 100% tax exemption for donors, by 35AC certificate by National Committee for Economic Development of Ministry of Finance. With the help of this 35AC Income Tax Exemption Certificate, SAMPARC raised funds to construct 10 houses, one community hall, a small medical center and an office for the benefit of 110 children at Bhaje centre.

The strength of SAMPARC child care program signifies – discipline, strong attitude towards education, good health, sports &, games. At working level, staff ensure love, affection, care & protection which is the main focus area and even small matters related to children is looked into deeply as such the child feels that someone is really concerned for him or her.

It was believed that Homes for the orphan children should be in isolation but SAMPARC grew with the idea that all children needed to grow under a community umbrella, not in isolation rather they should grow in the community with all social, cultural, religious and economic inputs. They need to be identify as other children of the community were they should have all opportunity for their growth and development.