It was a overcast Sunday morning. It was not raining though. The Ichhapur Headquarter of the Shevashram was as usual busy—patients flocked into the low cost medical facility, guardians waited into the waiting hutments for their day-scholar wards undergoing Sunday classes, the inmates were busy with their daily chores, some were cleaning the yards, some washing their clothes and spreading them on a piece of green field to dry in the open air.

Sukharanjan and Shyamal, two representative from the Devipur village, who are spearheading the movement there, had already reached the Ichhapur Ashram from Devipur on 10th July and had initiated the discussions with the Ashram authorities. As per their reports, since the last workshop they have achieved the followings:

I. Feasibility study of the men’s proposed project of the multipurpose agro processing plant.

II. Feasibility study of the proposal for soft toy making by the women and market study for alternative work plans for women.

III. Forming a core group of willing families who would participate in the experiment.

After the arrival of the Joydhak team in the Ashram premises at around 10 AM on 11th July, the workshop started.

JOYDHAK - Devipur ExperimentThe day-long process resulted into the following decisions:

(a) Opening three sales outlets of the local products from the village, with the assistance from the Ashram. The outlets will be opened in Icchhapur, Medinipur and Katwa. The profit will go into setting up of a multipurpose agro processing plant in the village.Target dates for opening of the first outlet is 15th August'2010 and the rest two withi 1st week of October'2010.

(b) the formation of a voluntary family based self help group in the village who will run the business. 10 families from the village have volunteered for participating in the experiment.

(c) An understanding was reached between the Ashram and the village regarding the Ashram providing in situ infrastructure as well as permission to use its name and goodwill as brand by the villagers in order to sell their products.

(d) A location based stitching center for the village women for which the Ashram provided the space in the village as well as the sewing machines. The members of the self help group themselves are arranging the marketing without any outside help.

The detailed report including the basic theory that is being tested in the experiment is available HERE.