Chetan Ram Godara
Chetan Ram Godara, is the founder of 'Urmul Jyoti Sansathan (UJS)'.Urmul Jyothi Sansthan (UJS) started its efforts in 1995. It is an offshoot of Urmul Trust, which has done legendary work in promoting the co-operative movement in rural Rajasthan. Chetan Ram Godara, who founded this group in his home district of Nokha (Bikaner), is a Civil Engineer by profession and has worked with Urmul Trust since 1986 and was trained by Sanjay Ghosh. Sanjay Ghosh made significant contributions through Urmul in Rajasthan, and he then got involved with similar efforts in Assam where he was killed a few years back.
Urmul Jyoti Sansathan (UJS) is a relatively young organization, which started its efforts in 1995.UJS is an offshoot of Urmul Trust.UJS' major thrust has been education since inception. UJS employs 25 full-time workers. Its main initiatives are following:
- Run 31 non-formal education centers. It works with Lok Jumbish on this effort. However, its involvement with Lok Jumbish is on the decline as Lok Jumbish has become more bureaucratic.
- Girl education camp for girls between the ages of 10 and 15. The duration of these residential camps is 6 months. About 120 girls with no prior schooling or formal education are selected and educated through 5th standard in the 6 months. At the end of 6 months the local Block education officer administers the 5th standard exam.
- Since 1996-97 it expanded its efforts to include health. It ran health camps including one for cataract eye operations. With the help of funding agencies it has opened a small eye hospital.
- In 1997 it formed Jagruk Nagrik Manch (JNM). This is a citizens' forum to create awareness and to help people fight corruption in their day-to-day interaction with government. Although this has been a new effort this program has proved to be extremely successful.
- In most of the villages that UJS has worked with, there is a huge waiting list of girls wishing to join the camp. This speaks volumes for the credibility that UJS has built up through its work with advocacy issues, rights issue, such as protecting villagers from corrupt government officials.
- UJS publishes a small pamphlet for the graduates of its campus program called "Gram Saheli". This newsletter has articles on a number of relevant topics such as recent initiatives by the government in their respective villages. UJS also holds an annual mela (fair) for its camp alumni students. This lasts for about 5 days, and there a number of social/education items on the agenda. Girls from far away come to these melas. The attendance of the married alumni was remarkable in the last mela.
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