Sustainable Economic and Educational Development Society (SEEDS) is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in the US. It promotes sustainable advancement of the people, focusing primarily in the state of Orissa, India.
SEEDS began as a registered student organization at the University of Texas at Austin, and is now incorporated in the state of Oregon, USA. This article provides a glimpse into our organization.
Philosophy And Aspiration
SEEDS philosophy is rooted in our wish to promote educational and economic progress and development for the common folks particularly in Orissa, but in the developing world in general. We, in principle, also would take stand against social evils and injustices whenever possible. We hope that these, in turn, would indirectly bring about and foster the other important ingredient — political consciousness– among the people.
We do not believe in simple, conventional charity. Rather we believe in working as perhaps catalysts and facilitators of development — the exact roles for people near or on the field will naturally differ from those of volunteers who are abroad. Fundamentally, we support and promote the sort of development that is
- SUSTAINABLE (long-term, self-supporting, environmentally non-predatory),
- EQUITABLE (fair and just, more for the needy), and
- DE-CENTRALIZED (not imposed from above, grass-roots, native solutions, free-thinking).
Our financial support is only catalytic; we largely rely on selfsufficiency-promoting loans and strategic/technical help to the beneficiaries. We hope this will eventually grow into a movement of “participatory consciousness for sustainable & equitable development” among non-resident Indians and Orissans worldwide.
When Did It Start
It started in March of 1993 in the wake of shocking news of inhuman misery and deprivation in the famine-affected region of Orissa, as a result of extensive discussion on a electronic medium called ORNET. Initially, it was informally called “Kalahandi-Bolangir Initiative”. The effort was organized into an independent group in April, 1994. The group was formally named as “Sustainable Economic & Educational Development Society” (SEEDS), reflecting its broader focus and philosophy.
Brief, Concrete Objectives
We seek to be conscionable agents of sustainable, non-violent, democratic and equitable development in Orissa and elsewhere. Towards this end, we see the need to educate ourselves and other non-residents, to raise monetary contributions and ideas from among us to catalytically help development workers and ordinary people to help themselves achieve their freedom from hunger, deprivation, ignorance, and exploitation — the many socio-economic & political ills. We do not have delusions of any quick, grand changes by a few of us, but we hope the movement grows among more people to steadily but surely proceed towards that lofty goal. The two facets of our goal:
- We serve as ambassadors/messengers of the SEEDS philosophy. This is the awareness part. We bring to light people’s suffering and inequity to help alleviate/eradicate the problem. Mobilize youths and others outside Orissa who will be forward-looking in this respect. Serve as an incubator for new and viable ideas of development.
- We try to financially and morally support/adopt some small-scale, grass-roots development projects in Orissa, and later, beyond. This will give us
a. first-hand knowledge about the issues of progress
b. volunteering opportunities
c. concrete milestones to achieve, and more.
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