Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 11, 2008


Opening ceremonyBANANA Paper


2008, 5, 10,

Last group of our class went back to Tokyo.

Erzsebet, Sohni, Midori, Takeshi, Yuri, Yurie, Venessa, and I spend extra 4 days in India after our class projects. We could see more aspects of India. Every city has different face, and its own characters. 

We visited Dehli, Agra, and Jaipura in 4 days.

I learned many things during this trip. Many things were Ist time for me. I could see the role of NGOs in this country with my own eyes. I also saw many problems that NGOs are facing.

During our extra 4 days trip, I met many young boys who are younger than me and work in cities. Some sale jewels on the streets, and some ride bicycles taxi on the steets. They were like 16 and 17 years ole, and smaller than me. They had no choice but work, because they have to live.

Compare to those young boys, our life are much happier, and easier than theirs.



Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 5, 2008

Self Help Groups

Today is basically the last day of our program.

Through this trip, I have been very impressed that staff of MSSRF, people in villages we visited and also professors working on NGOs have a lot of efforts to try to improve the Indian people’s lives.

I personally felt that it is very hard to run and maintain Self Help Groups by themselves. For examle, Shortage of resources, such as electoricity and warter, are still major problems in villages I visited. I thought that solar panels were good solutions for electricity shortage, but they were not because the maintenance cost is a lot. Possible solutions for this problem are inverter, car batteries and biogas.

There are other difficulties and I felt that they are interconnected. However, as I listened, observed and felt that people in villages can do that with help of MSSRF and finally by themselves because of their passion! I believe that they can do it!

Midori Kosaka

Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 4, 2008

I am in CHENNAI district which is so hot in many ways.

This is Sonhi Park speaking!      May I have your attention please ?  🙂

Hello everybody ! from Chennai to all over the world.  This is 10:30 PM (3rd May) now and I am about to tell you something briefly about my experience through NGO workshop in India.  I was supposed to do blogging on May 1st, but was not invited wrting here for  some reason.  So the content would be mostly about May 1st.  Too many to talk everything 😦  My appologies.  Now, there are some mosquitos liking me in this tech center, so I will have to write and finish soon I guess 😦 

Since I came to India, there were loads of things I faced to.  Not like everywhere in Japan, Indian society may be confronting the big gaps between city and country side, and people’s living in these areas.  During NGO field trips in India, I saw extremely poverty in streets and it was really hard to ignore shocking views through the car window.  Just because I did not get used to this circumstance.  I was totally shocked how people behave.   Interestingly, this is so beautiful view that everyone is so nice and friendly.  Also they seems always happy and smiley in such a hot and dusty environment.    Methink this is coming from their believe in Gods.  Always be appriciate their “Life” given.  I am not a religious person and believe in anything that could lead me to lucky situations, but I though having something to follow change people’s attitudes toward live..?  If it’s true, I recommend Japanese people not to waste their live by killing themselves in the stressful society.  In many ways, I realized that people in this countries are beautifully strong and could be a good example of “Nice-person”.    

Apart from that, May 1st was pretty amazing day for me amongst any other days.  Unfortunately, my case study was cancelled though, I could visit Coffee plantation on the mountain and Sevankkariyanpatty (hand paper unit) along with my mates and professors.  About the Coffee plantation, I could not imagine how they plant and grow crops in such a high altitude, but it was really working!!!  Not only Coffee plantation, but also they plant pretty flowers as well.  I was glad to visit there to see how everything went on.. Such a great adventure too.  when I talk about the hand make paper unit, I was too exciting about powerful women’s great jobs.  As I expected, there are colourful paper produced were hang up.  (still being dried) Hand made paper made of Banana peals were so cute, and it was what the Japanese girls really like.  While we listend to the lecture, we found that workers got trained at  certain paper factory which is really famous for its paper productions.  I thought getting training at different place from where they work is quite important experiece for them to learn for the future.  Learn from the other!  “To get skills takes time..” like someone told me.  But I believe in this word and hope more prosperity in Sevankkariyanpatty !   In the end, I bought those special papers for me, and my friends back in Tokio.

So far so good…and 2 weeks went by so quicky.  I appriciate all of amazing opportunity in India.  

Wishing me and India’s development !!!  

Sonhi Park Korean 🙂         


Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 4, 2008

From the middle of India

Hi everyone!!

I just can’t believe that more than a week has past since we arrived at Dehli Airport. I know that India was a country with many people, and that it is developing at a high speed. Though, I just can’t believe that I would see many cell phones and sooooo many cars on the road. Also the driving manners in this country was really a shock to me. All of the drivers honk their horns, and it would be strange if you didn’t. (I got a driver’s lisence in Japan, and this is not what I have learned at driving school!)

Well, I’ll now talk about the project that I am supposed to write on this blog which is also my case study =)

We went to a Women’s Self Help Group (WSHG) in Dindigul district. At this WSHG they were producing hand made paper out from banana and cotton waste. This is good for the environment because banana wastes will only suck up the water that the new banana trees will need in order to grow. According to the story that they shared with us, they are producing more varieties of products such as; notebooks, paper bags, cards, and folders in all sorts of colors. They are still paying off their loans which they borrowed in order to start this handmade paper plant unit, but will finish it within this year.  After paying off their loans there are varieties of ways that they can enlarge their work, since I was able to sense their passion and pride towards their work. I’m going to write my case study on this project today, and hope that our group can come with good recommendations so this WSHG can grow and enlarge their business.

Well, there is a presentation that I need to attend in about 15 minutes, so I will end my part here and hand it on to the next person!!

See ya=)



Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 2, 2008

Hello from India :)

Hi guys, this is Yurie.

It’s been about a week since we got here, India. Today, I would like to share my impressions and experiences that I have had so far in this country. Ok, here is my first question for you.

“Do Indian cell phone have manner mode??”

I am asking this becaue I was shocked that it seems none of Indian people cares about their cell phone noise.  Althought middle of meeting, discussion, programs, their cell phone ring really loudly anyways.  And funny part it that they pick their cell phone. If you have lived in Japan, you know that you can’t do it in Japan.  So I though that Indian cell phones do not have manner mode, but I have to check it before I leave.

Although I have visitied foreign country before, this is my first time to feel that I am gaijin. I am so gaijin in India.  People just look/stare at me in everywhere.  At street, Temple, department store, villages, and everywhere.  It is not something that I am uncomfortable with, but it is just new to me. Sometimes people try to talk to me and they ask my name, nationality, and age and stuff like that.  Even though each converstaion is really short, they seems happy to talk with gaijin.  But people here (Tamil Nadu) sometimes laught at my name beacuse it sounds similar to fertiliyer name so something…

About food, I miss Japanese food so badly.  I love Indian food and I enjoyed first couple of days, but now I need Japanese food. Most of Indian food are made with manz different kinds of spices.  And they all taste kind of same, taste of masara.

Ok, now I would like to talk about I we have done so far in terms of class project.  Basically what we do is seeing works of MSSRF in India.  We visited many places here in Tamil Nadu and MSSRF has done brilliant works.

Today, we visited small vilage to attend opening ceremony of Village Knowledge Center.  They welcomed us very warmly and they were really happy to have this center.  One of a guy from this village told us that their status of livings are really low and most of people cannot read and write.  This is partly because their caste. I did not get which caste they are belong to, but it is really sad that many opportunities are lacked because of caste system.  Personally, I believe that educaton eventually hel to reduce poverty and improve status of livings, so I hope that this klowledge center will help this village in many ways in the future.  What I realize in this village is that people are really nice.  Entire village welcomed us and I was reallz happy to see their smiles. One of wonderful things about India is that community and neigobors get together strongly to work on some issues. So I am sure that this village will be able to achieve many improvements in the future.

Lastly, I would like to mention how awesome this class is in terms of people.  We care each other and I have a lot of fun with them. We have many nationalities and each has different backgrounds so that we can share many things.  I have learned a lot from others and I am very happy to be in this class.  Also our professors, guets, and members of MSSRF have been done so many for us, so I would like to thank all of them.  It will be a last  day with Harish tomorrow, but I hope that we are going to keep in thouch forever.

Ok guys, we still have case study and presentation, but it is almost end!! Ganbarou ne : )


Yurie Mishiro

Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 2, 2008

ill in india


Today is our last night in Dindigul. we had a fairly relaxing day today, we were able to sleep in an extra hour (9 instead of 8). either way it was still hard to get up knowing that i was again only going to eat a plain omlet and toast, but i’ll expand on that later. Following breakfast we had a meeting in the oval room to discuss what we had learned so far and answer any other questions we had. After the meeting we had free time to work on our case studies and rest up. At four o’clock the group left to go see more learning centers. I stayed back due to horrible stomach pain and diarrhea, apparently missing a good time. oh well sho ga nai i suppose…

As for personal experience here thus far it has been a rollercoaster of sickness. i think i cursed myself when i said i usually don’t get sick. besides Takeshi i was the first one to be really sick on this trip. i was fine in Delhi until the last few hours. As we were checking our bagagge for the plane to Chinnai i started to feel not so well. at first i thought i was feeling the effects of the bumpy bus ride to the airport but it turns out the food we had just eaten was not agreeing with me. i spent the time before boarding running to the bathroom or bent over in a chair praying i was not going to be sick on the plane. well all my praying worked for nothing and i proceeded to do what i never thought i would, get sick on the plane. i know some people are terrified to fly but i love it and so figured i would never have to use a barf bag. i ended up using about 6 of them. i felt so bad for Sonhi who had to sit next to me. luckily we had 3 seats for the 2 of us and i could lay down for most of the flight. Sonhi was sweet and slept with her hand on my head.

Since coming to Southern India i have been getting better and getting sick on and off, mostly tummy problems no more nausia than God. Since we have Indian food everyday i have been eating toast and eggs for breakfast and anything not oily and curry like for lunch and dinner which is just rice… aside from getting sick, this experience has been very memorable. meeting the people from the groups and villages playing with the children was one of the best times of my life.  even though we speak different languages and couldn’t understand each other when they would smile back at me it was more than enough. right now i miss Tokyo and America, but i know i will miss India a little too when i leave.  This trip and being sick has certainly brought our class a little closer.

Bernadette Reynolds (B-chan)

Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 2, 2008

Boku no onaka wa daijoubou

Namaste Everyone,

India has been great so far. This place is probably as far away as you can get in terms of culture from Japan. In New Delhi the chaos some how manages itself where as in Tokyo everything is organized for chaos. I think driving here is probably more dangerous than sky diving. The entire group started out in the large city of New Delhi and now we are in the small southern town of Dindigul.

Here we are seeing many projects that are developed by M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation ( One important project is the Village Knowledge Center (VKC). VKCs are computer based knowledge centers that provide internet. They provide information that is relevant to the community needs such as weather for farmers. Another goal of VKCs is to increase the population of literates. Through the computer and other devices such as digital cameras the VKCs teach the written local languages in a manner that is relevant to the community by teaching daily used items and situations. In addition to this the VKCs are independent of gender, caste, and age thus giving the chance to become literate to all.

It was amazing to see what we studied in class actually being used. These VKCs are in very rural areas where one would never think they would see a computer. It goes to show that Information Communication Technologies are working and are essential to spread not only information but also literacy.


Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 1, 2008

Visit to Sevankkariyanpatty-Handmade Paper Unit

This afternoon, we visited Sevankkariyanpatty Handmade Paper Unit. This unit is consisted with 10 female members, financially and technologically supported by MSSRF, including friends of MSSRF in Japan. They have been doing terrific jobs making really cool, colorful, and high quality handmade papers. Most of us ended up buying their handmade notebooks and paper folders as for the souvenirs for our friends and family. ( I personally thought that they should raise the price of their products so that workers can get more revenues. The small notebook that I bought was only 10 rupees. )

The biggest impact on me from visiting this handmade paper unit was that their work is eco-friendly, saving production costs by using banana and recycled papers to make papers. Therefore, their work prevents the deforestation, which can consequently solve many global issues, such as climate change, loss of animal habitat, flood etc. Also, their work barely requires electricity, so it is good for the environment!

I was just amazed by how they save the natural resources, maximizing profits by using small amount of natural resources, in the process of making papers, and they do not waste any resources. I thought that there are many things we need to learn from their work in terms of recycling and saving the resources. People, especially in developed countries, have a tendency to throw many things away, which are still usable, because many of them do not know how important natural resources are. It would be nice if each one of us could learn the work of Sevankkariyanpatty Handmade Paper Unit and deepen the knowledge of importance of natural resources and recycle. I strongly believe that this can make a significant change improving the global issues, such as global warming. 

Also, I finally got over from the bad diarrhea that I suffered for many days so I was really happy today!! ( I apologize if this disgusted you! ) Thank god that I got medicine at the hospital the other day! lol I hope people who are not feeling well will get well soon and hope all of us enjoy and learn from this trip. 

Thank you!!!

Takeshi Tanaka

Posted by: ngoclass2008 | May 1, 2008

Experiences with MSSRF

Most of our time spent here has been with MSSRF in Dindigul.  Dindigul is a South Indian town in Tamil Nadu that is famous for implementing a successful community development program within India, something that India has had trouble with.  One of the great things that MSSRF is doing is promoting community development from the local level.  What you find in the failures of International development is states and experts trying to implement what they think is best for the people even thought it doesn’t fit a communities needs.  What MSSRF is trying to do is the opposite; talk to the local people, gain knowledge of their needs and implement strategies that are successful in the developed world but are simplified to be taught at the local level where it can be easily understood and implemented by the community themselves and not some outside organization.

One of the places that we went that had an impact on me was the Seed Grower’s Association.  This was a collection of farmers who joined together in order to build their bargaining power with produce traders and gain knowledge on better farming techniques.  The reason why this was important to me was because I was able to see first, the application of knowledge and practice through community learning, and second, take a first hand look at the detrimental effects that the developed countries farming policies have on developing countries farmers.  It was amazing to see that the farmers knew exactly the differences between countries like Japan and the US who could help their farmers, but in India, where about 80% of their economy is agriculture, their farmers get no help from the government and must fend for themselves in order to stay competitive.   MSSRF has done great things in helping them organize to give them some competitive advantage yet, a lot must be done.  It was unfortunate to hear their story because I knew immediately they were in a dire straits situation and that the only answer to easing their troubles was not easy.  But given that the developed countries will never ever get rid of their farming subsidies, when MSSRF asked me to give some advice on what the farmers should do, I blushed.  I had never been put in this very incredible real world situation before, where I was pitted against the aims for development and having to give answers to questions I did not know if they were correct or not.   However, it seemed that my knowledge about the subject had developed interest amongst MSSRF and the Seed Grower’s Association and for the first time I realized how much of an impact my studies, my work and my interests could have in helping to shape the global development sphere that could in fact leave the farmers, and maybe even the local community, better off.  

If there is one thing this course was able to do, it was the ability to put me face to face with real world problems that we have been studying for the semester and actually place our confidence to the test.

Steven Frable

Posted by: ngoclass2008 | April 30, 2008

My impression of India

Arriving to India I was so attracted by how much it differs from Japan because of the atmosphere and the people’s daily lives.  There are not many tall buildings and the shapes of houses are different compared to Japan, but that is why I’m so interested in India. Also most of the Indian women wear sarees, wild cows are waiting in font of traffic lights, carts pulled by cows are everywhere, and decorated elephants are walking around in the steets. With so many exciting things going on I couldn’t stop taking pictures.

Although there are many interesting sights it’s also depressing because there is a large different gap between rich and poor people. Some rich people live in gorgeous houses, but at the same time, poor people live in houses which are made simply, and the kitchens are outside. Some children beg for food from people who are in cars by showing their empty skinny stomachs. But children seem to never give up! Almost all of children seem really happy and smile to us and wave their hands. They also like to have their pictures taken by us. When we took pictures, they were so happy and excited. When we showed the pictures to them, they enjoyed it so much. I realized another thing when I went to the ARPANA School where is located in a slum. All of the children were so eager to study, but unfortunately I don’t think Japanese children are like them. Japanese children feel like they have to study so they go to school. These things were what most impressed me about India.  


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