“We always crib…we always accuse,the system is running down still…we choose to refuse
We argue from the cosiest corners, we comment from the safest armchair
Yet we choose to refuse and overlook the rarest of rare
Time to work, time to choose…Welcome to the system, don’t you dare refuse!”
Decentralisation, non-hierarchical, transparent….These were the words always occurring in our chats, our voice calls, messages ....January , February , March April , May 2011,…..Skype use to trouble us all through but still we went on….morning came faster each day. Ishaan Jagan and I had spent months on discussing a platform…A platform of change!
Months had passed when I came back from Belfast, UK, talked with nearly all of my close friends but still couldn’t find the right people. Kolkata as always remained talkative, political but words always ran more than work! Then suddenly Sourav Ganguly, DADA got ousted from Indian Premiere League, within minutes, loads of Groups came up in Facebook condemning the act. Suddenly I realised this can be the right mesh to screen, the right place to look out for active people. While many groups only sported online manifestos very few could actually come out with their on-field cadres, I being one of them. While NO DADA NO IPL continued, in the background the interest for a humanitarian initiative didn’t fade away even for a day.
Slowly I kept on tracing and tracking active people (which is still on till date), passionate souls and on 11th of May 2011, The Civilian force Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/thecivilianforce/ was created and along with that the first step for the welfare organization was initiated.
We aimed to help/ facilitate the actions of all NGOs, societies and even individuals who are standing up for the RIGHT cause- causes that are in the greater interest of overall development. This may appear to be a huge task and many of us may feel that we need to focus on any particular cause. To them our answer is: India is full of real good ‘specific’ NGOs…every little corner has an NGO which is working on a very specified and very important topic and we cannot deny that they are doing a great job. However, target NGOs are like veins which India will need to grow…but the need of the hour is something which works as a junction. Works as an organ which can connect them- facilitate their actions to make change more visible and efficient on the ground.
Here comes The CIVILIAN Force. We know that we may be dreaming big, but that’s the mission. Anything short, anything less will be a compromise.
– See more at: http://www.theinsightout.com/we6/paralympics#sthash.ZZ1LlYE0.dpuf
The first hurriedly organized meeting was at Cafe Coffee Day, South City Mall where so many things from Paralympics, Google Campaign , Right to Education and organising tactics of CWF were discussed.
The following are excerpts from the first meeting minutes
“1. HELP US HELP CRY :As per as the CRY orientation program we have chosen to support the CRY initiative of School Development and Vigilance program. Precisely its targeting a particular Government/Municipal school and help its development. The detailed framework will be published after an extensive discussion with CRY officials, for the basic work plan refer to the doc “HELP US HELP CRY” (coming shortly).
2. PARALYMPICS :We will go ahead with paralympic legend Devendra as a fulcrum to target media, sponsors for Paralympic sportspersons. Our immediate endeavors will project on
- Interviewing other paralympicians
- Post Card campaign suggested by Raj Rindani
- Pushing media and sponsors for those deprived sportspersons
3. GOOGLE DON’T TAMPER INDIA’s MAP
All of us came to the conclusion that we need to launch something substantial so the movement should be both online and on-field. The online campaigns will consists of popularizing by blogs, petitions, and other resources @socialbrite.org .To boost up online campaign we will hit the streets with a sign campaign. The first of its kind will be a 2-DAY Sign campaign in KOLKATA within 15 Days. The necessary arrangements for this campaign which consists of Making Banners, Leaflets, Police permission, Covering media houses in person will be done in the meantime.
4. ORGANIZING The CIVILIAN Force: We need to go through socailbrite and similar websites and further understand what help they can give us in our mission. A core team that sort of quasi-exists, needs to be strengthened with division of responsibilities. Would greatly help to have 2 people handling the same thing- overlapping responsibilities as in a venn diagram. This will help since we all have other things to do and lives to lead…here Ranojoy Chakraborty and Gautam Mazumdar will lead us with our online ventures. The CIVILIAN Force website will be on cards after we start arranging money.
We have agreed on the fact that Registration will be a continuous process along with other existing agendas.”
Slowly but steadily we grew up and our only support were strangers, strangers whom we didn’t know beyond Facebook till then, strangers whose existence was sceptical in nature for many, strangers who did their level best to do anything and everything. The intention was simple, to connect to people with passion in whatever way we can…..Facebook for obvious reasons was instrumental in that. Interns, Volunteers started joining Civilian Force and on 29th December 2011, Civilian Force
was registered as a society by West Bengal Society Registration Act with the name Poddar Park Civilian Welfare Foundation. Civilian Force or Civilian Welfare Foundation is an attempt to break the notion of centralised, corrupt NGO system in India. It is an attempt to work with least of resources to gain maximum benefit for the underprivileged. It is a model system to work with and utilise the youth based literate man power. CWF will not only continue to work in a systemic manner but also venture in research and development process in due course.
These 3 years was tough..tough not for running CWF with zero balance, zero infrastructural expenses, Zero Connections but to make CWF a unit, non-hierarchy and de-centralisation were the toughest challenges to handle and still we toil hard to maintain the same.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our well-wishers, members, interns volunteers and organizations which/who supported CWF all through and without whom CWF wouldn’t have existed. I would appeal the members to continue to serve the society and people at large and help them gain a respectable place in our world.
SHUVOJIT MOULIK , Founder , Civilian Welfare Foundation