Childlife Preserve: Shishur Sevay, the NGO



Childlife Preserve: Shishur Sevay is the name we gave to the organization when we filed formally with the West Bengal Government to receive our registration under the West Bengal Societies Act of 1961.  We wanted to have English and Bengali names.  Childlife Preserve is a play on Wildlife Preserve.   After I came back from a wildlife park in Assam, I thought about a place that protected children, like a preserve.  Shishur Sevay is Bengali and loosely means “in the service of children.”


Founding and registering a society is similar to creating a non-profit in the US, and requires approval for all aspects and missions of the project.  Looking ahead, thinking about what the next generation might want to do, and thinking about young people I know, I decided to make it broad so we could encompass many areas of work. 


Below are listed the particulars that were approved by the government.  My single purpose was to create the orphanage, but the society structure allows for many other projects , in the future for which we can be an umbrella, (or incubator). Maybe there will never be more than what it is today, but the possibilies are there if the interest is there.  It’s open-ended……  I like that.




3.1.                    To provide food, shelter, primary education, primary health care and vocational training for orphan children in

West Bengal

so they may become independent and contributing members of the community.


3.2.                    To establish a home or homes for orphan children in

West Bengal

for the above mentioned purpose provided without any profit making motive.


3.3.                    To establish a non-formal school to educate orphans and destitute children in

West Bengal



3.4.                    To establish other services for orphans, abused children, and destitute children in the community irrespective of religion, caste, or class.


3.5.                    To provide educational, financial and other support necessary for orphan children in institutions and in the community.


3.6.                    To create a model of care of orphans as an alternative to institutionalization.


3.7.                    To organize meetings, workshops, tours, cultural programs, conference seminars, etc. for achieving or furthering the aims of the society.


3.8.                    To prepare and publish, articles, booklets, journals, news letters, bulletins, posters, web pages etc. to further the activities of the society provided without any profit making motive.


3.9.                    To undertake research, studies, documentation, and video documentation in order to raise and bring public awareness on social, cultural, and developmental issues.


3.10.               To undertake relief work and assistance for the benefit of the victims of natural and man-made disasters.


3.11.               To establish services, homes, education, and rehabilitation for destitute and abused women.


3.12.               To establish services, homes, and health care for poor and destitute old people.


3.13.               To directly undertake projects for social, economic, and cultural development of the disadvantaged.


3.14.               To undertake activities which would go toward establishing human rights of the individuals, children, the weaker sections, and the minority communities of the society.


3.15.               To provide legal aid support and build awareness on human rights of children, women, handicapped, destitute, and minority communities.


3.16.               To provide training  on social awareness of women, children, aged, handicapped, destitute, and other minority communities.


3.17.               To collaborate and co-operate with international and national agencies working for the upliftment of children, women, handicapped, aged, destitute, and other minority communities.


3.18.               To set up and manage crèches, non-formal schools, homes and other units which would directly assist different sections of the disadvantages.



The income and properties of the Society whatsoever derived or obtained shall be applied solely towards the promotion of the aims and objects of the society.  The Society will have no mission other than philanthropic activities and in no way be tantamount to running business activities to profit mebers of the Society.



For now we are what our kids march too sometimes;


Amar Barrie, Shishur Sevay


It means, “My house, shishur sevay.”



We received our license!!!!!

For those who have followed this saga, you know what an achievement this is, and what a relief!!!!  And guess what, I’m not so tired!!!!

As for stuff wearing me down, the laptop could not be fixed, so I’m using an older back up one for now, and I was able to take the hard drive out of the broken one and keep the data.  The printer, after many false starts, finally went to the printer hospital, where I learned that mice had eaten the ink tubes, and that’s why ink spilled out all over.  This was not covered by warranty, of course.

The audit is done!  This was another major achievement.  Now we are apreparing for our Annual General Meeting.  Creating the society, registering it, keeping up with the records needed– all takes time, energy, and always new learnings for me.  In my next posting I’ll write about the actual NGO we formed.

Typepad regularly sends out apologies for technical difficulties, but it remains cumbersome and slow, and I recommend it to no one.  But i’m here so I stay with it.  The apologies, made in the name of improved composing of blog entries, are as if that is only a minor part of blogging.  But the word processing or non-processing is a real obstacle.

The girls are fine, as usual.  They talk more and more about their pasts as their English and my Bengali improve.  My current staff really engages with them — as the aunties i’d hoped for.  We have started English classes for the massis each day.

We kept alive a baby crow who had fallen from the nest.  It was doing so well, developed feathers, began to recognize us, and then died last night.  We just had a little funeral for it.  I dug a hole in the garden, near the back wall, and we stood and cried.  The girls had never seen me cry before.  I was quite close to Paki, as I called the bird.  Paki is Bengali for bird.  I have buried so many pets in back yards and gardens — dogs I’ve loved, cats, gerbils, guinea pigs — with monuments and prayers for safe journeys, and hopes that no one ever digs them up.  Paki is along the back wall, beneath two trees, where it is unlikely anyone will dig.  The girls want to plant flowers around the grave.  We will.  In some ways, life is the same everywhere, and so are children with their pets.

Sometimes I’m really tired


 The things that really wear me out:

My printer has spilled ink all over its base.  I put in a new cartridge and it seems to have spilled.  A red light blinks.  The printer doesn’t print.  It is an HP Inkjet.  I bought it here on 5th June, 2007.  Therefore it is 11 days out of warranty.  I buy new cartridges all the time — not refills.

My laptop died about a month ago — needs a new motherboard.  I was able to take out the hard drive and put it in a casing.  I’m using an older laptop from the US.  I had it here but when it broke I had to find ways to get it to US as NO ONE will repair a computer if not from India.  The trouble is a friend tried to upload Explorer 7 and it loaded with an error I can’t get rid of.  It’s a standard error and there are pages of references about it online so it must be a common, and unfixable problem.  So I have to work around that. 

My virus program expired so I got a security program which included virus (the same brand).  I loaded the software but the key won’t work.  I get error messages.  I sent them to the help desk.  They tell me to do things i already tried, and which don’t work.  So, I”ve spent the money buying it online.  I can’t get it to work.  Within the next seven days I MUST do something because the trial is running out for the one I bought.  That will take another day… a day when it feels like all I got done was to fix or play with the computer.

ON THE OTHER HAND… some very good things are happening.  Today we started English lessons for the massis.  They are so happy!  It will be 45 min a day, mid morning, when  other things can be put on hold, and before any kids come home.  The English teacher who teaches the children will teach them.  I really want this place to be good for everyone.  I finally have a very good team and last week I raised their salaries.  Sunday one of them brought her granddaughter for the day and will do so again.  For those with children and grandchildren, I help with school.  This is how I’d always imagined it.



Faces of Dance

The pictures never were posted — I guess a combination of Typepad trouble and my internet trouble, but i just found out, so here are the pictures… Again!




Dance_2_9435-8x10w Dance_3_3101-8x10w Dance_4_3108-8x10w Dance_5_3100w Dance_6_3099aw  Dance_8_3166-8x10w Dance_7_3113-8x10w DanceE+3152w DanceA_9458w End


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June 2008
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