These lines of Mother Teresa, an epitome of love and care acted as inspiration for some renowned professionals of South Kolkata (West Bengal), who had a spark to serve the society in all possible way. Their journey started with the fight for land rights of a group of Oraon tribes living in Naktala area of South Kolkata. In the process, these enthusiastic minds formed a small organisation named “Naktala Centre for Socio-Economic Reform and Environmental Conservation” that will work for people, with the people and by the people. Developmental
consultants and renowned social workers joined hands and thus the organisation was registered in 1996 under the West Bengal Society Registration Act 1961.
Continuing their support to the Oraon tribe, the organisation approached Tribal Welfare department, Government of West Bengal, Urban Land Reforms department, Government of West Bengal and Calcutta Municipal Corporation. The organisation fought for establishing the land right of the tribe but sidewise they started educating the whole family of the tribes so that they become self-dependent. Women Empowerment was one of the motto as it is said a whole family is educated if the women of the family is educated. Night schools were started for these women with support from eminent local people, senior citizens and some Community Based Organisations (CBOs). Once the mothers of the kids understood the value of education, they started sending their children to the school.
Apart from educating the community, the organization worked on their healthy sanitation process and managed safe drinking water facility, ration card, voter card and birth certificate. Finally in 1998, the efforts of the organisation were paid in the form of the tribe getting their land right. It was a great victory for the organisation also as it has been the motivation behind its coming into existence.
Following this, the group started with some relief works in remote areas of South 24 Parganas and Sundarbans with the support of different local administrative bodies. Appreciation started pouring in adding to the energy level of the volunteer team. In 1996, the organization was registered under the Societies Registration Act XXVI of 1961 on 1996-97.
In 2001, the organization was renamed and registered under the name SEED (Society for Socio Economic and Ecological Development). With the help of local community members and different Community based organisations, SEED started fund raising activities for various developmental initiatives. The organisation developed a platform for various social action programmes to alleviate social and economic problems of the people of different regions of West Bengal especially in the peri-urban and remote rural areas with four focus points- Education, Equality, Empowerment and Environment.
The first significant project of SEED was on ‘Environmental awareness mapping programme’ in the KMC ward No 100, which was sponsored by ‘West Bengal Pollution Control Board’ in 1999. The project was accomplished with the maximum involvement of the local people and local CBOs.
The second project was a humble attempt on finding out ‘Problems and prospects regarding formation of SHGs (Self Help Groups) among rag pickers in East Kolkata’. This project with the aim of Women Empowerment in Rag Picking community was sponsored by CARE India, another national level development organisation.
The next project in ‘East Kolkata Wetland area’ was totally self-funded. The aim of the project was to work on the vulnerable communities of the area, support in their development and education. The main purpose was to organize a campaign to declare it as a protected area. It also aimed at biodiversity conservation, wetland conservation and livelihood development. Henceforth, there was no looking back and SEED continued to work for the people to bring about a positive change. SEED was one of the implementing NGOs of ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project), West Bengal funded by World Bank in Sagar Block of Sundarbans. It has successfully
implemented livelihood development activities of two Gram Panchayats (Rudrangar and Muriganga-1) of Sagar Block from 2012 to 2015 and mobilized more than 250 Self Help Groups during this period. Now, SEED is forming and mobilizing 500 women SHGs under NABARD supported SHG Bank Linkage programme in 4 Blocks of Sundarbans.
SEED is also a member of CANSA (Climate Action Network South Asia) from West Bengal. Our activities are now focused now Climate Change affects and adaptation in Sundarbans and other parts of West Bengal. The organization has provided various alternate livelihoods training to the women of Sundarban such as – Organic farming, Handicraft Item Preparation, Climate Adaptive Animal Husbandry and Aquaculture etc.
Empowerment is impossible without proper education. Hence, the organization runs Non-formal schools in Sagar Island, Diamond Harbour and Jharkhali Island to support the education of vulnerable coastal community children. The school in Sagar was started to educate the primitive Lodha tribe who are the first generation learners. Later, other vulnerable community children were also admitted in the school. SEED also works for the right of the children in various parts of the state.
The detailed activities of SEED can be found in “Our Activities” page.