President Dr.Sanjeevani kelkar
I was born in Pune , a busy educationally famous city in Maharashtra , India. My family was a well to do family of medical practitioners. I studied in Hujurpaga school , S P college and in B J medical college in Pune. I married Dr Satish Kelkar knowing fully well that the small town of Sangola would be my lifetime residence henceforth. I came to Sangola in 1973. Actually I was the first and for many years the only lady doctor in the Sangola Taluka
I started practicing and came to know the glaring difference between the lifestyles of women in the cities and those in the far off villages. The terrible famine of 1972 had literally burnt the face of Sangola. Extreme water scarcity , debt ridden farmers , lack of education and health due to poverty , addictions and the male dominant culture had made the female population totally helpless and downtrodden. All the ladies were under extreme stress , without a sign of happiness and hope. And of course the children were sailing in the same boat.
While practicing I had such heartrending experiences , that I started re-evaluating my ideas about morality , culture and human values. The helplessness of these village ladies made me extremely restless. And the restless , aghast mind started looking for solutions if any.
At this time I met Pratibha Pujari and Neela Deshpande. Together we decided to take some action. We didn’t have any experience of social work , didn’t have financial resources, nor did we have any political backing. What we had in abundance was an inner desire and empathy. With that strength we started weekly meetings called ‘Mahila Sahavichar Kendra’ (centre for group meetings for ladies). That was in 1978.This was the first tiny spark.
What really helped was my medical practice and the respect as well as the trust that the Kelkar family had gathered over the years. Village women from all strata started participating in the activity in large numbers. Our communication and empathy succeeded in gaining their trust. We gathered some more similar minded ladies from our culture. The late Mr. Nanaji Deshmukh guided us in further building up the centre and in 1981 we registered this movement , this activity as ‘Mata Balak Utkarsh Pratishthan’ with the charity commissioner. –The first stage was over.
This movement of transformation was ‘for the rural women , of the women and by the women’. Operated on a “no profit” basis , it aimed at (1) Empowering and centered around the village woman and the development of her family and (2) Providing quality education to the village students.
We aimed to lighten the lamps of Development and a Change for the betterment in the village culture. We focused on the Environment of Literacy – started working in earnest and the movement for the Change got illuminated. We had a true compassion , a lot of real sympathy for the downtrodden village woman and all of us had the selfless urge to work for them. The movement was established.
Educated, self earning women from various families led the movement.
All the hands that propagated the movement forward were local ladies – those ladies who became a part of the Sahavichar Kendra and who gained confidence from it came forward to work for us in various capacities.
We only had to recognize their strong points and they worked with full enthusiasm and allegiance to the upcoming institution.
The Movement of transformation needed the all important funding and guidance from experts. A lot of legendary personalities came forward and stood behind the institution probably because they saw the selflessness and the honesty of the trustee. Their names deserve a mention here –
Individuals – Dr.Ashokrao Kukade,Nirmala Purandare, Shalaka Soman, Gayatri Sevak, Balasaheb and Nirmala Apte,Hema Honwad, Aditi Natu, Sanjeevani Bokil, Amruta Pethkar , Aarati Pawar, Dhanashree Shejvalkar, Andrew Lederer & Robert Coenwel, Aparna Ramteerthka, Kanchan Parulekar, Suvarna Gokhale, Jayashree Shidore , Chandrika Chauhan , Pramod Kulkarni , Vivek Atre and so many others.
Institutions – Build a School in India(USA), Sevavardhini , NABARD , Patel foundation , Vanasthali Gramin vikas yantrana , Swayamsidhha , Rambhau Mhalagi prabodhini , Dyanprabodhini , Grammangal , Sakal newspaper industry group , N A B, Miraj.
As on today , more than 45000 people have received help through the Mata Balak Utkarsh Pratishthan. Our movement seems to be able to establish the Woman as being a ‘respected family member’ rather than a consumable commodity ,students from villages are achieving a lot of peaks in verious fields, and our water conservation works are sutisfing thirst of hunders of people.