Justice for Workers and Marginalized Communities in India UU Holdeen India Program
UU Holdeen India Program
This congregational trip to India will explore Unitarian Universalist Holdeen India Program (UUHIP) partner Vidhayak Sansad’s ongoing work for justice for tribal and dalit communities in the region surrounding Mumbai. Vidhayak Sansad’s center, in a verdant valley 50 miles outside of Mumbai, is the home of the labor union Shramajeevi Sanghatana. The center’s grounds include a training center for union activists and a school for over 200 tribal girls. Vidhayak Sansad has been a UUHIP partner for nearly 25 years.
UUHIP and UUCSJ will work with your congregation to craft an itinerary that meets the needs of Vidhayak Sansad and your group. We are looking for congregations that have an established social justice ministry that would benefit from working and learning along side a grassroots Indian justice organization.
We can accommodate one or two congregations to travel with us in January 2015. If you are interested in learning more, please fill out this short trip inquiry form . We will get back to you within a couple of days.
Cost: $1,900 per person, not including airfare. Price includes all ground costs — food, lodging, transportation — as well as pre- and post-trip resources, interpreters, and the guidance of experienced program leaders.
Please note: Parts of this journey will be physically rigorous, including stairs, walking on unpaved streets and pathways, extensive time outside in 85 degree + temperatures, and sleeping for several nights in villages without plumbing. If you have doubts about your physical stamina please contact a member of the UUCSJ staff before completing your application. In addition, most meals will be comprised of simple, traditional Indian food, which is often spicy; special dietary needs cannot be accommodated.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
For general orientation to and understanding of India, we ask that you read two books before the trip. They are quick reads and very informative:
In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India, by Edward Luce
UUCSJ’s Study Guide, a resource for cross-cultural engagement
We Are Poor But So Many: The Story of Self-Employed Women in India, by Ela R. Bhatt (available directly from UUCSJ on request, $15 including shipping)
The UU Holdeen India Program (UUHIP) is a powerful expression of Unitarian Universalist values in action. Since 1984, UUHIP has been partnering with grassroots organizations in India to support their struggles for justice, equity, and dignity. Their groundbreaking work has brought hope and empowerment to millions. Rev. Meg Riley has said, “In my opinion, the Holdeen India Program has done the most effective work for social justice in the history of Unitarian Universalism” Said Rev. Meg Riley.
Vidhayak Sansad (VS) was established in 1979 to support the development of marginalized communities in rural Maharashtra. The organization’s programs and campaigns emphasize universal education ; organizing the rural poor for their rights; women’s empowerment ; training in human-rights activism ; economic development.
Viddhayak Sansad works in close coordination with its allied trade union, Shramjeevi Sanghatana, to reach the most neglected and abused sections of society, including tribal people, dalits, impoverished women, and children. It emphasizes the development of self-reliance and empowerment among the rural poor alongside effective government intervention.
Derek Mitchell, UUHIP’s director, has lived and worked in India for much of the last 10 years. Before his current position, he was a researcher and writer in India who earned fellowships from the Institute of Current World Affairs and Fulbright Program.
Mahesh Upadhyaya is director of the Solidarity Center, a program to cultivate and develop labor-union leaders around India. Currently a seminarian at Meadville Lombard, he is a recognized mentor of social activists throughout India.