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Fourth International 2015

Fourth International Conference on Spirituality & Social Work

19 – 21 February, 2015

 Theme:

Promoting Social Justice and Empowerment: Addressing Local and Global Challenges

At

BPHE Society’s
Centre for Studies in Rural Development
Institute of Social Work and Research
Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India

Supported by

Savitribai Phule Pune University
under Quality Improvement Programme 

Report of 4th International Conference

In continuation with the series of the conferences, BPHES’ CSRD-Institute of Social Work and Research organized fourth International Conference under the broader theme of Spirituality and Social Work. The first conference which was organized in December 2011 was on Religion, Spirituality and Social Work: Exploring Connections. The second conference was organized on the theme of Enhancing Commitment for Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Societies in January 2013.  The third international conference was held in March, 2013 on the theme of Vision for Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Societies.

The 4th International Conference was organized on Promoting Social Justice and Empowerment: Addressing local and Global Challenges.  The conference was supported by the Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune. The main purpose of the conference was to explore and consolidate the best practices and ideological foundations for social transformation. This conference provided an opportunity for academic exchange and sharing with national and international academicians, professional practitioners and research scholars from interdisciplinary fields. Eminent scholars, researchers, practitioners and the representatives of various organizations have shared their views and vision on the conference theme. The conference had 9 keynote addresses and 30 paper presentations. The main theme of the conference was divided in to five different themes. These are as follows:

  • Social Justice and Empowerment: Contemporary issues and challenges.
  • Social Inclusion, Human Rights and Empowerment of Special Groups and Marginalised Communities
  • Strategies and approaches to promote Equality, Freedom and Justice
  • Contribution of Spirituality and Religion for promoting Social Justice and Empowerment
  • Initiative and Engagement of Government, Civil Society Organization and Corporate Sector in Social Justice and Community Empowerment

The conference received very good response, there were 45 papers received for the conference. Among which the committee have shortlisted 42 papers which were related to the conference theme. From these 44 papers 30 papers were presented in the conference. In this conference proceeding, the details of plenary sessions and papers presented in the conference are briefly presented.

Opening session

The Conference began at 4 p.m. on 19th Feb 2015 with inaugural function. The brief background and objectives of the conference was presented by Dr. Suresh Pathare (Director, CSRD-ISWR). Fr. Kuruvilla spoke about the relevance of spirituality in current scenario. Dr. Gina Chowa (UNC, USA) spoke about the issues of youths in developing country. Dr. Ravindra Chavan, Director, YASHDA spoke about the existing condition of development in the country and initiatives of government to bring quality and justice in society.  The key note address was given by Dr. Abdul Shaban (Deputy Director, TISS, SRD). In his address, Dr. Shaban spoke about the plight of minorities and other backward groups in country specifically Muslims and SC/ST. The presidential address was given by Dr. N M Aston (Chairman, BPHE Society). Finally formal inaugural session ended with the vote of thanks by Mr. Suresh Mugutmal.

The inaugural session was followed by the cultural programme performed by CSRD students about the culture of Maharashtra.

Technical Sessions of the Second Day, 20th February 2015

Technical sessions of the Conference were conducted on the second and the third day. The second day had altogether 5 technical sessions – two plenary sessions and three concurrent sessions.

The first set of concurrent sessions began at 8.30 a.m. in two different halls. In golden jubilee hall, the first concurrent session was held under the chairmanship of Ms. Anjai Maydeo. Three papers were presented during this session. The first presentation was done by Ms. Rebecca Brigham on Cultural Humility. She explained how a study abroad experience shapes social work values. She talked about the learning from collaborative studies, visits and exposure tours between University of North Carolina, USA and Indian universities and schools of social work. After her address, Fr. Vincent presented his paper on Social Work: doing Truth. It was about relevance of religion, spirituality and ethics in social work. He also talked about the current socio-political crisis in the nation which leads to injustice in the society. The third presentation was done by Mr. Pradeep Jare. He presented on Justice Withering Away in Neo-liberal Era.. In his presentation he talked about state’s response towards the changes which are taking place in the economy by liberalisation, globalisation and privatisation. He detailed its impact on the socio-economic and political plight of the marginalised sections of the community such as Dalits, Tribal and women.

The second concurrent session was held simultaneously with the first one in the seminar hall in the second floor at 8.30 a.m. on 20th February 2015. It was chaired by Fr. Nelson Falcao.  Robbin Tribhuvan & B A Deshmukh jointly presented a paper on Empowerment of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in Maharashtra. The second paper was presented by Ashok Ohol on Pardhi Community: A Journey from Warrior to warier. He presented the life struggle of Pardhi community as thieving tribe. Mr. Samuvel Waghmare & Mr. Kailas Jadhav presented a paper on Dalit Land Right Struggle for the structural livelihood source in Marathwada.

Following this parallel session there were two plenary sessions. The first plenary session of the day was held at 10.30 a.m. in the Golden Jubilee hall which chaired by Dr. T. H. Date. Dr. Gina Chowa and Ms. Anjali Maydeo were the main speakers for the session. Dr. Gina Chowa talked about the “Role of Youth Savings in Promoting Health and Well-being of Youth: Evidence from Ghana”. In her presentation she discussed about the importance of savings in developing the life skills among the youth and children. Ms. Anjali Maydeo spoke about the Arenas of Social Work Practice with Social Justice Perspective. While discussing her ideas she referred Phule- Ambedkar perspective of social justice. She also talked about the ideas of social justice of John Rawls and Amartya Sen. She concluded her presentation by saying the social work education and practice need to reflect on the idea of social justice in their syllabus.

The second plenary session was held at 12.00 in the Golden Jubilee hall. Fr.Vincent was the chairperson for this session. Dr. Amod Kumar presented on the topic of Spirituality and Social Work in reference with community health. He discussed on the empirical experiences of social work practice with humanitarian approach motivated by spirituality and religion. Dr. Sanjai Bhatt spoke about the role of corporate sector in promoting social justice in India. Thereafter, Fr. Nelson Falcao spoke about the Christina Principles based on solidarity: promoting social work and social justice. He also reflected his views on principles of social work and relevance of spirituality.

The afternoon programme began at 2.30 p.m. with two concurrent sessions (fifth and the sixth sessions) – one in the golden jubilee hall in the first floor and the second one at the seminar hall in the second floor. The fifth session was chaired by Dr. Robin Tribhuvan. During this session, Mrs. Snehal Diviekar presented her paper on Female foeticide: serious social problems. She presented her views on the issues and concerns of female foeticide in India especially in rural areas. Mr. Abhay Jadhav talked about the Cultural Competence: A Strategy to promote Equality, Freedom and Justice. While presenting the paper he referred to social work profession and the relevance of various cultural aspects in social work to promote social justice. Mr. Avinash Gore presented on the topic of Gender Biased Perceptions towards women empowerment. This paper was based on his research study conducted in Aurangabad district. Mrs. Manisha Pimpalhare did her presentation on Organizing Domestic Workers for justice and empowerment. She sketched the case studies of some of the domestic workers from Pune city and mentioned how these women were getting assertive about their basic rights as workers.

The sixth session held simultaneously at 2.30 p.m. at the seminar hall in the second floor. Dr. B. A. Deshmukh chaired this session in which three presenters presented their papers. Dr. Saumya in her presentation talked about the Learners support service: A tool for empowerment. She tried to compare the distance education systems of China and India. She also spoke about the challenges in open and distance learning in India. Ms. Jasmin, the second presenter, talked about the Human Trafficking as a serious concern in India. In her research, she found that trafficking had huge impact on the life of the person. Mr. Vinu Kumar in his presentation spoke about women empowerment and social justice. He talked about various formal and informal mechanisms of promoting social justice with special reference to women empowerment.

At 4.30 p.m. the third set of concurrent sessions (7th and 8th sessions of the day) were held simultaneously in Golden Jubilee hall in the first floor and the Seminar hall at the second floor.  The seventh session held at the Golden Jubilee hall was chaired by Dr. Akash Gulalia, a renowned activist based in New Delhi. In this session, Mr. Sunil Gaikwad presented the paper on community leadership development in core programme- an analysis on CASA’s experience of Maharashtra. He mentioned about the role of CASA in developing the core competencies among the community people. The second presentation was given by Dr. T.H Date on Strategies and Approaches to promote equality, freedom and justice through “PASAYADAN”. He was reflective on the role of religion in all spheres of human life. The third presentation was given by Mrs. Aruna Gajbhiye on the topic of “Are we human being too? It was a reflection of journey towards finding identity as human beings. Mrs. Gajbhiye presented her paper based on the realities of Pardhi community and their exploitation from the mainstream society. The fourth and the last presentation the session was made by Mr. Prahalad P on Infinity under a roof: Discovering the many unknowns of value based spiritual education.

Simultaneously, the eighth concurrent session took place in Seminar Hall in the second floor (hall 27). Dr. J P Vaidya chaired this session. Dr. Jaimon Varghese, Mr. Kaushik Kumar, Mr. Firoz Shaikh and Mr. Priyadarshan Bandellu were the presenters for this session. Dr. Jaimon presented on Spiritually Sensitive Service-an empowering strategy to overcome local and global challenges for the attainment of social justice. In this presentation he talked about the relevance of spirituality for addressing the local issues as well as global challenges. He said social justice is an ideal to achieve by any organisation, group, community and states in the context of spirituality. Mr. Kaushik presented on Contribution of Spirituality and Religion for Promoting Social Justice and Empowerment. He talked about the concepts of liberty, equal opportunities, rights and duties from Marxian point of view. He pointed out the biases of the government and other development organisations and suggested that these organisations should be unbiased to promote justice and empowerment in the society. The third paper of the session was on the Contribution of spirituality and religion for promoting social justice and empowerment through Islamic perspective. This paper was jointly presented by Mr. Sunil Kavade and Mr. Firoj Shaikh. In this paper, the presenter stated that Islam provides social justice to all mankind like freedom of consciousness, social justice and social solidarity. Last presentation was given by Mr. Bandellu on ‘Promoting Social Justice and Community Development in the Context of Judeo-Christian Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality. He said that spirituality brings about the internal changes in human being. He talked about how religion and spirituality helped to eradicate the social evil during ancient period i.e. slavery and prostitution.

With these concurrent sessions the second day’s programmes were concluded.

Technical Sessions of the Third Day, 21st February 2015

The day began with the fourth set of concurrent sessions (9th, 10th and 11th sessions of the international conference) at 8.30 a.m. Sessions were held simultaneously in three different halls. 9th session was held at Golden Jubilee Hall which was chaired by Dr. M Arif.  Mr. Suresh Mugutmal, Ms.Lavanya Madhusudan and Dr. Supriya  D’Souza presented their papers. MS. Lavanya Madhusudan presented her paper on Challenges in selecting indicators to measure empowerment in community development programmes. Mr. Suresh Mugutmal presented on “Understanding Human Rights in the Context of Jesuit Mission”. He had thrown light on the concept of human rights and justice. He also spoke on the religion and spirituality in the context of Jesuit Mission to promote and secure human rights through various measures. The third paper of the session was presented by Dr. Supriya D’ Souza on Strategies and Approaches to Promote Equality. She referred extensively the Christian spirituality as a strategy and approach for achieving social justice. She mentioned different value and core areas where human being can be moulded in spiritual way.

Tenth session of the conference was simultaneously held in the Seminar Hall in the second floor which was chaired by Dr. Usha Lolge.  Mr. Vijay Sansare, Ms.Pushpalatha and Mr. Rajendra Baikady presented their papers. Mr. Vijay Sansare talked about the Christian Priesthood Formation: An Enhancement of Life Skills for Spiritual social work. Ms. Pushpalatha presented a case study on self-help groups on the topic of Empowerment of Women through SHG for Social and Economic Development. Mr. Rajendra Baikady presented his findings on Poverty Reduction in India-Review of programmes in place and social work intervention.

Eleventh session of the International conference was held simultaneously at 8.30 a.m. on 21st February 2015 at the Lecture Hall in the first floor. This session was chaired by Mr. P.S. Patil. There were three presentations made by Mr. Deepak Mashram, Dr.Bajirao Patil and Mr. Atul More. Mr. Mashram presented on Equity and Social Inclusion of the Marginalised through Millennium Development Goals. In his presentation he talked about the relevance of MDG to bring equitable and inclusive society by referring the marginalised groups such as Dalits, Tribal and women in Indian context.  Dr. Bajirao Patil made his paper presentation on “Initiative and Engagement of Government, Civil Society, Organisation and Corporate Sector in Social Justice and Empowerment: A Social Administration Perspective. He mainly focused on the administrative aspects of these above mentioned sectors. The third presentation of the session was made by Mr. Atul More on the Role of Law to Promote Social Justice and Empowerment- an Analytical view in the Buddhist Perspective. In his presentation he emphasised the importance of Buddhism in bringing justice in the society by inculcating the values in law and legal system.

After the concurrent session, the first plenary session of the day (12th technical session of the International conference) was held at 10.30 a.m. in Golden Jubilee hall. This session was chaired by Dr. Bajirao Patil. Two speakers, Mrs. R. Vimala and Dr. Akash Gulalia engaged the session. Mrs. R. Vimala presented her findings on the Social Inclusion, Transparency and Accountability under MGNREGS in Maharashtra. She explained the difference between the central government’s scheme and the Maharashtra’s scheme. She also described the importance of MGNREGS for including marginalised sections in the mainstream society. Dr. Akash Gulalia spoke about the Tharak Kardu, Gods of Kullu Valley H.P. Synchronise of Modernity and Traditions: Study of Deities, Folk Culture, Life Style and Traditions of Kulant / Kulantipeeth [End of habitable world].

Concluding Session

Immediately after the plenary session, the concluding session of the conference took place at the 12.30 p.m. at Golden Jubilee Hall. Dr. Massod Parveez, Dr. J.P. Vaidya and Dr. Kalpana Gupte were the guests for the concluding session. At the outset CSRD’s director Dr. Suresh Pathare welcomed all the delegates for the valedictory session and presented the brief report of the conference. In his address he has presented the details of the presenters and their topics of presentation. Following this three participants and two student volunteers expressed their views about the conference in feedback session. Mrs. Manisha Pimpalkhare, Ms. Lavanya Madhusudan and Mr. Drithman Dhur expressed their feelings and gave feedback about the conference from participants’ point of view. They gave some valid suggestions for the organisation of the next conference. One of the suggestions was regarding the early announcement of the conference at least giving six months’ notice period to prepare and plan for the conference. Ms. Sunita More and Mr. Jivan Chhetri, the student volunteers expressed their learning and experience during the conference.

After the feedbacks of the participants and the volunteers, Dr. J. P. Vaidya delivered the valedictory address. In his speech he focused on the importance of Gandhian philosophy and the values in social work and bringing justice in society. He pointed out the contemporary political systems and the exclusion of certain sections. The presidential speech was given by Dr. Masood Parveez, the Regional Director, of IGNOU, Pune Regional Centre. Dr.Parveez talked about the importance of education in human life and social development. He mentioned that there are some sections of the society who are not able to avail formal education due to certain constraints. For such people, he said, the distance education is an appropriate choice. Distance mode of education is very important for people excluded from the formal education sector. Finally Mr. P. S. Patil gave vote of thanks and programme ended with the national anthem at 2 p.m.

List of plenary speakers and the topics of their speech

Plenary-I        Chairperson: Dr. TH Date

  1. Gina Chowa: The Role of Youth Savings in Promoting Health and Well-being of Youth:  Evidence from Ghana
  2. Anjali Maydeo: Arenas of Social Work Practice with Social Justice Perspective

Plenary- II      Chairperson: Fr. Vincent

  1. Amod Kumar: Spirituality and Social Work in Reference with Community Health
  2. Sanjai Bhatt: Role of Corporate Sector in promoting social justice and empowerment
  3. Nelson Falcao: Indian Christian Social Justice And Empowerment

Plenary- III    Chairperson: Dr. Bajirao Patil

  1. Vimala: Social Inclusion, Transparency and accountability under MGNREGS in Maharashtra
  2. AkashGulalia: TharakKardu, Gods of Kullu Valley H.P. Synchronise of Modernity and Traditions: Study of Deities, Folk Culture, Life Style and Traditions of Kulant/Kulantipeeth [End of habitable world]

List of concurrent speakers and topics of their paper presentations

  1. AbhayJadhav: Cultural Competence: A Strategy to promote Equality, Freedom and Justice
  2. ArunaGajbhiye: Are we human beings too? An inspection of journey towards finding identity as a human
  3. Ashok Ohol: Pardhi Community: A Journey from Warrior to warier
  4. Atul More: Role of Law to Promote Social Justice and Empowerment- An Analytical view in the Buddhist Perspective
  5. Avinash Gore: Gender Bias Perception towards women’s Empowerment
  6. BajiraoPatil: Initiative and Engagement of Government, civil society, organisation and corporate sector in social justice and community empowerment
  7. Deepak Mashram: Equity and Social Inclusion of Marginalised through Millennium Development Goals
  8. Jaimon Varghese: Spiritually Sensitive Service-an empowering strategy to overcome local and global challenges for the attainment of social justice
  9. Kaushik Kumar: Contribution of Spirituality and Religion for Promoting Social Justice Empowerment
  10. LavanyaMadhusudan: Challenges in selecting indicators to measure empowerment in community development programs
  11. M Jasmin: Human Trafficking: an emerging crisis
  12. ManishaPimpakhare: Organizing Domestic Workers for justice and empowerment
  13. Pradeep Jare: Justice Wither Away in Neoliberal Era? Analysis from Subaltern Perspective
  14. Prahalad P: Infinity under a roof: Discovering the many unknowns of value based spiritual education
  15. PriyadarshanBandellu: Promoting Social Justice and Community Development in the Context of Judeo-Christian Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality
  16. Pushpalatha N: Empowering Women through SHGs for Social and Economic Development- A Case Study
  17. RajednraBaikady: Poverty Reduction in India-Review of Programmes in Place and Social Work intervention
  18. Rebecca Brigham: Cultural Humility– How a Study Abroad Experience Shapes Social Work Values
  19. Robin Tribhuwan&BhoumikDeshmukh: Empowerment of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in Maharashtra
  20. Samuvel W & Kailas Jadhav: Dalit Land Right Struggle for the structural livelihood source in Marathwada
  21. Saumya: Learner Support Services: A tool for empowering open and distance learners
  22. SnehalDivekar: Female foeticide, a serious social problems
  23. Sunil Gaikwad: Community Leadership Development in Core Programme- An Analysis on CASA’s Experience of Maharashtra
  24. Sunil Kavade&FirojShaikh: Contribution Spiritually and Islam for promoting Social Justice and Empowerment
  25. Supriya D’Souza: Strategies and Approaches to Promote Equality
  26. Suresh Mugutmal: Understanding Human Rights in the Context of Jesuit Mission
  27. H. Date &MangalaPansare: Strategies and Approaches to Promote equality, freedom and justice through Pasaydan
  28. Vijay Sansare: Christianity Priesthood Formation: An Enhancement of Life Skills for Spiritual Social Work
  29. Vincent: Social Work: Doing the Truth
  30. Vinukumar N V: Women Empowerment and Social Justice: A Challenge of 21st Century