THE USHAGRAM SUISSE ASSOCIATION
The association that carries the Solidarhumanity project and its activities
(Update Janurary 13 2019)
The Ushagram Suisse Association founded in 1999, whose projects are mostly supported by the administrations of the Geneva Canton, is a State recognised public charity exempt from tax. Official website: http://fundraising.ushagram-suisse.org/
Ushagram Suisse does fundraising in Switzerland for rural development programmes in India and in Lebanon, develops and carries out projects in collaboration with selected local NGOs. For nearly 20 years, Ushagram Suisse has raised an average of 60’000 CHF (60 000 USD) to support various programmes and projects both in India and in Lebanon.
In India: 1. a programme impacting more than 40 000 persons in West Bengal, close to the Bangladesh border during 12 years; and also during 12 years a development programme dedicated to an aboriginal population in Kechala, State of Odisha (Orissa, India) that impacts some 2 500 villagers. In Lebanon, since 2016 the association supports projects dedicated to syrian refugees that abound in this country, which results in the near doubling of its population.
Odisha is one of the tribal States of India and one of the poorest. In India, the aboriginals make up 10.5% of the population. That is a whopping 120 million souls. 300 000 of them are displaced because of mining, of extraction of rare earths, hydro-power dams and lakes etc. This population is left behind and does not benefit or take part in modern Indian development. The Government is investing a lot in rural and tribal development but only a small percentage of that reach the end beneficiaries.
Numerous projects are financed by the funds raised by Ushagram Suisse: first and foremost the education of the children, but also bore wells, dairy farm, water pumps, maintenance of the small ferries, bunk beds for children of the boarding school, electrification of the school, computer lab, science lab, cultivation and irrigation of plantations, afforestation, etc. Accessing the zone remains a problem with no road access, except a dirt track that remains impracticable during the rainy season.
The children of Kechala will follow the “discover-thru-me” project, first of all because their school was involved in the test phase for the project launch but also because its events will be for them an open window onto the world.
This small country, is 7 times smaller than Ireland, with an equivalent indigenous population of 4 million inhabitants. It has for years been hosting first palestinian then syrian refugees, thereby increasing its population by nearly 40%, now totalling 6.5 millions. Its population density is nearly twice that of England. The burden for this country is overwhelming: environment, health, infrastructure, social, political etc. Syrian refugees live in makeshift informal settlements and their presence also weighs heavily on the labor market. Although Lebanon wants them to return home, most fear a return and prefer to stay. According to UNHCR, it takes an average of 10 years for refugees to return to their home country at the end of a conflict.
Ushagram goes to the field to identify needs, evaluate the possible response, find local NGO partners, set up support and development projects that also involve the local population in distress and then conducts a matching fundraising. The funded projects are then implemented and monitored until they are completed.
According to its bylaws, Ushagram also aims to support programs for the promotion of peace, for the rapprochement of peoples and intercultural exchanges. The Solidarhumanity project thus fits naturally into its activities. During the implementation of this project, for the sake of resource management, Ushagram’s traditional activities will be reduced to subsistence and maintenance projects.