Manavodaya in Sanskrit mean "Human Awakening". The institute was founded in the year 1985 with the purpose of promoting a new paradigm in development that builds on human values and enables the poorest sections of society to participate in the process of change.
THE INITIAL YEARS
During the initial years (1985 onwards), Manavodaya worked with peoples’ groups of different kinds.
A carcass flayers group was created and assisted with a loan to win an auction bid which enabled them to work for their own community rather than work as wage labourers for others who merely invested in winning the auction for lifting dead animals in an area.
Youth groups were motivated to construct a village road through ‘Shramdaan’ (voluntary contribution of labour).
A weaver’s community was enabled to install a warping drum in their village so that they could get their warps ready in the village itself though collective effort. Otherwise they had to go a long distance at huge cost and time investment.
Bamboo workers were organised and provided training to make quality bamboo products by a famous bamboo craftsman.
EVOLUTION OF SELF HELP METHODS
Working with groups gradually led to development of methods of self management. The need to free the poor from moneylenders led to introduction of monthly deposit by the group members. The pooled capital allowed the group to give emergency loans to members having emergency needs. As group management difficulties surfaced, the process of cash management, accounts management and credit management were introduced.
TRAINING OF PROFESSIONALS
Several thousand practitioners/professionals in NGOs, banks, government agencies and cooperatives from different parts of India have participated in programmes at Manavodaya, focusing on methods of promoting self help, empowerment and values-based development.
The key features of the programmes at the institute are:
Practical field based learning
A holistic perspective of life and change
Regular self reflection among participants
These features make programmes at Manavodaya special and popular among all categories of participants like NGO representatives, government servants and international scholars alike.