In 1964, Shri. Baba Amte conceptualized ‘Shramik Karyakarta Vidyapeeth’ to provide the youth a platform to channelize their energies towards the betterment of the society.The idea was first implemented in the form of a Shram-Sanskar Shibir in 1967. The 2017 shibir, was the 50th, attended by 500 participants from across India. Though VSM had planned to sponsor 50, because of restrictions on age, 23 VSM students participated.
The official opening of the camp was done by Dr. Vikas Amte by hoisting the flag. He acknowledged the presence of each and every participant and called them special as all were present with full dedication even in the sweltering summer. He promised that the participants at the end of the camp will have found a new way of looking at life and learnt new directions of social development.
The beginning of the camp was marked by all shouting “Jodo Jodo, Bharat Jodo” the in full force. Every day of the camp would begin at 4 am with a multi-lingual motivational song sung by all participants and members of Anandvan, this was followed by all working in the fields making small dams and bunds etc. for farming and irrigation process, just providing feel of the enormous efforts our field laborers and farmers take every day to provide us with our basic need of food. Through these efforts, VSM group built a platform using tyres to reach the dam, which was well appreciated by Dr. Vikas Amte himself and other members.
In the afternoons the temperature would shoot up to 47 degrees but participants continued to attend discussions and seminars with various eminent personalities from the society. On the first day Dr. Vikas Amte and Dr. Kaustubh Amte shared the journey of Anandvan and its current scenario. Dr. Yogesh Kalkonde, who is currently taking care of adivasi community after spending 11 years in USA, spoke about ‘Me and Society’. Valmiki Tattya explained, in his unique style, the problems of the laborers in our society. Mukta Puntambekar of Muktangan- Deaddiction center conducted a very interesting and interactive session. Dr. Ashok Belkhode’s firsthand account of ‘Bharat Jodo’ journey along with Dr. Baba Amte himself, was the most inspiring talk of the entire camp. In another such inspirational talk Somnathji Rode spoke about Dr. Baba Amte’s idea of an ‘ideal youth of India’. Towards the end of the camp, Pallavitai Amte spoke to the girls about menstrual health and the right and wrong notions about it.
On occasions there was clash of timings between serious discussions and the planned cultural programs, resulting in cancellation of the cultural events on some days.
Every day every session opened a new aspect of life in front of the participants. Every day was full of joy received from strenuous physical work to food for thought and brain stimulating knowledge. Though not scheduled as formal talks, the one to one conversations with Mr. Ashok Deshmukh of Snehavan, Kaveri Kaku of Shantivan and Mayuri Tai of Sevashram were equally engaging.
During the camp some VSM students participated in blood donation camp held there and a few were donating blood for the first time in their lives. Our students Karishma and Gauri deserve appreciation as, though they were very young and unfit for blood donation, they wished to participate.
On 20th May, the blind-deaf and mute members of the Swaranandavan orchestra performed for all and touched their hearts forever. What a sheer talent and determination! Thus this extraordinary camp full of ‘Shram and Sanskar’ came to an end on 22nd May with tree plantation drive.