Training For Change: 25 Years of Training Department, EFICOR, India

( [email protected] ) May 01, 2004 04:24 PM EDT

April 30 was a big day for EFICOR, India, as they celebrated 25 years of serving mankind and helping develop and mobilize the social community.

Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR), now a full-fledged national-level relief and development agency, began in 1967 as a relief unit of Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), a national alliance of churches, church based institutions and individuals and in 1980 it was registered as an independent society.

Since its genesis, EFICOR has been providing relief to people affected by disasters and rehabilitating them. Recently it has initiated mitigation activities to reduce the impact of disasters. From the year 1976, EFICOR started community development programs, assisting churches, mission agencies and grass root development agencies in building sustainable communities. A need was perceived to train grass root development workers, and in the year 1979, EFICOR started training programs equipping people to work with the poor.

Indeed, EFICOR has come a long way since its inception and its development initiatives have been shaped over the years through reflection on its field experience and in response to unfolding development needs. And as they celebrated the Silver Anniversary in YMCA, New Delhi with hundreds of well-wishers, friends, patrons and fellow-workers, one cannot help but stop to ponder the struggles overcome and successes achieved by this society over the years and cheer them as they stand proudly this day testifying how they have served the disadvantaged children of the Lord and how they will continue to do so.

The Silver Jubilee Anniversary that took place in YMCA Heinz Auditorium, New Delhi, saw many gather and cheer EFICOR on it’s big day and testify the works done by them and the changes brought by them into their lives.

Mr. A.K. Angurana, IAS, lit the lamp and inaugurated the program. The welcome address was delivered by Mr. Sanjay Patra, Chairman, EFICOR who elaborated the past achievements of EFICOR and outlined the tasks that lay ahead. Indeed, this was a time when EFICOR should not be content resting on its laurels, but a “day to recommit (themselves) to the task that lies ahead in this coming year.?E

In the Silver Jubilee Anniversary aptly titled, “Training for Change,?EMr. Patra said that EFICOR was committed to motivating the evangelicals, networking with them and training a cadre of people available at grass root level to help build communities and rehabilitate displaced people.

Mr. C.B. Samuel, Chairman ?EPrabhaav and former General Director of EFICOR released a booklet commemorating 25 years of EFICOR’s training department. He remisced and tracked the growth of EFICOR in the past years and exhorted that a healthy balance must be struck between its diverse activities and goals, to enable the training units, an evolution of these debates, to achieve their purpose.

Dr. Prakash Louis, author, distinguished social worker and the keynote speaker on this occasion, said that attention must be paid in regard to training or interactive process of capacity building. As he shared his vast and rich experience in training programs conducted by EFICOR, he stressed on the goals set by the society and the means by which they will be achieved viz. bringing awareness to the communities, capacity building, networking and advocacy.

Rev. Dino L. Touthang, the present General Director of EFICOR, gave a presentation, briefly introducing EFICOR to the common people before mapping its progress and outlining its social activities. “EFICOR stands to establish in our nation sensitivity to God’s concern on social issues,?Ehe said. Rev. Touthang also introduced Drishtikone, a quarterly new magazine published by EFICOR, now in its 10th year of successful publication, and highlighted the issues that are a growing concern in the social perspective.

Mr. Angurana, the chief guest of the function, gave a brief overview of the development deficit in our country, highlighting the critical concerns that are obstacles to development and progress of a community. Citing alarming statistics, he clearly indicated that mere dependence on the government is not enough and that NGOs have a supplementary and complementary role to play in building a society. Articulating the voice of reason, Mr. Angurana stated that NGOs are a healthy alternative to mode of development and social mobilization. He, however, cautioned that ‘defunct?Eor ‘fly-by-night?ENGOs are more a hindrance than a help to social progress.

Dr. Kumudha Arul Das delivered the vote of thanks, thereby bringing the function to a close.

EFICOR, whose activities comprise of educating the people, raising issues of environmental protection, bringing economic empowerment in the lives of the underprivileged, advocating local governance, providing relief and rehabilitation amongst others, has indeed been working towards a just, responsible and compassionate society. Let us keep on praying for this ministry of God so that it can keep on carrying on its good work without hindrance and changing lives to change the world.