WHO WE ARE
In the early eighties a group of students, at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University were deeply moved by the conditions of the lives of poor and marginalized people in the state of Odisha. They were particularly affected by the stories of people fleeing their homes in search of food and employment, reports of starvation deaths, and infants being sold because parents could not feed them. The students organised themselves into a research group and came to Nuapara in Bolangir district to identify the cause of this distressing situation. Calling itself FOCUS, the group began its search for an alternative development strategy.
Its activities in this early phase included organizing local intellectuals, lawyers, teachers and other groups to study the cause of drought and attempt to find ways to bring relief to those affected by it. Three years in its research, many people in the group felt a certain sense of disquiet. While the vision remained unchanged, the reinvented group, which was smaller in size than the original, saw its mission differently: to look at the challenges faced by the people with a fresh perspective. Instead of deciding priorities on behalf of the people, Vikalpa saw the importance and wisdom of addressing them through people-initiated and people-centred programmes.
VIKALPA, a center for promoting peoples’ alternatives was a product of such intense rethinking. Although it came to begin in 1987 it was formally registered under the Societies Registration Act in September 1988 under the leadership of Dr. Surendra Kumar Pattnaik.
To stop the process of marginalisation among the poorest of the poor.
To promote the emergence of effective people’s organisations based on the felt interests of the poor thereby stirring to make the best use of existing opportunities and resources as well as to evolve new ones.
To develop a support base for fostering and popularizing people’s initiatives of alternative development action.
To retrieve and document people’s initiatives, their experiences and thoughts and to initiate a process of dialogical communication for facilitating people’s access to information and knowledge.
Keeping in view the above vision and mission, VIKALPA is determined to fight for the hopeless, the needy and the victims. Much has been done and much more needs to be done. The future is bright and there is hope.