Pastime in CMIG
A rewarding experience for the elderly
Paper presented at the conference Livelihoods and Poverty Reduction: Lessons From Eastern India, 25-27 September 2001
By Indrani Chakravarty, Director, Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
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Background of Beneficiaries
Productive Program –(I)
Productive Program – (II)
Value Addition to Beneficiaries
Computer Training in CMIG
Elements of CMIG Computer Course
The beneficiaries have no formal education with very low physical capacity. Majority of them are females, widows and belong to 65-75 years of age. All of them live below the poverty line with avarage household income of Rs. 685 per month. They also suffer from multiple diseases along with vitamin deficiencies like A, B2, B6, C, & D.
In the approach of CMIG conditioning is very important. Beneficiaries of CMIG’s Day Care Units receive weekly ration, regular tiffin, clothes, recreational facilities, counselling for mental health. They get free medicine & free treatment from our centre. Our service is free but the financial assistance we receive from the government is just not sufficient for us to provide any costly medicinal support to our beneficiaries. To make the service available to the elderly, professionals and experts of our organisation do resort to cost effective medicines, tapping locally available resources.
50 beneficiaries of Day Care Units produce paper bags. Local markets in and around our centres have demand for paper bags as the polythene packs are not ecofriendly and coloured types are banned. Paper bags generate low income in the market, therely not liked by youngsers. Basic raw material – news papers are received free from donars, well wishers and also from neighbours. It does not need any extensive vocational traings, the frail elderly can take part in the program. On the avarage they can Rs. 4 /- perday by which they earn just manage to have one meal at night.
CMIG runs another income generating Program for the poor which is very remunerative but needs extensive vocational training. Making stationary goods like envelopes, Files, Folder making. Papermade varieties are gaining popularity because they are eco friendly. Envelopes out of hand made papers are liked by posh book stores of the city and corporate houses. Demand for greeting cards on various occasions is sky rocketing. CMIG has resource persons for design,training,selling.
The status has been enhanced in the family, as the burden is reduced.
Through self help they are emerging as a meaningful social group.
Liberated from the complete state of dependency.
They are engaged in some such activities socially useful, economically gainful.
CMIG is the only institute in eastern India which has introduced Computer Training Course for elderly and it is a pleasure to see how eagerly aged people have joined these courses and are visibly satisfied to find themselves capable of contributing to overall social productivity.
Basic concepts of micro-computer architecture and its operation; Disk operating system MS-DOS commands; Word-processing programmes; Data-base management systems; and networking between computers. Trainess also attend the popular lecture series in different areas of computer communications symbiosis.
98 senior citizens completed the course and 16 are waiting for their turn. This training program itself adds an area of confidence and achievement in the waning phase of life. CMIG acts as an opportunity centre for the aged familiar with the specially designed computer course.
Cyber Kiosk opening at faster rate in all cities needs commercial manager. Elderly person with low salary and proven record of integrity are preferred. Publihers often request CMIG for retired academician with computer background for editing texts in PC. Beyound the role of a service provider to elderly, CMIG is also a meeting place for ages wisdom and experience. Interaction and sharing of views by senior citizens at this forum on various issues of life is a rewarding pastime.
The approach & strategy of the CMIG develop a model which gives much strees on the active and productive involvement of older persons and not just their care. It recognises that by far the larger population of the elderly retain minimal physical and mental health to remain economically functional.