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Presence of Aashray Abhiyan at the WSF, 2024

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The World Social Forum 2024 was held at Kathmandu, Nepal from 14 to 19 February has been a very memorable and enriching experience for us at Aashray Abhiyan, Patna. Ten of us travelled from Patna by bus along with 5 Sisters belonging to the Congregation of Jesus, 6 workers from Jharkhand belonging to the SCN sisters. We were privileged to have Medha Patkar travel along with us; we were impressed at the simple manner in which she came across to us and utilized every minute on the bus journey reading recording etc.

Among the many events in which we participated we also attended the “international Tribunal on Eviction”. Ten cases were chosen from across the Globe, and we were fortunate to present the story of evictions in Patna.

We recorded that since 2018 around 7400 households have been evicted from near to 12 settlements. We were in a position to stop the eviction in three settlements. But this does not stop the insecurity and fear within which the communities live. Presenting the cases before the jury, Dorothy spoke passionately about the trauma which the people go through; of them being uprooted from their history, their dreams shattered, and their future uncertain.

In spite of filing at least three cases in the Patna High Court and clear direction being given to the Principal Secretary of providing alternative arrangement, there has been sheer lack of sensitivity; violation of court of contempt.

Other than this Dorothy was one of the panelists on “Right to Education – Right to Truth”. It was an invitation to bring in new thinking , of growing in a new awareness, a new consciousness of our being interconnected and interdependent. An opportunity needs to be provided to enable the young mind to develop the critical thinking and to become inclusive opposite to the thinking of going ahead alone. The values of collaboration versus competition; of search for the Truth at all times, making provisions for children to explore. What can bind us today as a Global community is the constitutional values of our countries. These ought to be taught, promoted and adhered to as a way forward.

The challenge today is “Another world is possible, where there is room for all.. the least.. the last and the lost. The journey has to lead us to the discovery of being good human beings, of giving back to society what we have received, preparing children for life and not just for a job….

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