Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement
Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) is a development organization based in Saragur near Mysore in Karnataka state in India. The organization is engaged in building a new civil society in India through its grassroots to policy-level action in health, education and community development sectors. For their untiring work, they were widely recognized by private and government bodies inside Karnataka State and outside of it as well. Their work in the field of AIDS prevention is recognized by the Indian government. For their achievements they received a number of awards which includes the prestigious 'National Youth Award' from the Indian government, and the Mahaveer Award for the work in the field of Community and Social Service from the Mahaveer Foundation. and many more.
In the year 1984 a group of young medical students led by Ramaswami Balasubramaniam at the Mysore Medical College (in Karnataka State, India) started the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM, for short).
Their initial intention was to provide rational, ethical and cost-effective medical care to the needy. They started small – collecting physician samples of medicines and distributing them to poor patients, organizing blood donation camps and weekly rural outreach clinics around Mysore. In 1987, destiny took them to Heggadadevanakote Taluk, the home of the displaced and dispossessed forest-based tribes. These indigenous people, belonging to five different clans – Jenukuruba, Kadukuruba, Yerava, Paniya and Bunde Soliga – had been displaced twice from their natural habitat by development projects of the Government, namely ‘Project Tiger’ and ‘Kabini Reservoir’, and were forced to live in penury on the fringes of the Bandipur National Park.
The medicos set up a clinic at a tribal hamlet named Brahmagiri, at a distance of about 80 km from Mysore city, with a little help from the Mysore District Administration. Realizing early that medicare by itself is not enough and hoping education to be a panacea to the gen-next, they opened an informal school for the tribal kids in a cow-shed in Brahmagiri. Socio economic empowerment activities were added to health and education, and the rural poor were also brought under the ambit - as the organization moved from the role of a ‘provider’ to a ‘facilitator’. A 10-bed hospital was started at Kenchanahalli, along with a host of community-based programs in Health and Education. As the medicos returned in batches after completing their post graduation, the multi-specialty Vivekananda Memorial Hospital took shape at Saragur. The organization continued to grow and expand in the 90s.
SVYM's principal area of operation is Mysore District of Karnataka, India. Here they have various institution-based and community-based Health and Education projects running and also undertake several Community Development Initiatives, catering to a populace of about 400,000 comprising both tribals and rural poor.
SVYM has a state-of-the-art training cum resource center called Vivekananda Institute for Leadership Development at Mysore, which also serves as a base for urban-based interventions and also houses their registered office. They work in the most backward regions of North Karnataka, particularly in the districts of Bijapur and Dharwad. Here, in addition to direct intervention in Health and Education sectors, they also train and build capacities of like-minded budding NGOs. They also have a full-fledged education project running in Bangalore. Their Training, Research, Advocacy and Consultancy (TRAC) activities give them a pan-India footprint.
SVYM’s chapters in Hassan, Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts are run by members of SVYM, and they carry out locally and contextually relevant projects, with guidance from the administrative office.
For the tribal people they facilitate mobile education and medical services namely Vidhyavahini and Sikshavahini.
The institution-based services under health are provided through the Vivekananda Memorial Hospitals (VMH) at Saragur and Kenchanahalli. VMH–Saragur is a 90-bed facility offering multi-specialty secondary care at an affordable cost to the rural and tribal populace. It is affiliated to the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), Bangalore and offers the India’s first post-graduate fellowship course in HIV medicine for medical and dental professionals. VMH – Kenchanahalli is a 10-bed facility offering primary care, along with options for ayurveda chikitsa. SVYM hospitals are recognized training centers for capacity building of entire gamut of health professionals – from specialists to grassroot workers.
Community based services are provided in the key focus areas listed above, through the outreach program and a network of grassroot level health workers called health facilitators. Their HIV control program, that offers comprehensive, inclusive and end-to-end care, is rated as one of the best in the country and has been hailed as a best-practice model by UNAIDS.
Education and research
SVYM's educational initiatives include two schools – the Viveka Tribal Center for Learning at Hosahalli (semi-residential, formal school recognized by the Government of Karnataka) and the CBSE-affiliated Viveka School of Excellence at Saragur, and four community based initiatives – Shikshanavahini, Prerepana, Vidyakiran and Premavidya. The Training, Research, Advocacy and Consultancy (TRAC) sector aims to serve India by building the potential of individuals & institutions for the development sector (Govt, NGOs and Corporates) and synergize their efforts for better, collective gain. It also strives to develop innovative programmatic models for the development sector and influence public policy.
TRAC services are provided through three institutions – Vivekananda Institute for Leadership Development (V-LEAD), Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies (VIIS) and Grassroot Research and Advocacy Movement (GRAAM).
Vivekananda Institute for Leadership Development is affiliated to the University of Mysore and offers the Masters Program in Development Management. Another flagship program of TRAC, the ‘Youth for Development’, aims to create a trained, committed workforce of youth who can take up value-based developmental activities in rural areas. These two programs create career opportunities in development sector for the youth.
Vivekananda Institute of Indian Studies aims to enable contextually relevant development, founded in an understanding of Indian values, culture and tradition, and interpreted in a spirit of appreciative inquiry, while GRAAM is an institution for public policy research and program evaluation.
- "Social Entrepreneurship SVYM". Retrieved 20 May 2013.
- http://srkvijayam.com/2014/04/29/விவேகானந்தரைக்-கற்ற-இளைஞ/ (In Tamil)