World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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Regional Programme

The School for Ecumenical Leadership Formation (SELF) 2005 

SELF 2005September 11 to October 2, 2005
Bangalore, India

The 3rd SELF 2005 was successfully conducted from September 11 to October 2, 2005 at the SCMI House and the Ecumenical Christian Center in Bangalore, India. The three-week intensive training hosted by SCM India was aimed at equipping the frontline leaders of the SCM with the necessary theoretical framework and practical skills to perform their duties and responsibilities as officers and staff of the national movements. The program was attended by 15 representatives from the national movements namely Sarah Elaine Mills from Australia, Ton Areeyat from Thailand, Sandra Eka Bar and Debrobroto Sarkar from Bangladesh, Lee Chih Sheng from Taiwan, Sayuri Mori from Japan, Borey Nget from Cambodia, Kyaw Moe Hlaing from Myanmar, Tharaka Muthuthanthri from Sri Lanka, Raquel Lapuz from Philippines, Angie Lee from Hong Kong, Gladson Jathanna and Sunita Suna from India.

Highlights of the SELF were inputs from the following 8 resource persons who provided important insights and analysis on the five modules of the SELF. These were, Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, who conducted Bible Studies1 and 2 on Partnership and Empire; Dr. Evangeline Rajkumar who conducted Bible Studies on Patriarchy, Women and Gender; David Selvaraj on Reading the Signs of the Times; Mr. Rajendra Sail on War and Militarism; Chan Beng Seng on Human Rights in Asian Pacific; C.T. Kurien on Globalization and Economic Justice; Nirmala Fenn on Interfaith Dialogue and the Ecumenical Movement; and Susanna George on Feminism and the Women's Movement.

SELF 2005The Exposure Program was conducted five full days visiting groups and areas that were the thematic focus of the SELF modules. The participants visited the slum area organized and assisted by the Women's Voice, a women's organization working for the rights of poor women in the slum areas.

The group also met with the staff and community organizers of Stree Jageethi Samitee, a community based women's organization working with domestic child laborers and women domestic workers in Bangalore. The group visited the APSA Child Centre, a rehabilitation centre for children rescued from violent and abusive situations, such as domestic child work. The Centre provides temporary and long-term shelter, education and skills training for children, phone-in counseling and assistance to families of abused children. An exposure visit was also organized to the resettlement area for Tibetan Buddhist Monk at the Sera Jey Monastic University at Bylakuppe, a four hour bus journey south-west of Bangalore. During this visit, the participants dialogued with the monks and exiled leaders of the Tibetan community, where concepts and ideas of peace, harmony and inter-religious dialogue were discussed. In the same area, the group visited a farmer's community whose livelihood is threatened by government's development plan, they are being assisted by an organization called, Coorg Organization for Rural Development (CORD).

SELF 2005At the end of the SELF program, the participants developed an action plan on how to carry forward with the issues and learning they gained from the program as individuals, and as members of the SCMs. Concretely, they agreed to participate and support the national campaign against the Coca Cola Bottling Company, whose bottling factories in different part of India has caused irreparable damage to the environment, particularly the water supply and livelihood of people living in the areas near the Coca Cola factories.