BAKDIL is the Registered Non Governmental Organization having Head Quarters in Tura, West Garo Hills, Meghalaya, North East India and functioning since 1987. It strives to promote sustainable development of the indigenous communities among whom it exists. Though it was registered under the Societies Registration Act, in 1987 SR/B-427/87/ of 1987, it was already functioning since 1973. The Organization has been reaching out to the needy and the marginalized, promoting development of the indigenous communities through various initiatives. The most notable programmes have been assistance and relief to refugee population (1971- 1980), Food for work, intervention in natural calamities especially floods and cyclone and promotion of women empowerment through Self Help Groups training of farmers on improvement in agriculture and allied activities.
The 1971, Indo-Pakistan War for Bangladesh, created an unprecedented societal, turmoil resulting in influx of Thousands of refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan to Garo Hills. The Catholic Church then formed the organisaiton and played a pivotal role in mitigating the sufferings of the refugees housed in make-shift camps erected by the government for the purpose. Camps were set up at Dumnikura, Minneng (adjacent to Gasuapara), Chibinang, Ampati, Dimapara, Masangpani, Mahupara etc. Each of these camps accommodate up to 15000 people. Caritas India in a world wide campaign its blitz, was able to arrange food stuff and other materials like blankets for many countries across the globe. Church’s Auxiliary for social action (CASA) was also involved in the supply of medicines to the refugees. Fr. E.O. Mathew was the face of the relief agency in Garo Hills during the refugee crisis and he received several commendations from the government of Meghalaya for the efficient and effective distribution of the food materials and medical supplies. The government of India also applauded the services of the organisation.
Over time the institution in partnership with the Catholic relief services provided food stuff worth more than one hundred thousand rupees in a year. The food stuff not only helped to supplement nutritional need of the population but also helped the community to create long term assets like land, fish ponds etc through Food for Work and other similar programmes.
ACTIVITIES TAKEN UP TO 1980s
In the 1980s the agency took up many Income Generation Programmes and Drinking Water Projects. Most of these were funded by Caritas India while a few were by IGSSS. Some of these programmes were practically centered around the school hostels because all the hostels had children from far and remote villages. Projects that were taken up during this period included Development of Piggery, Dairy Farms, Agriculture and so on. Several fish ponds and hundreds of hectares of paddy fields were reclaimed through the Food for Work Programme. Health Education was another activity that was taken up during this period. Many Health Workers were trained to provide village based Health Care. Another important programme during the early stages of evolution of BAKDIL was providing relief to the victims of various natural calamities like floods, cyclones and wild elephant attacks. While Caritas India provided rehabilitation to the affected families, CRS took care of the immediate needs through the supply of foodstuff. In 1982, there was massive flood in Tikrikilla and Rajabala areas where the Church personnel provided immediate relief to the thousands of people marooned on the roads due to the flash floods.
During the latter part of 1980, there was a realization that the agency should be registered and function as a Social Development Organization. Thus BAKDIL was registered as a Non Profit Organization in 1987. The name ‘BAKDIL’ in the local Garo Language evokes feelings of fellowship, communion, unity and solidarity. BAKDIL continued with its activities. Bakdil obtained FCRA in 2001 and this was helpful in getting funds directly from donor agencies to help the people without any discrimination of caste creed or religion.
A step towards initiating the formation of People’s Organization was started in Rabhagre village, located in a remote and backward area of Garo Hills, with Caritas India supported project. The project disproved the common relief that indigenous who live in the interior villages, were averse to saving an incapable of taking up viable economic activities. The model of the Cooperative Society at Mendipathar was followed at Rabhagre with considerable success. Taking a cue from that experience, the then Director initiated a new project for the Formation of Self Help Groups and thanks to the projects, today, BAKDIL is the leading NGO that has formed more than 750 Self Help Groups.
VISION : Creation of a just and value based society where people have qual opportunity and are self reliant
MISSION : Initiating, Promoting, Sustaining Community Based Organisations through rights based approach for socio-economic development and justice and development leading to human dignity
MOTTO : Ensuring life, Livlihood and Liberation (3L)