‘Social justice and development must go hand in hand’

SHILLONG June 7: With the objective to not just begin dialogue on Social Justice but also to explore and discuss conceptual framework for a centre in Social Change and Justice in Martin Luther Christian University and at the community level, the Department of Social Work, MLCU today held a seminar titled, “Social Change and Justice: Implication and Significance on the Youth,” in the university.

The resource persons for this seminar were Stan Thekaekara and Mari Thekaekara.

Stan and Mari Thekaekara founded ACCORD in 1986 to work with the adivasi communities of the Nilgiri Hills with a mission to enable the adivasi community living in the Gudalur valley to regain their lost self-reliance and to participate in the mainstream society as equal partners with dignity and pride and not as a disadvantaged community.

ACCORD’s philosophy is rooted in our faith in the ability of the tribal people to take control of their own lives and with a clear understanding of its catalytic role in the process of change among the tribal community for a temporary, time-bound period.

Speaking during the seminar, Stan Thekaekara, addressed the various issues of social injustice in our country and streesed on the fact that social justice and overall development should go hand in hand.

He added even though the world might preach social justice, we always tend to forget that we live and function in a in a system that cause poverty which leads to many other social issues.

He further spoke at length about the emerging relation between social justice and social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is the use of start-up companies and other entrepreneurs to develop, fund and implement solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues.

This concept may be applied to a variety of organizations with different sizes, aims, and beliefs. Social entrepreneurship typically attempts to further broad social, cultural, and environmental goals often associated with the voluntary sector in areas such as poverty alleviation, health care and community development.

Stan Thekaekara  while referring to his publication with his wife titled, “Social Justice and Social Entrepreneurship: Contradictory or Complementary”, said, “Social Entrepreneurship is an idea whose time has come – it is in keeping with the twenty first century, where economics has overtaken politics. We must recognise it as an approach – not as an end. It is an approach that rightly recognises the role of the individual entrepreneur – the initiator, the catalyst, the one with the new idea, the new way of doing things. The Social Justice approach on the other hand, tends to shy away from the individual and focuses on strategies and techniques for mass mobilisation, often stilting or smothering entrepreneurship in its early stages. The challenge is to get the balance right – between the individual and the larger community or stakeholders, between the economics and the politics, between social justice and social entrepreneurship.”

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