Vivekananda Sevakendra-O-Sishu Uddyan (VSSU), a registered society under West Bengal Societies Registration Act 1961, has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a local organization in 1983. Founded by Sri Kapilananda Mondal, VSSU began by providing basic social development programs to the local community through education, environment and healthcare endeavors.
VSSU operates on the philosophy that the community itself possesses the resources for growth and development; however, they lack the mechanisms to harness these resources themselves. Thus to sustainably support social development activities financially, VSSU started individual micro finance programs in 1994. Due to rapid growth of the microfinance programs, in 1997 "Swanirbhar Gosthi" was formally established to provide 'Savings based Credit' to the individuals. 'Ashok Nilay', a separate registered society, was formed in 2003 to facilitate the community development programs of VSSU, which include a crèche program, primary school and scholarship support, as well as healthcare, sanitation and social forestry programs.
Chief Functionary : Sri Kapilananda Mondal, Founder-Secretary
Legal Status : Registered Society , Year of Establishment : 1983 AD
Registration : Registered in 1986 under West Bengal Societies Registration Act XXVI of 1961
Registration No. S/51440 of 1986-1987
Area of Operation : 710 villages of 10 Blocks under the District of 24 Parganas (S) West Bengal.
Direct beneficiaries : 130000+ in Micro finance and 85000+ in Social dev Skill and livelihood promotional programmes
No. of full time Staff: 130
In 1983, VSSU informally began as an organization dealing with issues of education, health, and the environment in Ullon and South 24 Parganas. The organization quickly evolved and became an officially registered society in 1986. Since that time, VSSU has expanded the area in which it works, as well as the activities it engages in, as illustrated through the timeline below. The name VSSU stands for “Vivekananda Sevakendra –o- Sishu Uddyan.” “Vivekananda” is in honor of the Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda, who preached ideals of service to mankind. “Sevakendra” means service center, or welfare group. “Sishu Uddyan” means children’s heaven, with the idea that the children are the future of our nation and the world. Therefore, VSSU collectively means “Vivekananda service center and children’s heaven.
When VSSU began, Kapilananda Mondal had the sincere goal of having VSSU be self-sufficient. With the vision “community development through community resources,” Kapil resolved to not accept any funding from national or international organizations for over 24 years. The reason Mr. Mondal didn’t want to accept any outside funding is because, like the Russian writer Maxim Gorky suggested to a young man asking for advice, he wanted to spend time with the people in order to be successful. Kapil felt that if he was able to successfully run VSSU for 24 years by spending time with the people and responding to their needs, then he would have earned the right to work with external agencies. With the belief that the community has enough resources to bring about its own development, VSSU evolved gradually over the years to become what it is today.