Hailing from Maharashtra Dr. Kalpana Shastree founded Samudaay in Bihar and got it registered in 1980. Rosera, the area where Samuday is still centered (not confined) is a pocket in Mithila region of north Bihar. Surrounded by four rivers it is flood prone but has a very rich soil and so is most densely populated (1169 per sq.km.). Rich agricultural land, in absence of any planning for other auxiliary industries, does not create much employment and men are compelled to go to other places to earn their bread. Many of the families are women headed and are suffering all kinds of problems and exploitation in a society which is male dominated and feudal.
For the first five years (1980-85) Samuday was engaged in a kind pedagogic research work in only five villages. It developed a very appropriate methodology to implement its health and education work targeting illiterate, landless Dalit population of the area.
Samuday made an opportunity of a misery of great flood of 1987 and successfully multiplied its health and education work in about 100 flood affected villages of the area.This spread of work was also people based. Leaders from different villages, who felt the need were approaching Samuday to organize and implement the work in their own villages.This was the time when the organization really engaged itself in organization and awareness building work. All its need based works i.e. health, education etc. was used for entering deep into society and building group of women leaders in the villages.We can count this period as from 1987 to 1997.Many kinds of local movements, health and social change activities were launched during this period.In 1997 Govt. of India produced a documentary film which was showed all over the country in all the 14 recognized languages. In many ways health work methods developed by us inspired also the rural health planning group of the Govt. of India to adopt the “Asha” programme. One of the member of the group had been our health work adviser. But we realized that to go ahead in future we have to focus our work on future leaders i.e. adolescent girls. We reduced the spread of our activities considerably to evolve a suitable approach and activity for the development of leadership among adolescent girls.Riding bicycle was a taboo in Bihar for women and girls. We carried this social change programme from our experience of 1994 when we had launched a three month programme of riding bicycle by Dalit girls.Between 2000 to 2010 we distributed some 300 bicycles to adolescent girls and some 1000 girls learnt to ride bicycle at the training campus of Samuday.
We discussed about the positive impact of this programme with competent govt. officials and also with the Chief Minister of Bihar. Today the Govt. has adopted bicycle programme for school girls.The atmosphere is changed and that taboo of “Bicycle and Women” has vanished. Girls are out on bicycle covering miles to continue their study.Now we are contemplating another critical social change activity to establish the leadership of women in the society.In all these efforts we have been supported by OXFAM, B.F.W., S.R.C., GOAL, HRD ministry, Caritas India, NORAD, T.C.I., N. G. Foundation, Bhoruka Charitable trust, P.D.A. Foundation, N.C.Pl. etc.We are grateful to them and are sure of better achievements in future.