About My Organisation, Impulse NGO Network
History of Impulse
Impulse has its beginning in the 1980s. It was at that time when Team Leader Hasina Kharbhih attended St. Joseph’s Convent School in Shillong. One of the school’s activities was the Leadership Training Service (LTS), which encouraged the students to volunteer their time to charities on the weekends. Thus, from 1987 onwards, Kharbhih began volunteer work. However, after moving on to Lady Keane College, Kharbhih no longer had LTS to encourage the volunteer work. At that point, Kharbhih and others began an LTS alumni group, headed by Kharbhih and Cynthia Chu. The group began meeting informally and visiting local institutions working with Shillong’s poor and destitute groups. As the group began analysing the situations of the institutions, they began to see needs that were not being met.
The organisation’s more formal work began in 1993 with rural livelihood projects, and in 1996 it officially registered as Impulse Inc. the name “Impulse” coming from Bobby Dutt, a founding board member, to describe the original founders’ usually impulsive, resistive, and eager-to-change-things nature. Later, in 1999, the organisation re-registered under the Society’s Registration Act XXI of 1860 as Impulse NGO Network after the founding members came together to restructure the organisation and decided to configure the organisation as a conduit for networking to bring about social reforms and economic development. Although the organisation is still following that same configuration, from 2008 onward, the organisation shall be known simply as “Impulse.”
Through the years, the organisation has undertaken a variety of projects including leading courses, organising projects, and producing research and documentation. The earliest projects of the organisation were working with rural women. The volunteers began working with women living in villages and looking at ways to help them use their traditional skills to create a sustainable livelihood. Projects in this field continued for over a decade.
At the same time Impulse’s volunteers were beginning to work on rural livelihood projects, they were also conducting fundraising projects for other organisations. The first of which was the “Charity cum Fashion Show” on 4th June 1995 that raised Rs. 23,000 for the Charitable Dispensaries and the Society for the Welfare of the Disabled. Fashion shows continued, and soon rock concerts began as well. The Lighthouse Concert on 23rd
November 1996 raised Rs. 95, 867 for the Integrated Educational Centre for Visually Impaired.
The organisation’s growing volunteer base and contacts soon were offered a one-month leadership, communications, and volunteer course led by Hasina Kharbhih. Soon after, due to Rosanna Lyngdoh (now Project Manager at Impulse) and her passion for trekking and the outdoors, a new element was added to the course: one-day trekking programmes. The innovative outdoors sports programme provided a feeling of privacy for the trekking break/sessions, and the discussion groups of the course soon showed the organisation there was a need for youth to have other education, particularly in sexual health and HIV/AIDS. Thus, in 2000 when Kharbhih was awarded the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia Award for Excellence in Youth Work — for the development of Impulse NGO Network, the youth course and her previous recognition from the Government of India — she approached the Commonwealth Youth Programme Asia with the idea of supporting an adolescent health programme. They agreed, and the Training of Trainers programme began — and later the Commonwealth named her a Commonwealth Youth Programme Ambassador for Positive Living to carry forward the innovations to other countries. Eventually the programme was noted in BBC World Service Trust’s Haath se Haath Milaa, which documented the innovations in a television serial featuring people campaigning for issues surrounding HIV/AIDS.
While Impulse continued to work in HIV/AIDS education, the organisation also conducted a study on the effects on Meghalayans of the government ban on timber, which took place in 1996, and was gradually affecting the communities. Through its livelihood projects and other work, the organisation realised that after the government directive, there was a mass migration of rural persons to urban settings; children were often coming to the cities as domestic maids or working in the tea stalls, and there was also a growth of street children.
Around the same time the organisation was undergoing a restructure — with a decidedly more-focused effort on helping the forces of migration decrease to make social change — Team Leader Kharbhih attended and presented information at a conference organized by North Eastern Council and UNICEF. The conference was held to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) —which the Government of India ratified in December 1992 — and to deliberate on the status of the child in the North East. Representatives from all eight North Eight states were in attendance, and a 10-point three-year agenda was crafted, addressing health and nutrition, education, anganwadi workers, drug abuse and HIV/AIDS, research, peace initiatives, review of laws, water issues, advocacy, and monitoring and regular reporting on child rights.
After the conference, Impulse made a committed effort to present the problems of children in North East and take forward the 10-point agenda as a guiding principle to work on child right issues. This agenda continues to guide the organisation’s work.
Shortly thereafter, the organisation presented its findings at an event in Kolkata, where Impulse became acquainted with ATSEC, who informed those there that the working children and missing children may have been trafficked. Thus in 2001, the organisation launched a letter/e-mail campaign — as part of a larger process — to inform anti-trafficking partners (met via ATSEC) of their willingness to work on the issue of human trafficking, which encompasses the many problems the organisation was seeing such as child labour, sexual exploitation of children, and child marriages. The process, which took place over a year, was developed to meet the needs and challenges Impulse faced at each step. Recognized as a formal process by South Asia Regional Initiative/Equity Support Program, it was also noted as a “good practice”. Now known as the “Meghalaya Model”, the initiative incorporates networking with different stakeholders in the state to ensure successful repatriation and has received further recognition as a “good practice” by UNDP in 2007, Ashoka in 2007, and the Government of India — where it is in draft to become a national model.
Knowing that many trafficked women and children are in the sex industry, the organisation realised their risks for becoming infected with HIV/AIDS. Today, most of the organisation’s focus is thus on child rights and HIV/AIDS education.
You can view our website www.impulseasia.org
We are looking for people from around the world to join hands and support the initiative in any way they can and professional around the world can join us as Volunteers and sponsored trafficked children in education, livelihood and can get in touch with us.