By stimulating discussion of local issues, PIDT seeks to generate awareness of alternatives through the cultivation of analytic capacity, motivation and change orientation. We understand awareness as a way of looking at and being in the world rather than the more frequently used “awareness of” a particular issue. It is the wakefulness and responsiveness that enables continuous learning, beyond the more limited acquisition of knowledge itself. This type of awareness builds a self-reliant posture in an individual. The oppressed are not oppressed because they are not capable. They are oppressed because they have been told they are not capable and, after years and centuries of this being ingrained in their psyches, they defer to the oppressor’s claim to entitlement that is based on nothing but the power of assertion. The assistance the oppressed need is minimal. They need most of all to be asked and given space to answer a simple question: Is there anything they are doing that you cannot do? We have found there is not.
One of the first steps PIDT takes is to foster the people’s appreciation and capacity for working collectively, initially forming samities, or small community societies, that work toward social change and local development through group discussion, prioritization, planning and action. These samities are scaled up into Self-Help Groups with added savings and lending activities, and brought together into larger federations, self conscious of their capacity to transform. Thus the cooperative and participatory nature is maintained even as the people engage in higher level economic and political activities.
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