As a way of building up Ekta Parishad and social action in India, Maja Kone and Rajagopal developed the concept of CESCI- Centre for Experiencing Socio-Cultural Interaction, and it was set up in 1994 as a resource and alternative education centre in Madurai, South India. The concept was designed to bring together the concerned individuals and groups from Europe (the North) with activists from India (the South) in an effort to forge solidarity, friendship and to facilitate the local, national and global process of uplifting the oppressed and marginalized. CESCI was developed as a training and cultural centre where people could meet in a relaxed atmosphere. Another goal was to allow Europeans to experience the culture of India and its social problems, always with a view to making their participation a benefit to the social action being carried out by Ekta Parishad.
The Centre’s main purpose is to provide a place to the activists of the social movement - Ekta Parishad, where they can get training, reflect on their work and take rest from their harsh everyday life. Ekta Parishad is active in different rural states of India. Ekta Parishad consists of about 300 social activists, whose work reflects the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence, honest conduct and maintaining one’s integrity and independence. For over twenty years members of the movement have been remarkably successful in mobilizing landless people in villages, adivasi (native forest dwellers), forced labourers, women and children to stand up for their rights. The work of Ekta Parishad focuses on intervention and action against the misuse of power, corruption, fraud, and economic exploitation (disregard of minimum wages, bonded labour, illegal appropriation of land, dumping of toxic waste, and destruction of natural resources like land, water and forests that are fundamental to life). More about www.ektaparishad.com