Dr. Manibhai Desai, was born in Kosmada Village in Surat District of Gujarat on 27th April, 1920. As a young student, he joined Mahatma Gandhi during the Quit India Movement. In 1945, he received a letter from Gandhiji to come to Sevagram Ashram in Wardha. In 1946, Gandhiji established the Nature Cure Ashram at Urulikanchan near Pune and entrusted its responsibility to Manibhai. Manibhai was the pioneer in initiating sustainable management of natural resources for rural upliftment through the voluntary movement in India. During a span of 47 years, he not only promoted Nature Cure Ashram but also established BAIF Development Research foundation (formerly known as the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation).
Dr. Manibhai Desai was got many Awards for his significant contribution to Rural Development followings are some of them –
Padmashree for Rural Upliftment and Community Development (1968).
D.Sc. (Honoris Causa) by the Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri, Maharashtra (1977).
Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service, Philippines (1982).
G. J. Watumull Memorial Award for dedicated devotion to Gandhian principles in rural development (1982).
Jamnalal Bajaj Award for Application of Science and Technology (1983).
Best Man of the Year Award by the Bio-Energy Society of India for outstanding contribution in the field of Bio-energy (1986).
Vasant Rao Naik Award for Rural Development with reference to Animal Husbandry & Dairy Development (1988).
Vishwa Gurjari National Award for Rural Upliftment (1989).
National Citizen Award for Rural Development (1991).
Pune’s Pride – Life Time Achievement (posthumously) by Residency Club, Pune (1995).
Awards to Institution
- Gopal Ratna, Gosamvardhan Central Council, New Delhi, to Ashram Shala Urulikanchan (for Gir Cows) (1962).
- FICCI Award for Rural Development, (1978).
- Indira Priyadarshini Vrikshamitra Award – Afforestation & Wasteland Development, 1986
- Certificate of Appreciation, II World Buffalo, (1988).
- Gurjar Ratna, - Vadodara Gujarat Vikas Sangh (1990).
Dr. Manibhai Desai dedicated his entire life to the upliftment of the Rural Poor. After 50 years of committed service to grassroots development, Manibhai breathed his last November 14, 1993. His mission is being fulfilled by the BAIF family.
GRISERV Interventions - The 'Big Push' to Self-Help
India has rich
democratic and entrepreneurial traditions and has, in face of emerging rural
crisis, thrown up numerous outstanding examples of communities struggling
to improve their environment, some of which have shown through the dint of
their hard work and persistent that dealing with 'ecological poverty' is in
fact, the starting point in dealing with 'economic poverty'. There is therefore
no dearth of opportunities that can and should be seized to get rid of poverty
and illiteracy, improve living standards, and maintain a balance between want
GRISERV's intervention with the self-help groups has provided the much-required
push towards theses actions. The Vasundhara experience in the Valsad district
deserves the place on the developmental map as after the agency's interventions
the women Thrift and Credit societies have almost changes to rural enterprises.
Another example of GRISERV's interventions lies in providing 600 Family size
Biogas Plants clean cooking fuel to the member houses proving demonstrating
example of pertinent "Big Push".
The 1,300 Self-help Groups spread in the 13 districts of the state actively
strive to revolve funds and sustain their livelihoods. GRISERV is trying to
set its footprints to bridge the gap between the urban rural divide.
Our efforts at the Earthquake Rehabilitation and Post Rehabilitation have
achieved noteworthy success as well.
With this revolutionary vision GRISERV, has been working in the rural areas
of the state extending it reach to the remotest of the village of the state.