Scotland/Norway: November course

Manavodaya UK’s course in Scotland, scheduled for September, has been switched to Norway in November!

Our colleagues in Norway are organising this course and Varun Vidyarthi, from Manavodaya India, has just told them he is able to be there. This creates an opportunity for people from the UK to work with Varun and people in Norway. So we have decided to join forces.

The content of the course remains more or less the same – exploring how professionals can help to create genuine, sustainable social change.

The seminar will take place in Lillehammer, Norway, 15 – 18  November, 2012. The title is: Promoting human dignity in social work and community care – experiences and challenges.

The cost of the course is only £180 (227 euros) so that participants can buy their airfares.

Accommodation is in traditional Norwegian cabins with fire and sauna. There will be chances to go skiing, sledding and walking.

Read the full programme and get the application form below.

Programme for seminar in Lillehammer 15th – 18th of November 2012

Promoting human dignity in social work and community care.

Experiences and challenges




The purpose is to highlight and discuss practical implementation of important human values in social work and community care. The value systems and the enthusiasm for making the seminar stems from collaboration with the Manavodaya Institute for Participatory Development in Lucknow/India and an urge to develop further the discussion and relationship between people from the Manavodaya UK and likeminded people in Norway at the Samye Ling Center in Scotland last year. Our common ground is a strong belief in doing social work in the broadest sense by enabling people to act on their own behalf, taking care of themselves and become self reliant and real participants in local communities and society as a whole. This requires facilitators (professionals or volunteers) with certain values and attitudes and practical skills well internalized.

We are very happy to announce that Varun Vidyarthi will join us during the whole seminar. As many of you already know, he and his wife, Amla, are the founders of the Manavodaya Institute. Varun will be a keynote speaker, he will participate in the discussions and he will conduct the yoga sessions.

We hope that the programme will be attractive to people in Manavodaya UK, to former students from Lillehammer University College with previous experience from Manavodaya, India, to students at the masterprogramme Health Promotion and Community Care, Norway, to practitioners and networks in Norway with related interests and to teachers at university colleges in Norway.

Academic criticism towards too much state or too strong belief in neo liberalism does not solve anything. We want a practical approach with discussions of how self reliance, self esteem, personal and collective change can be facilitated, and reflection on examples showing the trial and error process. Abstract principles are not solutions either. Therefore discussions must be rooted in concrete contexts. Important features in welfare politics in UK and Norway will be highlighted in the programme: From UK the new principle of Self-Directed Support will be introduced and discussed. From Norway we will present a critical perspective on what we call individual approach to social problems with too much focus on individualized problems and solutions. We challenge this by introducing the necessity of different types of community participation which in our opinion is a slightly underestimated vehicle for personal development and change. Both topics will hopefully be a fruitful starting point for discussions about individualized responsibility vs. the necessity of community, and positive and negative aspects of intervention from a welfare state.

The seminar will alternate between lectures, discussions and other social activities. Realising the importance of personal values and spiritual commitment we will have yoga and meditation in the programme as well. Coping with reality, being able to perform right moral actions, being able to conduct our own lives according to our beliefs requires harmony and energy inside ourselves. We suppose Varun Vidyarthi is right when he argues that much of the source of this kind of development comes from within.

For more information on the Manavodaya institute we recommend:

For Manavodaya UK we recommend:

The programme

Thursday 15th:

15.00 -16.00:  Arrival, check in. Meeting the others etc

16.30: Welcome and presentation of Nordseter and the program for the days

18.00: Dinner at Nordseter Sportel

20.00: Evening session, including a short yoga program/meditation


Friday 16th:

07.30 – 08.00: Yoga

08.00 – 9.30: Breakfast

10.00:  Going to Lillehammer University College

11.00 – 12.00: Open lecture: Participatory Development, from above, below and from within. The Principles of Manavodaya  by Varun Vidyarthi from Manavodaya India. Discussion.

12.00 – 13.00: Lunch

13.00 – 15.00: Open lectures and discussions:

13.00 – 14.00:  Self-Directed Support . Introduction by Pete Richmond, representative from Manavodaya UK to the principle of individual budgeting in the UK  where the  clients now have the responsibility for disposing a fixed amount of social assistance.  Discussion.

14.00 – 14.15: Break

14.15 – 14.45: The necessity of community in social work. Challenging the individual approach to social problems in  Norway. Introduction by Bjarne Øvrelid from Lillehammer University College.

14.45 – 15.00: Discussion focusing possible similarities between welfare politics in UK and Norway and assessments concerning common features in welfare strategies. Will they promote participation and self reliance among clients?

15.00: Afternoon free. Possibilities for visiting interesting spots in Lillehammer depending on what the various participants want.

From 18.00: Preparing dinner in groups

19.00: Dinner

Cultural programme: Singing and playing. For those who want to.

Saturday 17th:

07.30 – 08.00: Yoga

08.00 – 9.30: Breakfast

10.00 – 13.00: Short narratives from participants: My experience concerning ways of transforming personal values to concrete action. What do I / we achieve? What works well and what does not? What is the problem? Reflections on why things turned out one way or the other.

We hope and expect that some of the participants want to share some experience with the rest of us.


13.00 – 14.00: Lunch

14.00 – 16.00: Into the wild. Group discussions while walking/skiing/sledding.

16.00 – 17.00: More narratives. Summing up

18.00: Preparing dinner together in groups

19.00: Dinner and a delightful evening based on a  participatory approach

Sunday 18th:

07.30 – 08.00: Yoga

08.00 – 9.15: Breakfast

9.30  – 10.15: Round up and farewell hugs

Bus to Lillehammer 10.30


Practical information: 

Most of the programme will take place at Nordseter situated 13 km up in the mountains (800 m. above sea level) from Lillehammer. The surroundings are nice with lots of opportunities for walking. The winter has most likely arrived when you get here, and there will be excellent opportunities for skiing, sledding etc. The accommodation will be in a cabin made in cosy, traditional Norwegian style with fireplace and sauna. We want to make the most out of these facilities. This is why we suggest preparing two of the dinners in the cabin in groups. Dinner on Thursday and breakfast each morning will be served at Nordseter Sportel, a few minutes’ walk from the cabin. The participants will have the pleasure of enjoying the traditional Norwegian lunch concept, called “matpakke”, which they make themselves at the breakfast table. Some of the programme will be at Lillehammer University College.




In each bed in the cabin, there are blankets and pillows, but no bed linen. You can bring your own bed linen and towel, or you can rent a set of bed linen and 2 towels for approx. 12 euro.

If you are up for a fresh Scandinavian experience (snow bathing combined with sauna), you may wish to bring your bathing suit.

There are a few buses each day from Lillehammer to Nordseter.

On Thursday there is a bus connection from Lillehammer train station 15.10 (3.10 pm) to Nordseter (arrives 15.35)

On Sunday the bus leaves Nordseter  10.30 (10.30 am)  and arrives Lillehammer 10.55.

The ticket costs 48 (6 – 7 euro)

If you arrive Lillehammer later than 15.10, please tell us and we will find another way to get you to Nordseter.

Deadline for binding registration is 25th of September. Please use the attached registration form and send it to

If you have any questions you could send an e – mail to or or phone Anne (467 75 780) or Bjarne (473 69 590)







Welcome to the seminar!

Anne and Bjarne, Høgskolen i Lillehammer

Registration form

Name: ________________________________________________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________________________________

E- mail: ________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________


Price: 1650 (approx. 227 euro). Including programme, accommodation in 2- or 4 persons room, food and transport during the seminar.

I want to rent bed linen and towels (costs 90 approx. 12 euro)        yes___                  no ____

I want a single room (costs 1200, approx. 165 euro, extra)                 yes___                  no ____

I am a vegetarian                                                                                                                              yes___                  no ____

If you have wishes concerning roommates, write the name(s) here:


I arrive at Lillehammer later than 3.10 pm on Thursday, and I need transportation to Nordseter. Please tell us when you arrive:  ________________________________________

I am driving my own car and I have possibilities to help with transport during the seminar:


I want to make a presentation on Saturday concerning some of my experiences  yes___no ____

Duration: approx. _________ minutes

Other information considering food, allergies, accommodation etc. _____________________________________________________________________________


Please send this registration form to as soon as possible and not later than the 25 th. of September.  For your registration to be valid, you also have to pay for the seminar to the following account:

Accountnr. (kontonr.): 76940501462

Høgskolen i Lillehammer, Postboks 952, N-2604 Lillehammer

Please mark in annotation field (norsk: skriv i merknadsfeltet): ”Tiltak 12002, Budsjettenhet: 2901”

(For payment from UK: IBAN: NO1376940501462, BIC/Swift: DNBANOKK)