Bawana Resettlement colony is situated in the North West of Delhi. This colony is one of the 3 new locations chosen by GFA to expand its activities in 2010.
According to the interviews held, more than 60000 people are currently living in the 11 blocks of this colony. Most of the inhabitants were earlier living in the Yamuna Pushta area. Bawana is said to have an overall capacity of 12,000 plots.
1. Occupation and Income
The majority of people living there are daily wage earners. Among the men, some go to Chandi Chowk or to West Delhi to ride rickshaws. Others go to market places such as Azadpur or Keshavpur to sell vegetables. Few also go to commercial areas in Chawri bazaar and Chandni Chowk to load goods. Some of them work as laborers in Bawana, Narela, Khanjawala or nearby villages.
Women and children as well work in nearby factories in low skills types of occupation. According to the interviewees, the pay is extremely low. They get paid Rs 6 for making 1000 boxes in a day or Rs 10 for making 100 beads. The amount collected is far from the minimum wages. Few women also travel to Rohini to work as maid. They leave their house as early as 5 in morning and reach back home at 10pm.
The average household monthly income is between Rs 1500-3000 depending on number of people working in the family.
Water is provided through tube well boring and is extremely dirty. There have been reports about health problems in the area due to the pollution of water.
The ration providing process is not efficient in Bawana. Adequate quantity is an issue, the dealer is said to use incorrect measurement tools. However, people prefer to stay quiet as if they tried to complain they could be refused their ration. In families where only one person works, ration service is a crucial help.
In addition, number of ration cards was burnt during fires, a quite frequent phenomenon in the colony. Obtaining a new card means more than 5-6 visits to the concerned department and consequently a heavy loss of daily wages.
There is only one government dispensary with an irregular doctor’s attendance providing for the needs of the whole colony. Inhabitants mostly depend on health facilities provided by NGOs.
There are five primary schools in the colony and one middle school. Children have to go outside the colony for higher schooling. 36 Anganwadi are present but their service is said to be extremely bad.
Many children in the colony do not go to school because they work in nearby factories or have to look after their younger siblings because their parents are working.
There are many organizations in Bawana already working on non-formal education or alternate schooling but education still remains a crucial problem. People complain that girls drop out of school after 8th standard, to continue they would have to travel far outside the colony. There is thus a strong demand that the school within Bawana should provide classes till 12th standard.
In addition, serious cases of ill-treatment by school teacher have happened. A girl died in the colony because of harsh corporal punishment.
The bus frequency is sufficient but as the colony is located far from main centres traveling time is very long.
Janta Mazdoor colony is situated in Jaffrabad area, near the Welcome Metro Station (East Delhi). This colony is one of the 3 new locations chosen by GFA to expand its activities in 2010.
The Janta Mazdoor colony was set up 32 years ago. It’s an unauthorized colony. Initially when people started coming here, they took available land from the local pradhan at rates set by him, even if he was not the owner of the land. Over the years they have started building pucca houses. However, 10% of the population still stays in kutcha houses. The current population of the area is close to 60000 persons (according to the inhabitants interviewed).There is 14 blocks in the area; it’s a mixed religious colony with both Muslim and Hindu residing here. In 1992 there was a riot like situation but since then the colony has remained calm and there have been no communal tension. People mainly arrived from the state of UP, Bihar, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh.
2. Occupation and Income
Most of the people in the colony are daily wage earners. They are rickshaw pullers, have their own cart in market, sell vegetables and so on. Stitching is also a major occupation here. Blue-jeans are stitched locally from raw materials provided by dealers outside the colony. Many houses have small stitching units within their house. The average monthly income is Rs 2500-3000.
3. Facilities available
Till recently water tankers used to be stationed very far from the colony and filling water was a difficult task. Things have improved slightly, now the tankers come in the morning near the colony. Women and children are mainly the ones who fill water every day. In addition, even if some people have hand-pumps in front of their houses, they are not getting water due to decreasing water levels.
(ii) Toilet and sanitation
There are few houses which have toilet facilities and due to lack of proper method of getting it cleaned it has added to woes of people in the colony. The waste from these toilets is cleared on the lanes of colony itself causing a crucial sanitation and health issue. Community toilets are present as well and are used by the inhabitants. At night most people do not go to the toilets because there are no guards and therefore defecate near the colony itself.
The daily garbage is collected from each household and thrown in a dustbin outside if not salable.
(iii) Schooling and education
Children attend the primary schools found nearby the colony. However, the colony witnesses a high dropout phenomenon after class 5.
Some children attend remedial classes set up by various NGOs like Chetnalaya and tuition centers as well.
The crucial problem however is the Anganwadi. The Anganwadis are not found within the colony but in a different locality. The inhabitants have approached the responsible officers and asked them to set up centers within colony without any avail since. Mothers complain that the distance is too far to drop children daily. Moreover the food quality is very poor.
Health issue is the biggest concern of the inhabitants. Only private doctors and clinics are available nearby and therefore their services are costly. Sometimes to access free or less expensive services the patients have to spend money on travel. People also complain that doctors are very rude.
Youths who have dropped out of school, most of the time, do not have work. Once in a while they hear about small tasks and work on them but most of the time they are unemployed. There are courses running for girls in GRC but for men there is still no work and training either.
(vi) Legal training
There have been legal trainings provided to women members of the Mahila panchayat. Few have also filed RTIs to build their cases but learning from these trainings has not been shared to a wide range of persons and very few are the ones who use it. Amongst other problems, there are still people who do not have ration card or people with wrong information written on their ration card who therefore cannot access government services.
Sanjay Camp is situated in Chanakyapuri area, near the Embassy of Nigeria and the RailMuseum. This colony is one of the 3 new locations chosen by GFA to expand its activities in 2010.
Some of the inhabitants of Sanjay Camp have lived there for the past 30 years; “This used to be embassy area. We had come here to construct the nearby embassies and tin roofs were placed at this site for our work. Even after embassies construction was completed we continued to stay here in the same manner. Slowly we stated constructing permanent structures”.
Most of the people are migrants from the states of UP, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Bengal. According to the people met, the illegal colony counts close to 6000 households.
2. Occupation & income
The majority of the inhabitants are daily wage earners such as construction workers. Some of them travel to Navada, Noida, Gurgaon or any other place where some construction work is happening. The women earn daily wages as well. Few of them work as maids in the nearby area of Moti Bagh. The average household monthly income is Rs 2500-3000.
This problem concerns mostly young people. Girls of the community learnt how to stitch and do some tailoring but did not find work related to these skills. Similarly, batches of boys were trained into computer skills, TV & radio maintenance but have also not found work in these sectors. According to the persons met, the unemployment of youth is a crucial problem of the community and training classes without placement or business creation support is useless.
3. Infrastructure & Services available
(i) Education situation
There are 8 anganwadi in the community for children within the age group of 1 to 6. For the primary level, there is one NDMCSchool till class 5. For higher schooling children go to the neighbouring areas of Moti Bagh or Bapu Dham.
Several cases of drop out exist in families where older children have to look after their younger siblings. The highest rates of drop-out appears in classes 6, 7 and 8.
Water comes to the colony but is very erratic. There is one tap for most of the people living there. The tap is located inside a ditch which gets filled with dirty water during the monsoon thus creating a sanitation risk. Sometimes, people just get muddy water from the tap. The water usually comes for 1 hour only during which a high number of families have to collect it. This creates such problems that some people choose to cycle and get water from other areas like Rose Garden or Bapu Dham.
Electricity is supplied to every house for free (no electricity bills). Sometimes the community comes together to get things, such as transformers or wires, mended.
In the colony, the ration service is very limited. People have to go as far as Race Course or Teen Murti to collect their monthly ration. While rice and wheat are regularly available, sugar is not. People suspect that the dealers often put fake signatures against sugar supplied.
From the main road, the bus service is good and regular.
There are no general health services available in the colony. The inhabitants have to travel to Moti Bagh for check-ups or emergencies. This situation becomes more difficult during night time. The only health activities going on in the colony are children immunization and pregnancy check-ups carried out by the anganwadi centres.
There is one toilet in the colony which has close to 21 seats. However, some of the people living near the railway also use them. Hence, the actual number of users is over the prescribed limits. Moreover, regular water is supplied for men but not for women. According to the people met this situation is explained by the fact that men pay Rs 1 for utilization and Rs 5 for washing of cloth but that the use of toilet is free for ladies. Hence, according to them the women toilets are badly maintained.
The waste collection is well organized. An NDMC dustbin is placed outside the colony and garbage is regularly taken out.
Integrated approach to development with a prime focus on health and gender issues is the basic theme of all programs. The organization works on issue of children and other groups like women in distress ,people living with HIV ,Adolescent girls, truckers, commercial sex workers etc.
The programs include Primary Health Care, reproductive & Child health, HIV prevention amongst truckers & sex workers, Gender Resource Centre, care & support to people living with HIV/AIDS, Legal literacy and formation of Mahila Panchayats and Adolescent development programs.
Programs in Savda Ghevra
Child Survival India program on Health started in April 2008. As of now the program is envisaged to run till September 2011.
To strengthen and enhance the primary health care facilities in the Savda Ghevra resettlement colony and develop its linkages with public health system to improve the health status, especially the maternal and child health status in the communities.
CSI and GFA opened four OPDs in the different blocks of the community. Two of these OPDs have paid services, while afternoon shift in the Directorate of Health Services dispensary and the OPD at GMR are getting support for medicines etc. from the resources of these respective agencies. The OPDs run 6 days a week, each with a set of full time team, including a Doctor, an ANM, and a clinic attendant etc. Through a nominal consultation charge of Rs. 5, the patient is given a 2 day dose of basic medicines.
2. Swasthya Samooh’s
A group of 10-15 members were mobilized for every 200 families, resulting in a total of 25 groups in the entire community. These groups were formed to ensure the long term sustainability of the program by building up the community’s capacity. In the first year the members of these groups have been provided knowledge & skills on primary health care issues, with special focus on maternal & child health issues. The focus now is to make them the change agents in the community.
3. Organizing Health Camps
A series of specialized Health Camps run in order to complement the General Physicians at the OPD’s and to cater to the diverse health needs of the community e.g. Eye check up, Dental camps, skin and VD, breast cancer, orthopedic problems etc.
4. Emergency transportation facility
Ambulance service is provided through the system of ‘Suraksha Van 24×7’ in the project area for ensuring availability of vehicle at the time of health emergency.
Staff, monitoring mechanism
There are 13 members engaged in health project In Savda Ghevra including the project coordinator, Doctors, ANMs and community health educators.
Monthly reports are sent by the organization to the funders as well as Growth for All. Assigned staff from Growth for All submits reports based on observation, interaction with project beneficiary, staff, and swastha samoohs members. Quarterly meetings are held between Directors of both the organization.
Set up in 1996, Dr. Reddy’s Foundation (DRF) is a non-profit partner of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.
The Foundation’s major programs aim at poverty alleviation in the country through promotion of quality education and livelihood advancement for young people. LivelihoodAdvancementBusinessSchool (LABS), one of the flagship programs of DRF, is a new-economy livelihood promotion- training program which is exclusively designed for school dropouts/ unemployed secondary school graduates/ street youth/ retrenched workers/ migrant youth. The program supports both employment opportunity oriented workforce training as well as tiny and micro-enterprise development.
In the Education sector, DRF seeks to spread quality education through its PudamiNeighborhoodSchools, TransitEducationCenters, YUVAYouthLearningCenters, AltiusAdvancementSchool, Kallam Anji Reddy Vidyalaya and VocationalJunior College.
Program in Savda Ghevra:
105 students underwent an intensive training under the LABS program. After the successful training, the students were placed into various organizations. Many of the individuals were placed into corporate organizations like Pizza Hut, Spencers, Radha Krishna Hospitality Services and in addition to this few also started their own micro-entrepreneurship. In total, close to 90 individuals found jobs after the completion of the training.
Website under construction.
Hasmukh Kala Trust, founded by Mr. Hemchandra Javeri is a dedication to his grand-mother, Hirabai Javeri, a renowned artiste, who along with her sister, Shyamalabai Mazgaonkar, initiated the Swami Samarth Sangeet Vidyalaya, in 1929. With dedication, passion, caring and commitment, they taught music to women from all walks of life. Along with music, women also learnt how to live their lives with self-confidence and dignity. They built a Hindustani classical music school for women, by women and of women.
Hasmukh Kala uses art in the form of music and dance to bring. about transformation and empowerment of women’. Music has often enabled talented people from different backgrounds and cultures achieve incredible things. Hasmukh Kala identifies such hidden talent, provides quality education, support, infrastructure and environment to them, and acts as a catalyst to help transform their lives.
Program in Savda Ghevra:
Hasmukh Kala was introduced in Savda Ghevra, by with Growth-for-All, in April 2008. The project in Savda addresses over 120 young girls and women, and a few boys. With classes being held twice a week, on Saturdays and Sundays, under the tutelage of a dynamic and committed “Guru Ji”, the children get an excellent exposure to the wonderful world of music.Based on the number of children participating, the students are divided into three groups or classes. The first two groups are for girls, and focus on music and dance, while the third group is for boys with a keen interest in learning how to play musical instruments like the guitar, harmonium, drums and tabla. Since starting in April 2008, Hasmukh Kala has generated tremendous amount of interest among children who never miss a day of practice. The enthusiasm can be seen in their participation in “The Independence Day Concert” inside the community. The concert saw coming together of children with unique talent and improvising their ability to perform.
The interest shown by children has led the Hasmukh Kala Foundation to distribute scholarships to extremely promising and talented children. 5 children from Savda’s Hasmukh Kala were provided a scholarship of amount Rs 1000 in the month of November, 2008.
The extremely successful journey thus far has motivated Hasmukh Kala to expand its work in Savda Ghevra. Going forward, Hasmukh Kala plans to reach out to older women of the community besides providing advanced training to promising and talented children who have crossed the first stage
Staff and Monitoring:
Hasmukh kala is operated by team of two, The Music teacher and program coordinator. Growth for All receives weekly update from the program coordinator. The field coordinator of Growth for All also reports his observation on weekly basis.
GRASAcademy is an initiative of graduates from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta who share a common desire to bring about social change by empowering unemployed and out-of-work youth with vocational skills to make them employable, capable of earning a livelihood and supporting their families. In 2008 GRAS launched its specialist division - Skill Development and Employment Centre (SD & EC), an expansion to encompass skills development across a variety of industry verticals in which skills are increasingly needed in smaller cities and towns.
GRASAcademy works in both urban and rural areas, delivering programmes that support individual, corporate and government initiatives offering vocational training, skills development and support, and employment opportunities. GRAS is a Retailers Association of India (RAI) certified Vocational Training Provider. GRAS is a Government of India (DGE&T) certified Vocational Training Provider
GRAS Vocational Education and Training (VET) : It offers vocational training modules in the hospitality and retail sectors, complemented with life-skills, for urban youth seeking training in order to become more ‘employable’; it offers companies tailor-made programmes to upgrade existing staff skill levels, and to recruit new staff with essential basic skills.
GRAS Skills Development and Employment Centre (SD&EC): It provides skills training tied in with job placements for Indian youth living in the smaller cities, towns and rural areas.
They work in more than 35 projects and our focus is distributed to the following areas:
Education : Deepalaya aims to promote and provide qualitative education at affordable costs to children and communities, which are socially and economically deprived. They have established 337 educational centers where 50,000 beneficiaries are educated through formal and non-formal education.
Institutional Care : Under this program children living on the streets, in need of shelter, care are provided shelter and better life at the hostel in Deepalaya Gram, in village Gusbethi in the state of Haryana.
Vocational Training: The Vocational training centers seek to provide better jobs to young adults from marginalized communities. It runs a training center in Khirki village which provides training on various courses
Health : the Community Health program focuses on preventive and promoting health. Through various health related interventions, Deepalaya have been able to reach out to 64,436 beneficiaries in 76 locations of Delhi’s slums.
Differently-Abled : Disability became an important core of Deepalaya work. The first breakthrough was setting up of Centre for Special Children at DeepalayaSchool, Sanjay Colony. In 2008, the Centre shifted to Gandhi Basti and has been making life better for many children since then.
Gender Equity: Working in the Mewat region of Haryana where gender discrimination is rampant, Deepalaya started a comprehensive program on Self Help Groups in 1999. Until 2005 it has covered 308 groups with 3216 women in all 84 villages of the Tavru Block. The movement is also being implemented in the slum locations of Delhi.
Deepalaya acts as resource and training institute to other ngos. It organizes capacity building workshops for several ngo’s.
MARG, Multiple Action Research Group
The organizationworks on socio-legal issues related to discriminated and marginalized groups both at the mass level and at the level of policy makers. MARG is a forerunner in the sphere of legal empowerment through legal literacy workshops and undertaking action research on socio –legal issues. A majority of MARG’s legal awareness workshops aim at creating a cadre of women paralegal at the community level. MARG has trained over 300 persons per year, such as lawyers, police, teachers, panchayat members, community mobilisers, self help groups, etc. 80% of the persons trained are women.
MARG is a pioneer in creating legal training materials and advocacy tools, notably “Hamare Kanoon” and “Bol Basanto”- a 10 episode film on women’s rights. In addition, MARG has produced posters, literacy pamphlets, and radio programs on issues related to violence against women .MARG’s action research work relating to displacement, rehabilitation, personal laws, laws relating to rape have all addressed issues affecting women. MARG members have actively participated and contributed to law reform initiatives of the Law Commission, statutory national institutions and civil society networks.
Program in Savda Ghevra:
Legal Empowerment of community members: Under the program 15 Para-legals and 45 Community members are being trained on legal issues in Savda. This is done through a monthly workshop where a particular issue is discussed. The issues are very much related to lives of people and deals with concern of Rights, Law, and Police, Government department (Public Distribution systems, Education, Water, Sanitation and so on). Exposure visits are done. The objective is to provide adequate information and training to people in Savda so that they are able to take up issues concerning themselves from a legal stand-point.
Staff and Monitoring:
The workshops are conducted by trainers from MARG. Community mobilization is done by Growth for All. Feedback is taken from the participants after the workshops are conducted. Growth for -all members are presents during the workshop.
Tata Consultancy Service – Corporate Adult Literacy Program (ALP) Group
Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, business solutions and outsourcing organization. The CBFL programme teaches reading skills to illiterate adults, between the ages of 18-50 years, who have not
attended a formal school. It uses animated graphics and a voiceoverto explain how individual alphabets combine to give structure and meaning to various words. The settings for the lessons are visually stimulating and crafted in a manner that learners can easily relate to. n CBFL is implemented using computers, which deliver the lessons (via puppet shows) in multimedia form to the learners. Supplementing computers in this process are reference textbooks or primers from the National Literacy
Mission (NLM) and State Resource Centres (SRC). TCS has adopted the NLM approach and has incorporated content from many of the NLM primers into its courses, as the NLM Primers are widely tested, readily available, and highly usable.
Program in Savda Ghevra:
The Corporate Adult Literacy Program was implemented in Savda and ran for a period of 6 months was classes for 20 women were held on daily basis. The computer based curriculum was imparted by local instructor who was trained by TCS. At the end of the course women were able to understand and learn basic of hindi varna mala (alphabets), words and sentences. However, due to dwindling attendance the course could not be extended for a longer period of time.
Staff and Monitoring:
A local instructor was recruited to take classes for women. Growth for All coordinator was responsible for mobilizing women and keeping daily records of the progress made.
Maruti Driving School
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. has launched MarutiDrivingSchool — its initiative for promoting safe driving. MDS tries to impart better driving skills and inculcate safe driving culture through special theoretical sessions for behavioural training and road sense. The school was the first to introduce advanced driving training simulator for better judgment and concept of route maps for holistic on-road practice. Training is imparted by trained instructors.. The certification of Instructors comes after a tough evaluation process. There is use of advanced passenger car simulators for imparting driving training. The simulator familiarizes the trainee with car controls, before the trainee actually takes the car on road. It also simulates a variety of conditions such as night driving, hill driving, road and light conditions. It follows a curriculum that comprises comprehensive theory and practical sessions. The theoretical component focuses extensively on attitudinal and behavioural training and deals with the problem of road rage.
Program in Savda Ghevra
MarutiDrivingSchool runs free classes for underprivileged youth. Youngsters belonging to below poverty line families are given opportunity to attend and learn the driving skill free of cost. 2 young men from Savda interested in learning driving and take it as a job opportunity underwent the training in Sarai Kale Khan, training center.
Manas Foundation, a New Delhi-based registered trust, was founded in 2000 by a group of mental health professionals in response to their experience of the growing need for community-based mental healthcare.
Manas Foundation is one of GFA’s partners. Their team will be providing carrier counseling sessions to youths of Savda who will attend vocational training classes. In the meantime, Manas conducted series of workshop in Savda Ghevra during the past few weeks. The workshops aimed at better understanding the issues of mental health in community.
What is the importance of goal settings ? How do we decide which means to use to achieve an end ? How context and environment play significant roles in our actions and decisions ? How different do young girls feel about work they do ? What women feel about being happy, conflict resolution and so on. All these topics were discussed with more than 150 community members and helped understand their problem solving approach.
Workshops were conducted in January 2010 with various groups : young male adults, young female adults, older women and Child Survival India’s staff, our implementing health project partner in Savda ghevra. Who would have thought, a game of Bull’s eye could generate such valuable insights about our self! Participants in each group were asked to hit at various circles drawn on a board which were assigned points. While doing so, they had freedom to choose their standing point. While most of the participants hit at the smaller, inner circle which incidentally also had maximum number of points, few continued to aim at the circle even after misses. Some got affected by laughter of other participants after being missed the target; some were too focused to be affected by what other people did.
The discussion that followed helped participants understand that we often set unrealistic goals for ourselves without assessing our own capabilities. Goal setting is decided most of the time by what people around us think we should do. Sometimes we set unrealistic goals only to prove point to others. We also frequently fail to decide which means is the most appropriate to achieve our goal. At times, we continue to prefer the tougher path in spite of failure because we feel that choosing an easier path would make us laughing stock of people around us. Thus we fail to assess our own capacity and potential.
It was interesting to see that unlike boys, many young girls of Savda did not think much while aiming the target in the game. It also reflects on how they perceive their life in reality. Many said that they did not aim at any particular circle; they would have been happy if it had hit anywhere. There were also few who said that they concentrated hard and were happy even if the target hit was not the inner circle because something was better than nothing.
With women in Savda the focus of workshop was different. The aim was to understand how they felt about the problems in the colony, how they could be solved, if those problems disappeared would they then become happy; what does happiness mean to them and so on. It wasn’t surprising to see that women surrounded by so many problems couldn’t express what they liked. Most of them said that they liked doing household work; and few liked watching serials. But expressing what liking meant was a tedious task.
Child survival India’s team benefited immensely from the exercise where they were able to discuss their own prejudices while dealing with community health problems. For them interacting with Manas Foundation team was an important thing as it gave them an exposure to problems related to mental health.
The new Viewpoint has just been published. It presents a broad picture of the unemployed youths living in Savda, their aspirations and mindset as well as the constraints they face in building their future.
When the kid stars of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’found their homes demolished, it made headlines. But, evictions and relocations are pretty much par for the course, for most kids in urban slums.
The Growth-For-All(GFA) team spent time studying the experiences of kids at Savda Ghevra, a relatively-new resettlement colony in the outskirts of North-West Delhi.
By the age of 10, these kids had experienced displacement from their rural habitations to an urban jhuggi( slum) in Delhi, and then from the jhuggi to this resettlement colony. The uncertainty has still not ended because their parents only have a 7-year lease for plots alloted to them at Savda Ghevra. Udit is a 12 year-old boy migrated from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. He fondly recalls the “bara khet” (big fields), “kua” (well), “maidan” (playground) in his village. He is still coming to terms with the fact that his house in Sawda is on a mere 12.5 square meter plot, and that there are no wide lanes and fields here.
However, for most such kids, Delhi is home now. Kajal( age 13) and Jyoti(15) are sisters who, when asked, are categorical about this, and refuse to go back to their village in Bihar, saying “Hum Dilli kay hain, aur yahin rehna chate hai” (we are from Delhi and we want to stay here only).
Notwithstanding this determination, they face a considerable amount of hardship and alienation. The GFA team has published the first volume of ‘Viewpoint’, which records the dismal condition of children at Sawda Ghewra.
We see these youngsters of Savda a certain lack of trust and motivation; and an abundance of lethargy because of their experiences and current condition. The outcome of these cumulative set of experiences is that by the time they become adults, they certainly do not have the drive and achievement orientation, which will charge them up enough to learn new skills, and find jobs for themselves. When we connect the dots, and look at the livelihood study we completed a few months ago, it is no longer surprising that our livelihood programs did not have enough takers.
As they say, ‘Either you provide every meal for a man , or teach him how to fish, and he’ll never be hungry again’.
The dilemma in any social intervention is how long to remain engaged with a community? The longer you remain engaged, the more difficult it is for the community to become self-reliant, while other equally or more-needy communities are deprived of support. Creating sustainable intervention programs is the key. To make this happen, a crucial aspect is to train community leaders and volunteers to take charge of their own future, and empower them to demand services from the government machinery.
When Growth-For-All faced this question at Savda Ghevra, one of the strategies we chose recently was to launch a 18-month long legal awareness program in collaboration with specialist NGO, Multiple Action Research Group (MARG).
As a part of this program, funded by my friend, Kanika Mathur, 16 Para-legals and 45 Community leaders are undergoing intensive legal awareness training within the colony. They will learn necessary information and skills so that they are able to discover answers to most problems faced by them. One of the volunteers, Kamna, speaks about how she was often chased away by various government departments. Now, with adequate information, she is confidently able to articulate her problems, and also makes sure that government officials are accountable to her. Simple things such as keeping a copy or proof for applications filed in government offices, were not something that people from Savda Ghevra were aware of. Getting trained on matters pertaining to Police, their Fundamental Rights, the Constitution, about government departments, etc will help equip them in matters concerning their daily lives.
Kamna lives at house number A-6, in Savda Ghevra, along with her 3 children and husband. When their former home at Laxmi Nagar slums got demolished, they were allotted a 12 sq.m plot in Savda Ghevra, for Rs 7000; they then constructed a pucca house here. Kamna’s husband is a government employee and works as grade IV worker in Anand Vihar. He leaves his house at 6am only to return at 11 at night. Kamna’s children seldom see their father.
The children go to the local government school. Kamna herself runs a small tea shop from her house, with erratic earnings. Her. husband earns a salary of Rs 3000 but most of his earning is spent on commuting.
Kamna speaks about how inadequate medical services in the colony were, when she arrived here in 2005. She would rush to Laxmi Nagar, to see her old doctor in case of medical emergencies. She also complained about distance of Savda from the main city, making life for her husband extremely difficult.
She has also filed many complaints to government officers for non-issuance of voter’s card and also complains about the lack of quality of ration provided from the PDS shop. She agrees though, that things have improved over time, but much more progress still has to be made.
The private doctor working in the government clinic (as part of a health project carried out by Child Survival Indiaand Growth for All) has helped her access medical treatment faster and in cheaper ways. She also speaks about the sweet nature of the doctor.
Even though, she herself has not used the ambulance service provided by this project, Kamna knows about neighbors who used the van to go for institutional deliveries in hospital. Ambulance is something which has benefited people a lot as they can now go to hospital without facing much hassle.
She is also thankful to this initiative which has made the hospital accessible, and somewhat welcoming. Earlier, she used to be afraid to communicate with the doctors. Now, regular interaction with government hospital has made Savda Ghevra a known name amongst doctors and therefore they are now more than willing to help patients coming from there.
She also benefits by attending meetings of the ‘Swasthya Samoohs’ (groups of women on health issues). Information is thus not beyond her reach. This has also helped her gained more clarity about work in other areas, e.g. government services, responsibility of government officials and so on. She eagerly waits for the monthly sessions on legal awareness training provided by MARG(Multiple Action Research Group) and Growth for All, which will help her consolidate her knowledge and train her on how to solve her legal and administrative problems.
During week-ends, Kamna sends her children to music, dancing and singing classes provided by Hasmukh Kala and Growth for All in the community. She would like her children to continue their practice at an advanced level.
She definitely wants to provide the best to her children, and monitors their education closely. This according to her “will help them not become like her”. Kamna herself is a model as she has shown exemplary dedication in her personal development. She was the most regular member of the TCS-supported adult literacy classes while the project lasted. Though, at the end of it, she was only able to read and write a little, she proudly says that she can now read most important thing in her daily life, which is the “bus numbers and destination”.
Can social change be achieved by selfless, not-for-profit NGOs, or are businesses inspired by bottom-of-the-pyramid model better equipped to do so?
I had the opportunity to chair a discussion on ‘High-Impact Social Entrepreneurs’ at the recent TiEcon, in Delhi, where we assembled a panel comprising these diverse actors. It was a fascinating experience not only because of this diversity, but also for the discussion it provoked.
On the one hand was Anshu Gupta of Goonj who chucked up his corp comm job many years ago, and has focused on collecting and recycling old clothing from urban areas to make sure that it reaches the needy in villages( over 30 tonnes/month!). On the other hand was Varun Sahni of Acumen Fund( leading global VC for social sector), and two young for-profit entrepreneurs, Sam Goldman( of D’Lite Design) & Amir Alexander Hasson( of United Villages)•
Anshu Gupta is in the classical Gandhian mould, and believes that mass involvement and commitment are sufficient to take his ‘clothing for the poor’ mission to greater heights. Over the last decade or so, he has succeeded in this mission, although with great personal hardship.
Sam Goldman, the young CEO of D’Lite Design, like an Apple or Intel, is using strategies that combine great product design, high-volume manufacturing, global sales & distribution to create scale. His mission is to replace the ubiquitous kerosene lantern by clean, safe and bright lighting for the poor, in millions of rural homes. Like Sam, Amir is using a steeped-in-capitalism, though low-cost model, to take consumer products and services to rural markets, through a technology-based supply chain. Amir’s United Villages is currently operating in villages of Orissa and Rajasthan by creating rural ‘E-shops’ that sell everything from soaps to mobile phones.
Both Sam and Amir believe that scale-based businesses that provide affordable, good-quality products & services are the real answer to underdevelopment.
Varun’s Acumen Fundis of a similar view. It has raised USD 80 mn of ‘patient capital’ so far, and has already invested about Rs 100 cr in 12 businesses. The most striking example is the ‘Lifespring‘ chain of maternity hospitals across South India. These 20 to 30-bed hospitals have been set up at a low investment of Rs 40 lacs, and offer low-priced services( e.g. delivery at Rs 2000/-). A new hospital is being added every 35 days. Other Acumen-invested ventures include emergency medical services(Zikitsa, Mumbai); drip irrigation for marginal farmers; and clean drinking water systems.
While Goonjand the others disagree strongly on the means, i.e. for-profit or not-for-profit, however what’s common to them all is their belief that real impact can be made by finding innovative answers to age-old problems that the government has been slow to solve. Roti, kapda, makaan, bijli, paani, dawai, and many others.
In the coming months, TiE, Delhi will get increasingly involved with this entire ecosystem, and that’s worth looking forward to.