Connecting Children with Education

Saath runs Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) classes for providing education and nutrition support to children at construction sites. Here’s story Mohanbhai whose children study at one of the CFS classes.

Mohanbhai comes from Galiyapor village and has been working in Ahmedabad since last 3 years. He does plastering work at the construction sites. He and his wife work at the construction sites and they have 3 children, 2 girls and 1 boy who are living with them at the sites.

DSC_0004Mohanbhai with his family

Mohanbhai’s girls are Divya (9 year old) and Shilpa (10 year old) and his son is Kishan (8 year old). They are in contact with the Child Friendly Spaces classes run by Saath at the construction sites since past 3 years where first his children used to attend the classes run at Naroda sites and now are attending the classes run in Vasna sites. He is very happy seeing the change in his children and says that before they didn’t know anything, but now are learning very fast and are able to write words in English and Gujarati and his girls especially are very good in reading. He regularly sends his children for the classes and his wife is very happy about the nutrition support provided to their children at the classes. After coming in touch with the classes he has enrolled his children in the school of their village and whenever they go back to village the children study there.

DSC_0062Mohanbhai’s children studying at the CFS class

“My children are getting good education here, and I wish that at all the sites these kind of classes should be run for our children. Saath should continue to work for the education of children at the construction sites as many parents here are not capable enough to send their children to school”, says Mohanbhai.

An internship with Saath – Ronita SIngh

Ronita Singh is an engineering student currently studying at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. She did his internship with Saath last month. Given below is her experience of working with Saath.

My 24 days internship as exactly counted in my schedule has been a truly New Picture (1)learning experience and was totally dedicated in learning the struggling life of various slum dwellers. It was through Saath that I was able to see the ‘unseen world’ that needs immediate attention.

A two day orientation was organized to give a proper insight to the various programmes run by Saath. It helped me in knowing the organization in a better way and made it clear that this was one of the respectable NGO’s.

I started working at Saath under the Research and Documentation Cell. My work focused on collecting case stories based on different programmes run by this NGO for the Annual Report. It provided me with a great opportunity to reach out to the people of various communities and know their life history. When I visited these places for the first time, the people were really welcoming and accepted me and patiently answered my questions to the hardships they were facing.I was inspired to see that in spite of the dreadful conditions that they live in, they still continue to have a big smile on their faces. Their dream to get affordable and cleaner civic amenities still runs in their blood. It was through the stories that I came to know that Saath has greatly helped them in giving the basic health and education facilities.

IMG_5474Ronita (in the front) at our Child Friendly Spaces centre

Apart from all of these, working with this organization has also given me so much more.I learned professional skills, made some great friends here and got a platform to travel and meet different people all across the city. It taught me how to work in a team and inculcated inter personal skills. Looking at the poor conditions of these people who strive so hard to earn their breads that I realized that I have nothing to complain about. Saath also helped me discover my philanthropic side and sensitized me to the issues that the world needs to cater to.

At last, I would like to thank everyone at Saath for making me feel at ease with the working environment. All the officials really helped me grow as an individual. A special thanks to Irbaaz sir and Kunal sir for believing in me and my work. They have been really supportive throughout my internship. I would also like to congratulate Saath for the completion of 25 years and wish them luck for their future endeavours. Indeed an unforgettable experience for me!

Saath’s Women Cooperative has filled my life with happiness – Rekhaben

Since 2011, Saath has been running Saath Women Savings and Credit Cooperative Society in rural villages of Dholka and Viramgam block of Ahmedabad for empowering rural women by providing them access to financial services and facilities.  Over 3,000 women are member of the initiative and given below is the story of one of our members Rekhaben Maheshbhai Makwana and how the Cooperative has helped her in bringing about change in her life.

Rural MFI Logo

Rekhaben lives in the Rampur village if Dholka block with her husband and father – in – law. Her husband used to work in a clothing factory and earn Rs. 2,000 per month. With this small income and due to illness of her father in law and his medical bills it was very difficult to run home for them. To support her family Rekhaben also joined her husbands factory and they were able to earn Rs. 3,000 – Rs. 4,000 per month but they were still not able to meet their daily expenses.

Madhuben our field officer is a relative of Rekhaben and through her Rekhaben came to know about Saath’s Women Savings and Credit Cooperative run in over 100 villages for Dholka and Viramgam especially for women providing them access to savings and affordable credit. Rekhaben became a member of the Cooperative and started saving Rs. 100 per month. Later on she took a loan of Rs. 40,000 from the Cooperative to buy an auto rickshaw for her husband.

New PictureRekhaben with her husband and their newly bought Auto Rickshaw

With the new auto rickshaw now her husband earns Rs. 300 – Rs. 400 per day. Rekhaben took the responsibility of the finances of the home and with the increase in the income she also increased her savings in the Cooperative to Rs. 200 per month. Due to her financial management now they have bought a refrigerator and TV for their home and also able to pay the medical bills of Rekhaben’s father in law and support him better. Rekhaben says, “I’m now seeing good days in my life and a bright future ahead and for this I’m heartily thankful to Saath.”

Entrancing Experience at Saath, Nihal Bhatt

Nihal Bhatt is an engineering student currently studying at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. He did his internship with Saath last month. Given below is his experience of working with Saath.

My working with Saath was compelling and exhilarating beyond doubt. The short tenure of 24 days from 15th May till 7th June at Saath inculcated new DSC00832_20140613182038212spirit and approach of thinking in me. Our college, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University provided a platform to improve our social and interpersonal skills through an internship and Saath changed it into reality. The experience to explore the slum dwelling areas and the underprivileged people was quite engaging and worth a consideration.

On the first day of internship, all the interns were given a synopsis of all the programs at Saath. The field visits to slum dwelling areas motivated me to do something for a social cause. The initiatives by Saath act as a flame to ignite spirit to aid the needful.

I was allocated the department of Research, Documentation and Communication Cell (RDC) and Saath Livelihood Services (SLS). Both of the departments helped in improving my designing talent, innovative thinking and analyzing skills. I was given a task to design the Annual Report and the Saath Brochures. It was rather a slow and uphill task to think out of the box keeping in mind the constraints. I got assistance from the RDC team and fellow interns during the job, which made it simpler. It took lots of effort to prepare the designs, but at the end the results were pleasurable.

20140517_111308Nihal with the CFS Juhapura centre children

The most valuable experience I got at Saath was to visit the CFS (Child Friendly Spaces) center and Nirman Center. CFS is a program spearheaded by Saath to help the small poor kids. They are provided with quality education at the CFS centers. Nirman is a program to skill the unemployed poor men. They are skilled as electrician, plumber and masons. It was good to see a 10th grade passed man to repair a table fan and a 7th grade failed man to fix the hot water geyser.

I was contented with my work as I was indirectly dropping my sweat for the needful. It was worthwhile experience to work with the team of Saath. I even made new friends from various colleges who came in as interns. The short tenure of work helped me in improving my intellectual skills.                                                                                                                                                                                      I am thankful to Saath to make me aware of the outer world that faces difficulties each day. The days I spent at Saath will be etched in my mind forever. The experience was truly valuable and I appreciate all the endeavors spearheaded by Saath. I would like to express gratitude to all the officials of Saath for their hospitability. It was a precious experience to work with the whole team.

Meghdhanush

MEGHDHANUSH! What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you poster1  hear this word? Obviously, the thing that comes to each of our mind is a rainbow. Meghdhanush is the name of the new campaign initiated by SAATH with an aim at raising awareness among people on the issue of Child Labour. I am sure that the question that would now be concerning you is why is the name of the campaign Meghdhanush and how is it connected to the issue of Child Labour? Meghdhanush is a campaign which will have a series of seven workshops for the kids in the course of the year with each event connected to a colour of the rainbow and thus, the name Meghdhanush. The objective of the campaign is to add colour to a child’s life.

This campaign is associated with our programme called Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) which works towards providing informal education to the child labourers and children belonging to vulnerable households. We want more and more people to get encouraged from this initiative and help us in adding colour to the lives of our little children.

The campaign was launched on 12th June, 2014. You all must be wondering as to why we chose this particular date for the launch? It’s simple. 12th June is a World Day against Child Labour and so, we thought that this was the best day to launch our campaign. Our hospitality partner for the launch of the campaign was Courtyard Marriott. Our guests of honour for the launch were Mr. HP Singh, Director General of Police, Mr. Gaurav Singh, General Manager of Courtyard Marriott and Mr. Rajendra Joshi, the founder of SAATH. The event was started with a small act to tell people to not discourage the kids as we never know what the kids would be doing 20 years down the line. We then, welcomed our guests of honour with a token and then invited Mr. HP Singh, Mr. Gaurav Singh, Mr. Rajendra Joshi, Ms. Keren Nazareth, Ms. Chinmayi Ben, one of our CFS center teacher and one of our CFS center child to light the lamp.

 IMG_0444Children performing at Meghdhnush Launching

Post the lighting of the lamp, our guests of honour shared their views on the issue of child labour and on this initiative taken by SAATH. We then had our little kids perform a welcome dance on Vande Mataram. We also had two of our kids sing a Lokgeet for us.  The audience were informed about the seven workshops that we would be conducting for our little kids in the course of the year. The guests were informed about the seven CFS centres that SAATH is currently running. A positive case story of one of our little kid who studies in our Vejalpur CFS centre was shared and he interacted with the guests about his experience at CFS class. Gopal Bhai, the coordinator of our CFS programme and all the teachers of our CFS centres shared their experience with SAATH and about the difficulties that they face in getting children to join the CFS centres.

At the end the guests were requested to lend their valuable support to help us fight the issue of child labour. All the children present at the event were given gifts from Women of Voyage Circle. The launching ended on a very good note and we look forward to more positive response and support for the next  events to help as many children as possible.

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