Author Archives: SaathNGO .

Youth Force’s outlook fascinates me: Sagar

Sagar Patel worked with Saath as a volunteer in 2010 and since than has become a regular online donor. He is a faithful well – wisher of the organisation and recently visited Saath on 12th February, 2014. He visited the Youth Force programme and given here’s his experience of the visit in his own words.

I recently visited Saath’s Youthforce program at an Odhav center in February 8along with two visitors from the United States. In the past, I had volunteered with Saath, and I now continue to support Saath as a donor. We met with youth who are personally involved in the program. I did not have much background knowledge about the program other than a video which I had seen online about the program. Upon meeting with the students, I found that this is a wonderful, unique program.

Both the Odhav center coordinator and one of the project leaders from the Saath head office were present. They started by giving me some basic background information about the program. After this, I interacted with a group of about 10 members who were living in that area of Ahmedabad. I asked them first how they had benefited from the program, and from this discussion and further questions I came to learn more about the program.

One of the youth described working on a project as a team to clean the riverfront around the Sabarmati River and educate residents about the harmful effects of throwing garbage in the river. Another project which the youth were involved in was creating a community garden area from an area which was previously filled with garbage. This project was something new which no one had done before, and it helped to develop their ability to work as a team in addition to learning new skills. One member talked about how the youth gain leadership skills and experience with public speaking. Some youth had gone out Ahmedabad for the first time to Mumbai for leadership training. One young woman told me that she had always been afraid to travel on a bus and had lost that fear as a result of the program.

7Sagar (rightmost) at the Odhav Youth Force centre

I was quite impressed with the networking opportunities that the youth receive and the confidence and sense of accomplishment which they exhibited. I found the whole concept of this practical education which aims to not just develop new skills to perform a job but also encourages youth to try new things which excite them to be fascinating. Youthforce helps to address an unmet need in an educational system which is focused too much on rote memorization. I will be excited to come back the next time I am back in Ahmedabad to visit the program again.

International Women’s Day Celebration by Youth Force Rajkot

Guest Post by Mital Gondaliya, Rajkot Youth Force Coordinator

તા: ૮ માર્ચ ૨૦૧૪ ના રોજ આંતરરાષ્ટ્રીય મહિલા દિવસ નિમિતે સાથ ચેરીટેબલ ટ્રસ્ટ અને રાજકોટ યુથ ફોર્સ પ્રોગ્રામ દ્વારા રાજકોટ ખાતે મહિલા દિવસ ની ઉજવણી કરવામાં આવી હતી. આપને જાણીએ છીએ ક ૮ માર્ચ એટલે આંતરરાષ્ટ્રીય મહિલા દિવસ પરંતુ આ દિવસ ૮ માર્ચે ઉજવવા પાછળ નું કારણ એ છે કે ૮ માર્ચ ના દિવસે મહિલા ઓને આપવામાં આવતા અધિકારો ને સંવિધાન માં લેખિત સ્વરૂપ માં મંજૂરી આપવામાં આવી હતી.

પરંતુ આજે પણ કેટલીય મહિલા ઓ ને દહેજ ના લીધે તેમજ પુત્ર જન્મ ના થવા ના લીધે, ઘરેલું હિંસા નો ભોગ બનવું પડે છે. તો શું આપને કહી શકીએ છીએ કે આજની મહિલા સશક્ત બની છે? અને સશક્ત થવા માટે મહિલા એ જાગૃત થવું પડશે પોતાના હક અને અધિકારો વિશે. તેના પર થતા અત્યાચારો પ્રત્યે આવાજ ઉઠાવવો પડશે. તો જ ખરા અર્થ માં નારી સશક્તિકરણ થયું ગણાશે. અને આ જાગૃતિ લાવવાના હેતુ સાથે યુથ ફોર્સ રાજકોટ દ્વારા મહિલા દિવસ ની ઉજવણી કરવામાં આવી હતી.

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મહિલા દિવસ ની ઉજવણી અંતર્ગત મુખ્ય મહેમાન માં કણસાગરા કોલેજ ના એમ.એસ.ડબલ્યુ. વિભાગ ના પ્રિન્સીપાલ ડોક્ટર અનસુયા અકબરી જેમણે આવેલ મહિલાઓનો પોતાના હક અધિકાર માટે શું કરવું જોઈએ અને નારી શક્તિ શું કરી શકે છે તે વિષે પ્રવચન આપેલું હતું.

New Picture

ત્યાર બાદ રાજકોટ શહેર ના નામી ગાયનેકોલોજિસ્ટ ડોક્ટર પ્રતિક્ષાબેન કે જેવો ૧૫૦ ફૂટ રીંગ રોડ પર પોતાનું મેટરનીટી હોસ્પિટલ પણ ધરાવે છે. તેવો એ મહિલા ઓ એ પોતાની સર સંભાળ અને સ્વશ્ય ની જાળવણી કઈ રીતે કરવી તે અંગે માર્ગદર્શન આપ્યું હતું. તેઓના મત મુજબ મહિલા ઓ આખો દિવસ પોતાના કામ માં વ્યસ્ત રેહતી હોય છે. જેના લીધે તે પોતાના સ્વાસ્થ્ય ની સર સંભાળ રાખવા નું તો સાવ ભૂલી જ જતી હોય છે. આથી તેવો આવેલ સ્ત્રીઓ ને તેમના શારીરિક અને માનસિક રીતે તેમના સ્વાસ્થ્ય ની જાળવણી કઈ રીતે કરવી તે અંગે માર્ગદર્શન આપ્યું હતું.

અને ત્રીજા વક્તા તરીકે શાંતિનિકેતન કોલેજ ના પ્રાધ્યાપક આંનદભાઈ એ ઠાકુર આવેલા હતા. તેઓ એ મહિલા શિક્ષણ અને મહિલા સશક્તિકરણ વિશે વાત કરી હતી ઉપરાંત મહિલા ઓ ના કામ કાજી તંત્ર અને સ્ત્રી શિક્ષણ માં આવેલ પરિવર્તન અંગે પણ વાત કરી હતી.

અને ત્યાર બાદ યુથ ફોર્સ ના મેમ્બર્સ દ્વારા સ્ત્રી જાગૃતિ માટે એક નાટક પણ રજુ કરવામાં આવ્યું હતું કે જેમાં મહિલાઓ ને ઘર ની બહાર નીકળવામાં પડતી મુશ્કેલીઓ કે જેમાં ઘણા અસામાજિક તત્વો સ્ત્રીઓ ને હેરાન કરતા હોય છે. અને આ આવા અસામાજિક તત્વો નો સામનો કઈ રીતે કરવો તેને અંગે નું માર્ગદર્શન આપવામાં આવ્યું હતું.

28th February 2014 – The Silver Jubilee

28th February 2014, the day marked the silver jubilee of Saath. As you may have read in the previous blog post a huge celebration was planned for the day and here’s what happened on that day.

The day began at 3:00 PM at the Imperial President Hotel, selected for the celebration, with a press conference organised in which Mr. Rajendra Joshi, the founder shared his 25 years journey of working for upliftment of the urban poor with the media. The conference was a huge success as the news of Saath completing 25 years got covered by 12 newspapers and 3 news channels.

The main event planned for the day was the launching of the special coffee table book of Saath a tribute to the people who have helped during its journey. The guest for the event included the community people and several dignitaries, including Mr. Piyush Desai, Chairman and MD of Wagh Bakri Industries.  After sharing of Saath’s journey by Mr. Rajendra Joshi and the Key note speech given by Mr. P.K. Ghosh, the chairman of Saath’s Board, the making of the book was shared with the guests. The book was officially launched by Mr. Piyush Desai, along with Saath and community members.

DSC_0105The Book Launch

The community members shared their own experience with Saath over the years with full enthusiasm and expressed their opinion of working together with Saath in the future as well. The launching of the book was a huge success as well as and a lot of people went home with their own copies of the book (If you would like a copy of the book do write to us at rdc@saath.org). The day was of double celebrations for Saath as on the same day Saath launched its first ever and one if it’s kind mobile application Saath Service Point App to connect construction workers and other informal sector service providers such as carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and domestic workers, directly to clients and thus helping in increasing their chances of getting regular work and proper payment and the service providers getting a proper network to contact these workers as there are no proper networks or channels to contact them in emergency situations.

The celebrations ended with dinner and the whole event was enjoyed by the guests and Saath members equally. The evening ended with Saath getting a lot of good wishes and to continue its work in the future and promises were made to have even bigger celebrations on its 50th Anniversary.

DSC_0158 The Saath Family

Saath would like to thank all the people who have supported it through the years in reaching this landmark and we hope that we will continuously get your support in the future as well.

Visit from Disha Foundation

On the 17th and 18th of January Saath was visited by  a team of 7 people from The Disha Foundation, a Nasik based NGO working on Livelihood, health and related development issues in Nasik district since 2002. The aim of their visit was to observe, understand and learn the various activities of SAATH and to gain insight in real experiences in working with labourers. Given below is their experience of the visit with Saath written by Dr. Kartik Prabhu, Manager Research and Devvelopment, Disha Foundation.

The Disha team arrived at Ahmedabad in the evening on January 16th and visited the office on Jan 17th. We were warmly welcomed by the Research Documentation & Communication Coordinator team sharing their good wishes for the orientation and gave a very informative presentation regarding the activities of SAATH providing all the clarifications inquired by us.

Disha Team visited Umeed Training centre as soon as after the orientation session at the office. We were impressed by the Implementation modalities for the training program designed by the SAATH Team. The methods and steps are very systemic to target the real hard core marginalized communities providing technical support, supervision and monitor the changes whenever required for life term sustainability. We also visited the Saath Microfinance Cooperative on the same day. When we asked a women about the reason for forming saving groups they replied that savings provides a sense of ownership and assets.

New Picture (1) Disha Team interacting with Maheshbhai, Nirman Programme Coordinator

Second day visit enhanced with the association members of SAATH Mr. Divyang
Bhatnagar, CEO( MFI), Niraj Jani, Associate Director(Livelihood Services), Nitesh Oza, Livelihood Manager including Ms. Keren Nazareth, the Executive director of the organization. The Team then visited Urban Resource Centre, Vasna. The warm and rousing welcome given by the Youth Force at the Urban Resource Centre has etched an indelible impression on hearts of the Team members. The visit was organised for holding interactive sessions with the members of URC and the Youth Force, including the women folk on Training and Motivation services enhanced by SAATH.

New Picture (3)Disha Team interacting with Urban Resource Centre and Youth Force team

Conclusion

Overall the entire team felt this visit as an learning experience. We felt that the philosophy and practice of SAATH encompassing community cutting across class, caste and religion is unique and emblematic.

SAATH: As a special purpose vehicle have a very strong and effective autonomous organizational structure having equal number of Technical Team of young professionals willing to work in far flung rural areas, having close interaction with the community. They mobilize and help the community in preparation of plans, assessment, and selection & designing of appropriate cost effective activities, best suited to their need. Their roles are well defined. Management of services being shouldered by community itself and local level
solutions have been put in place which is cost effective, effective and rapid.
We would like to replicate similar activities in our own community as we deeply felt that the initiatives of SAATH can impact up on many lives. We were overwhelmed by the mass support, collective strength and temporal democratic paragons of SAATH which have permeated from top to bottom.

The field visit was a miracle and highly satisfactory for the Disha team. Based on this, we would like to convey our deep sensitive thanks to all the staff members for sharing their experience and managing requirements during the field visit.
We would like also to express our sincere thanks to Mr. Kunal Patel and Ms. Jenny Parekh for their supportive coordination from the beginning of the visit and their effort in arranging the visit.

New Picture (5)Disha Team with Youth Force members

Testimonials from Participants

Dr. Karthik Prabu, said, “Our experience in SAATH was entirely different. SAATH encompasses community from all religions and thus symbolizes the democratic system of India. We appreciate the entire procurement activities of SAATH under URC. Also it is amazing to see how people transformed themselves into a confidence hub in their career just with bold determination and collective strength. I also appreciate the Training education programs in SAATH.”

Mr. Kiran Kale,  Coordinator at Disha opined, “There are many things to learn from SAATH as it is working with a view to increase income and employment among the community and this is indeed a learning process for me“.

Ms. Rekha Sable, Assisstant MIRC Facilitator, Disha said “Visit to SAATH Organization was a real learning experience for us. We are keen to explore the possibility of replicating the Training model in our foundation”.

3rd Annual Meet of the Saath Cooperative

Last Saturday on 4th Jan, the Saath Savings and Credit Cooperative Society held its 3rd Annual Meet at Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad  in which 90+ people were present including the Staff and the Board members. Here’s sharing with you her experience about the day Ms. Shikha Gupta, Cooperative’s Documentation Coordinator. 

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Meeting colleagues without any official appointments and problems seems to be like a holiday and celebration. 4th January was the day of celebration for the cooperative’s staff. Rewards for the best performances of the year, salary increment letters, simulation exercises, games & quizzes with lots of fun, music & full of motivational learning for the next year happened during the whole day program.

Once in a year all branch teams join each other with full of entertainment and every staff member enjoys the moment. This year the program has been developed with more entertainment and participating and fortunately team could really enjoy & participate in the program.

Three branches performed in the program:- Mehndikua and Vasna Branch teams sung the song and Juhapura branch performed a role play on blind religious faith and controversial saints in the society. A simulation exercise was also performed on vision and courage of the leadership in three teams.

999939_1410480739194957_232652449_nPerformance by Vasna Branch

This year 8 field officers were awarded as best field officers, 3 accountants were awarded for excellence and 2 Office Assistants were awarded for the best supporting staff in the branches. The best branch award was won by our Saraspur branch.

Mr. Rajendra Joshi founder of SAATH and promoter of the Cooperative said that the time has come to expand our expertise in more areas of Ahmedabad as we have experience of 20 years and a strong leadership. Ms. Chinmayi Desai Chairperson of the Cooperative also emphasised on operational expansion and profit growth in the organization.

This year celebration was special as The Cooperative has received the permission to work in the whole Ahmedabad District. Another important thing happened we provided the salary increment letters to each and every staff member for the first time.