Author Archives: SaathNGO .

A memorable experience with SAATH :)

 Stuti Wadhwa is currently pursuing her Media studies from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communications. She did her summer internship with Saath’s Research, Documentation and Communication Cell and given below is her experience with Saath in her own words.

My internship with SAATH has been incredibly wonderful. I never expected it to 10380304_10201371538085286_8979842940923944221_n be so exciting. I made new friends, had wonderful mentors to guide me throughout and also got a lot of exposure to learn.The general working atmosphere here at SAATH is so good and family like that I could very easily get absorbed here. My internship was only 6 weeks long,but was sufficient to develop a wonderful bond with all the people here at SAATH. My internship started with a basic orientation about the programs being run by SAATH post which, I was taken to visit the centres so that I could understand each program better. I also interacted with the community people and that was like adding icing to the cake, as I got a chance to hear about their experience from them itself. I was initially given the job of documentation of annual report and designing of the brochure of SAATH. It was a big responsibility and I took it as a challenge to accomplish.Around two weeks later; I was told to volunteer for a yearlong campaign being run by SAATH called Meghdhanush.

I was excited and gave in my inputs for the launch of the campaign. I was eventually given the responsibility of organizing the event under the guidance of Ms.VamaRajpal and Mr.NirajJani. This was surely a big challenge. We first had to look for a venue and so, approached various hotels for the same. Courtyard Marriott agreed to sponsor us for the launch of the campaign and this was amazing news for all of us. I had also gone to another hotel and fortunately, received a positive response from there too. They told us that they wish to collaborate with us on a long term basis. This was a big achievement for SAATH as well as me, as I never expected that I could get sponsors for the event. It immensely helped boost my self- confidence. We then called the kids, and the entire SAATH team put in their heart and soul to teach them, so they could perform well on the d-day. Also, I along with a co-intern was given the duty of compering the event. I was glad as I have always loved compering and SAATH gave me an opportunity to do that.

DSC_0111Stuti hosting the Meghdhanush event

It felt great when the kids whom I was teaching dance, got a perfume for me. I was very touched as they all came from vulnerable households but still, they contributed and got this very precious gift for me. This made me feel so special and loved.

On the day of the event, all the kids gave breath-taking performances. We were all spellbound. The campaign ended on a positive note and was a big success for all of us as the guests appreciated our hard work. After the event, I again started working on the annual report and social media promotion and now, the day has come when I have to leave.

These six weeks have been very memorable and enjoyable for me. I have made great friends in just 6 weeks and also, have had such great mentors. I would specially like to thank Kunal Sir, Irbaaz, Vama Ma’am, Jenny Ma’am, Niraj Sir and Keren Ma’am for being there to guide me throughout. I am also grateful to my fellow interns for giving me a wonderful surprise on my birthday and for making it so special. I never expected my internship to be so good.

I personally feel that SAATH is contributing wonderfully to the society; particularly to the underprivileged and downtrodden, and I felt vastly privileged to have got an opportunity to make my humble contribution to the society.

Even though my internship has formally come to an end, I would forever be there to assist SAATH wherever I can.

Empowering vulnerable youth through entrepreneurship training

30 years old Ms. Ranjan Solanki is a resident of Kosad area of Surat and is a member of Saath’s Youth Force initiative. She has taken micro entrepreneurship through the programme and now earns Rs. 3,500 per month.

Ranjan used to live in Ashoknagar, Katargam area of Surat, where she and her New Picture (3)husband ran a grain shop. They were very happy in the area and their business was running good. When the Surat Municipal Corporation decided to demolish their slum area, they were promised to give new house in other area. After the demolition they were provided a house in the Kosad area which is at quite far from the city centre. Due to this Ranjan and her husband lost their business, and Ranjan was left with a lot of other issues as well due to shifting in the outskirts of the city.

The main issue faced was of livelihood. They had lost their business and did not know what to do. The financial problems also started as they were using up their savings very fast. During this time Ranjan came to know about a micro entrepreneur training organised by Youth Force and she was advised to join the training. At that time she was not sure about the joining the training but Shital the youth leader convinced her by explaining the importance of training for her future.

She spoke with her husband about the training and he said to her to join the training program. The training program lasted for 4 days and she was very happy with the knowledge she gained during the sessions. She got an idea to start a new business. Before the training she used to work in hospitals and in the houses but wans’t able to earn enough money. Now she has started her own venture and she sells vegetables and is able to earn Rs. 3,500 per month. She is now in a better position to support her family.

Talking about her experience she says, “I am thankful to Youth Force for giving me training through which I gained enough confidence of starting my own business and now I want to move ahead in life. I want to grow my business and I am planning for the future. I am very happy that I am also contributing to my family. Our life is now slowly coming back on track. Saath is doing very good work which is really helpful to people everywhere. Thank you Saath.”

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.”