Monthly Archives: January 2010

Two month internship at SAATH

My name is Luciana Dornelles Hosannah, I am a Brazilian student and I’m currently finishing the second year of my master’s programme “Urban Development and International Cooperation” in Germany. Up until now, being based in Germany, I had only learned the theory of development work. This was quite different from seeing it in action, up close and personal. Doing an internship in India was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me.
I came to SAATH after looking through several different NGO’s here, and I found that this NGO had the broadest, most comprehensive and integrated approach to development work that I could find. At SAATH I’ve seen in action what I had learned in theory during my master lessons.

My task at SAATH has been to create guidelines for standardized advocacy strategies that the URC’s (Urban Resource Centers) will implement. During this process, I had the opportunity to go to the field and observe many different projects, their day-to-day work and their impact in the communities. I was able to interview the URC directors and see how they work. I participated in different events, such as the watching the screening of a movie from the SAMVAD unit, going on the SAATH project tour and joining the Youth Group picnic. During this two month internship, not only have I been able to observe and learn how a grassroots organization works, but I’ve also had the opportunity to make my own contribution through my work.

I’m glad to say my internship in SAATH has given me experiences that I don’t believe I would get elsewhere. And I can continue my master’s programme with the knowledge and lessons I have gained here.

SAATH Azaad Youth at Thol Lake

This Saturday, January 23, SAATH took over 100 Azaad youth from slums across Ahmedabad on a picnic to Thol Lake, a nature preserve and bird sanctuary outside of the city.  The day included games of Cricket, Kho, and Kabadi as well as Carom and Chess for the more intellectual among our youth.  SAATH intern Bijal brought and taught hula hooping to the youth as well. 

SAATH Azaad Youth at Thol Lake

SAATH would like to thank supporters from GiveIndia who contributed funds for sports equipment to make this recreation opportunity possible.

While working with youth (18 to 30 years) from slums, SAATH realized that these youth need emotional and psychological support as well as a platform to share, innovate, and explore. SAATH established Azaad Youth Groups that are managed and run entirely by community youth. SAATH’s Azaad Youth have been recognized by Ashoka and Volunteer Ahmedabad for their role in raising awareness and being community leaders. 

Check out pictures of Saturday’s event on SAATH’s Facebook Page

SAATH Opens Doors to Amdavadis and Foreigners

SAATH held our first Open House event in Vasna and Juhapura, inviting the public to meet residents and see SAATH programs in action.  In attendance were Amdavadis, NGO workers, foreign tourists, students from IIM-Ahmedabad and Mahatma Gandhi International School

SAATH Open House on Jan 9, 2010.

The tour went through all of SAATH’s programs, emphasizing market-based strategies for poverty alleviation and the benefit of integrated services – programs that link together to address poverty on all fronts.  Visitors saw our Umeed youth employment program, Microfinance, Health, Education, Community Video Unit and the Urban Resource Centres that form the hub of our integrated programs.

Visiting the community was a unique and enlightening experience for many attendees. Chris Thompson, a student at IIM-Ahmedabad said, “It’s nice to see field work and the faces of the people SAATH impacts.” Kashish of Mahatma Gandhi International School was moved to action.  “SAATH has done a commendable work for the Juhapura community and it would be a privilege to be able to work with them.”

We hope the event will encourage Amdavadis to get involved as volunteers and citizens, and empower those on the Bottom of the Pyramid. The response was great and we plan to host another Open House soon. Stay Tuned.

At SAATH, our mission is to use market-based strategies to create inclusive societies by empowering India’s urban and rural poor. SAATH has a physical presence in over 50 communities across Gujarat and Rajasthan. Since the very poor often have many needs at once, SAATH has created one-stop centres to link them with education, job training and placement, medical and legal services, and basic infrastructure. 

Click here to see more pictures from Saturday’s visit.

Anti-Tobacco Film Screened in Juhapura

On January 6, 2010, SAATH’s Samvad Community Video Unit (CVU) screened its anti-tobacco film, Chokdi, meaning square after the cigarette brand Four Square.  

As the CVU arrives in the early evening, people standing at their doorsteps or looking out their windows begin asking, what will be screened today? Children hear that Samvad CVU is in the neighbourhood and start gathering around them. Then the team pulls out their loudspeaker and begins calling, “Come, come! Come watch the screening! Come!” They walk around the streets calling door to door for people to watch the new video magazine. In a few minutes the crowd has grown. An estimated 70 people have come, most of them children, to watch the new video on the harmful effects of tobacco. Screenings are always followed by discussion, helping raise awareness in the community. The 20-minute Gujarati-language film is screened in three locations simultaneously. The impacts of the screenings can be seen as community members become aware of their rights and demand what they are entitled to. They bring accountability to government and offer better choices for the urban poor.

Chokdi Screening

Chokdi Screening in Juhapura, Jan 6, 2010

After watching Chokdi, a local school principal has given up smoking.  The film has been screened to the Gujarat Health Department and the Police Commissioner’s Office.  The Government now uses Samvad’s film Chokdi to inform students on the dangers of tobacco in schools across Ahmedabad. To date, Chokdi has been screened 100 times across Ahmedabad.

Samvad, the Community Video Unit, was founded to empower slum residents to advocate for themselves. Through regular video magazines, filmed and screened entirely by community members, Samvad provides an inclusive platform for awareness and dialogue about social issues and constructive methods to address them.

Videos are available for purchase for Rs.250 each, and clips from the video magazines can be found online at: For queries regarding film production, special screenings, purchase of films, or for a more detailed portfolio, contact Samvad through the Saath Main Office.

Click here to support more Samvad Video Magazines.