Monthly Archives: February 2012

India Tax Saving Challenge 2012

Like last year, Give India organizes a Tax Challenge event. This online giving event is held from February 21 till March 22, 2012. As the 31st of March is the  deadline for filing tax returns in India, now is the time to donate!

What’s in it for us?
The top 3 of NGOs that raise most funds, will receive a matching grant. In addition there will be daily and weekly surprise grants worth up to 16 lakhs in total!

What’s in it for you?
Indian citizens will receive 100% tax deduction for donations in favour of our organization, as Saath is listed u/s 35 AC of the Income Tax bill.

What’s in it for the community?
The stories on this blog provide you an overview of the kind of work we do. Your donation will support inclusive development in urban and rural areas. Saath is an organization by the community for the community. We initiate, develop and implement programmes that are working towards the employability of youth, getting children out of labour and into school, supplementing nutrition for under nourished children in slums, subsidising a child’s higher education, giving families an opportunity to sustainable livelihoods.

To give you an example: Rs. 500,- provides a healthy meal a day for a child labourer for two months.

What do you need to do?
1.     Click on the followling link http://www.giveindia.org/iGive-saathcharitabletrust
2.     Click the donate tab at the bottom. You can donate via netbanking, credit card or by sending in a cheque to us with the amount you pledge.

Its just a click away!

Thank you for simply taking the time to read this.

Community Mondays: The Kite Flies Because of its Tail

For todays Daily Dose of Saath we serve the story of Shahin. She used to work making kites and now she attends a formal primary school. Read below how Child-Friendly Spaces learned her to fly.

Shahin’s father abandoned her and her family. She lives with her mother and four siblings. Shahin’s oldest brother works cutting hair, and the rest of her family works at home making kites. Her two elder sisters and Shahin stitch thread on the kites from 7-10pm every day. Given her family’s situation, Shahin’s work is needed to help cover the household expenses.

Shahin joined Juhapura CFS in October 2009. CFS teacher, Firdosben, says that when she first came to class, Shahin did not know how to read and write, and had a serious stammering problem. Firdosben, who had previously received training on how to help children with speaking difficulties, helped Shahin overcome her problem. Shahin’s mother, Rihanaben, says that she is happy that her daughter is now able to read and write properly. She also noticed that after attending CFS, Shahin became more disciplined and responsible.

Shahin with her CFS teacher Firdosben

After 4-5 months attending CFS, Shahin was ready to transfer to a formal school. However, because she did not have a birth certificate,  she was denied admission. Saath trained Firdosben on how to approach formal schools and explain them that by law they have to accept children lacking such identity document. The school’s principal was initially reluctant, but ended up accepting Shahin for the bridge course. She finished the course and took the final exam, which she successfully delivered. After these summer vacations are over, she will start classes at her formal school.

Shahin enjoys attending CFS center and playing with other classmates. She loves her teacher, especially when she makes them play in class. In an interview, she said that she would like to complete post-secondary school and become a teacher in the future.

Intern Fridays with Patola Polash

Polash Mukerjee was an intern at our organization in June 2011. He is studying Development Studies at the IIT in Chennai. Read his story below!

I worked with one of Saath’s rural initiatives, RWeaves. Through this initiative, Saath promotes traditional Tangaliya and Patola workers, through microfinance loans, procurement assistance and through facilitating sales in Ahmedabad and other cities of India. My internship consisted of working on the pricing of RWeaves products, in order to determine the optimum price, in accordance with fair trade standards. In my opinion, RWeaves is an excellent programme that helps not just sustain but enhance the livelihoods of the rural artisan of Northern Gujarat. Saath is doing its part in reviving the heritage and the vision of cottage industries that Mahatma Gandhi had.

Interning at Saath was an excellent experience. Although Saath was my first formal internship, I didn’t really feel out of place. The entire process helped me learn not just a bunch of stuff that I couldn’t read about, in a book, but more importantly, how to learn on the go. I learnt how to work in a group, and individually. I learnt what it feels like to be yelled at (no names mentioned!), and what appreciation feels like. The people I met at Saath, including some of the artisans, were really warm individuals who excelled in their own spheres. I really have to mention Kiranbhai, who was more patient with my requests than required, and Narsinhbhai of Kataria, Limbdi, whose Patola Sari’s were products of exemplary skill and craftsmanship.

Overall, I have to say my learning experience at Saath was fun, exciting, frustrating, and eye opening.

Visit us!

As you might have read on our blog, we are always happy to receive visitors and to show you our programmes! We are very curious to know if you are interested in visiting our organization. To help us, please take a minute to answer these two questions:

We gladly arrange visits for individual visitors or for groups. Just drop us a message at rdc@saath.org.

Work Wednesdays: Rehanaben’s story

Today we share Rehanaben’s story with you. She has been working with us for ten years now. She was involved in several programmes like the Balghars, Micro-finance and Samvad Community Video Unit. Read about her inspiring life story below!

Rehanaben was born in 1978 in Behrampura area of Ahmedabad. Her father, the sole bread earner of a family of nine, stopped earning after Rehanaben’s elder sister succumbed to injuries of an accident. The burden of nurturing and bread earning for her family then fell upon her mother and her elder brothers, both of whom had to drop out of their high school education. Rehanaben struggled hard to complete her schooling. She sold toffees to her school mates and earned income to carry out the expenses of her school fees. Her struggle to pursue education continued with her aspirations of graduating and post graduating.

Rehanaben came across SAATH when after the 2002 riots SAATH began its relief work in Behrampura relief camps to encourage residents there to get back to their routine and support their lives by generating income streams. Being good at academics, Rehanaben considered joining the Balghar program (pre-school) run by SAATH in the relief camps where she used to teach children and started earning an income of INR 2000 every month. This apart, Rehanaben also spearheaded the task of establishing a Micro Finance Institute in Behrampura. So dedicated was she towards her work that SAATH decided to carry out the daily operations of its Micro Finance Institute from her house in its initial days. In a span of two years, Rehanaben was able to have more than 600 families in the Behrampura area enroll with the MFI and start saving on a regular basis and beginning with microloans gradually.

While Rehanaben continued rendering her services to the MFI, SAATH came up with the concept of using documentary films produced and acted in by the community members to express their concerns over socio-economic occlusions in the community, known as SAMVAD. Initially when asked to join SAMVAD, Rehanaben was reluctant for two reasons; first, she lacked confidence in terms of producing a film and second, she did not want to give up on the hard work that she had put on in establishing an MFI in Behrampura. However, once she started producing films, she came up with brilliant ideas that brought about considerable changes in the community.

Rehanaben filming for Samvad

She describes two instances when she herself had to change to convince community through documentaries produced by her. One of them was when the SAMVAD unit was up for shooting against the Addiction of Tobacco in the community. Rehanaben was reluctant in shooting this film since she too had the same habit. It took her three months to get rid of the addiction which had been with her for quite long .Only then did she produce the film and was so convincing in the film that many youth took an inspiration from this and gave up on their addictions as well. Another path-breaking documentary that Rehanaben and her team made was on the Issue of Adulteration in Ration Shops. This was particularly a challenge for her since she belonged to a family of ration shop owners and the film was to be featured on her own uncles. However, she did not deter from bringing out the grievances of the community and shot the film. So compelling and eye opening was the outcome that the shop owners had to concede to fair selling practices after the screening of the film.

After serving in SAMVAD for three years, Rehanaben got back to the MFI operations in 2009 as it was the work that she had always admired and wanted to be associated with. Presently, she is placed as the Branch Manager of Sankalitnagar Branch of The SAATH Savings and Credit Co-operative Society. She describes being associated with SAATH as a major change in her life. “I had no knowledge on computers. It was in SAATH that I learnt many new technologies and also produced films” says an overwhelmed Rehanaben.

Rehanaben has been a paragon for most youth in Behrampura slums. Her undying valor and courage to step out of the confined four walls of the house confidently for serving across communities, has set up an example for many families, who now send their daughters to school and expect them to be self reliant like Rehanaben. Rehanaben is the face of Behrampura and will inspire people there to move ahead with their aspirations no matter what comes their way to make their lifestyles better and uplift the area.