Monthly Archives: December 2013

Creativity and Innovation at its best @ Nirman

“Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Today we share with you the story of Mr. Akhilesh, one of Nirman‘s electrician course trainee who had its own eureka moment and invented a rechargeable torch using recycled mobile battery through which he wants to help the rural population who have an irregular supply of electricity.

“I’m thankful to Nirman for giving me this platform”New Picture (2), Akhilesh

Akhilesh displays his torch

Sharma Akhilesh Shambunath (34 yrs old) is a resident of Ahmedabad currently living in Odhav area. He lives in a joint family of 8 members. 10 years ago when he was looking for work, he was interested in becoming an electrician but couldn’t find anyone to teach him the trade. So he joined his father’s business of furniture work. A few months ago he came to know about Nirman – Electrician course through one of his neighbours who had joined the electrician course. His old interest was revived and he thought as now a days there are electrical fixtures done in the furniture’s too, so while learning a trade of his interest he will also be creating an alternative option for income and so he joined the course.

Nirman has changed my life, the training was effective and apart from the trade, the life skill and business development sessions were amazing and they will definitely help me in building up my network. The course has brightened up my life and has made me think beyond my capabilities says Akhilesh in regards to his training.

About his new invention………….

Talking about his invention he says that the idea for a rechargeable torch came to him from his trainer. He thought that such a kind of torch will be very useful in rural areas where the supply of electricity is very irregular. Starting from the basic of just getting the light to switch on, he kept on making corrections and adding things and finally made the torch with the help of an old mobile battery.

IMG_0008

Reusable Torch

He took his torch to his village where it proved to be a quite a handy and useful tool to have. Made with a recycled mobile battery and simple PN Junction Diodes and Resistors put in a plastic box, the cost incurred in making is a mere 50 rupees. The torch lasts for 4-5 hours after charging it for 1 hour and the battery inside could be changed. Akhilesh says, “This torch is very good for emergency situations especially in rural areas and if I get support for more development I want to improve the torch further more and make it accessible to rural population at a reasonable price.”

 

Advertisements

SAATH: ‘Innovative Livelihoods Promoter of the Year’

SAATH won the prestigious CMEA Award 2013

 Since 2004, Citi Micro Entrepreneur Awards is organised for recognizing the enterprise development in the country. In its tenth year, the Citi Micro Enterprise Awards, 2013 was organised by the Citi Foundation and ACCESS for recognizing the community based enterprises and organisations that have played a pivotal role in promoting livelihoods. This year SAATH has won the award in the category of ‘Innovative Livelihoods Promoter of the Year’ as the organisation that is promoting and nurturing livelihoods and micro enterprises.

CMEA-2_______________________________________________________

The Urban Resource Centre and RWeaves initiatives of Saath have been instrumental in winning for this award.

Urban Resource Centre (URC) started in Saath in 2007 work as one stop centre for the urban poor. The URC bridges the information gap between the services providers and service users. It provides knowledge and resources to the urban poor to deal with important documents and processes. It also monitors and evaluates development in the community, advocate and run campaigns related to various issues of slum dwellers. Currently the 4 URC’s (3 in Ahmedabad and 1 in Rajkot) have a reach of 27,697 households, impacting approximately 1,38,485 individuals in a year.

RWeaves started in 2010 is a rural development initiative that provides livelihoods, training and marketing support to various artisans of Surendranagar district specially Tangaliya, Patola, Cotton and Recycled products. RWeavews is currently operating in more than 10 villages of Surendranagar district supporting 20+ artisans and marketing 80% of their products. An outlet has also been opened at the head office of Ahmedabad for promotion and sale of RWeaves products. _____________________________________________________________

The Award ceremony was held at Taj Hotel, Mumbai on 13th December and on behalf of SAATH Ms. Keren Nazareth, SAATH’s Executive Director, Ms. Devuben Parmar and Mr. Babubhai Rathod, Community Leaders were present to accept the award. Accepting the award Ms. Keren (Saath’s Executive Director) says, “This award is a recognition of the work that we do at Saath. We are committed to improving lives of the urban and rural poor and such encouragement and support, further strengths our opportunities to carry out our work. Saath works with a vast range of stakeholders which include, women, youth, artisans, construction and domestic workers, we have so far impacted over 4 lakh households through the years and aim to scale up our work to reach more and more such vulnerable communities”. Ms. Devuben (Previous head of URC and currently head of Urmila Home Manager programme) says, “We are thankful to CMEA for recognizing our work and spreading word about us. There are many areas in which we still haven’t ventured out where we will try to reach through our work this year and win the award again next year”. Mr. Babubhai (Community Leader and Artisan associated with RWeaves) says, “I’m very happy that Saath has won this award. In the future Saath will move ahead for the profit of its beneficiaries and keep on working for the welfare of the common man. I’m sure in the coming years we will win many more awards for our work”.

1

Youth Stories: Kamlesh

Kamlesh is a resident of Jahangirpura area of Surat. He left his studies after 12th New Picture (1)standard and followed his dream to become photographer. He worked hard to become a photographer and now he professionally photographs weddings and events to earn. He has spent his life in poverty and struggle. He always wanted to help people in his area and community so that they could also improve their life like he did.

His dream is to help the society and uplift the life of the youth. In between, he came into contact with SAATH ’s Youth Force programme. Within no time he said yes to join the program.

Kamlesh’s views of Youth Force…

I am very happy that Saath founded Youth Force, which is essential for slum youths. The aim of Youth Force is to make a youth group and change their life. Earlier the youth of our area were not attached to each other. They were busy in their individual life. But after joining the youth groups they have started youth activities and with these youth activities they have bonded. We all are working on social agendas. I want to share one very important incident.

Earlier we use to live near Tapi River and we used to face lot of problems during the monsoon season. So the Municipal Corporation provided us with housing in Jahangirpura area. In those buildings they did not built solid walls. Because of this, several people were injured and some even lost their life. In our youth group, we thought we should something about this. So we wrote an application to the Surat Municipal Commissioner and to build the walls. We are still negotiating on this issue with the municipal commissioner. We are committed to fighting for this until our demands are met for safe living conditions.

We also run other activities like games and touring together. Recently, we all visited Saputara, where we had a lot of fun together. Personally I feel my life has changed a lot. I am much more positive and have made lot of friends as a result of Youth Force. My Business is increasing with the help of our group. I am heartily thankful to Saath for giving us Youth Force. In this program we feel that we have got the platform to express our self and live our dreams.

My experience with Saath: Shanna Patel

Introduction: Shanna recently graduated from the University of Oxford with a Masters degree in Contemporary India. She interned with Saath for three months. She spent six weeks working with Youth Force and six weeks on a paper for an upcoming programme.

New Picture (2)

These last few months with Saath absolutely flew by. They were enjoyable, enriching and educational. The organisation does such meaningful work across Gujarat, which I saw first-hand and its impact stretches across into Rajasthan as well. I really admire the ethos behind Saath and congratulate them on their 25th year!

I was fortunate enough to work for the Youth Force programme for several weeks and this was a wonderful experience. I realised how many young lives Saath changes every day. For a few weeks of my internship, I was involved in documenting the work and impact of Youth Force through a film and this meant travelling to all the centres to capture the essence of the programme. I met dozens of young people who shared inspiring stories and experiences, and who unequivocally attributed their successes to Youth Force and the coordinators of the programme. I am especially thankful to Mr Paresh Sakariya, who made my time with Youth Force so worthwhile.

I also thoroughly enjoyed being involved with the Women’s Development Centre, a very meaningful project in Juhapura that provides a new lease of life to hundreds of vulnerable women. It was the programme of Saath that intrigued me the most and Saath’s interest in marginalised women is admirable. Saath’s programme offers a space and platform to women who would otherwise never have the opportunity to invest in themselves.

My experience at Saath went too quickly! I am especially thankful to Saath’s executive director, Keren Nazareth, who was a mentor and friend to me. She motivates the whole organisation so well and it was a pleasure to learn from her considerable experience. The RDC cell, Kunal, Irbaaz and Jenny – and Vama – were also a wealth of knowledge and are a really friendly bunch! I’m sad to be leaving Saath, but I hope to collaborate with Saath in the future and made some great friends here. Thank you!