Monthly Archives: January 2014

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.

Announcing Two New Intiatives at Saath

Since its inception, SAATH has worked in the fields of Health, Education, Micro Finance, Training, Livelihoods, Policy Advocacy as per the needs of the community and has innovated its programmes and started new initiatives for the benefit of the people. Recently Saath started two new initiatives – Sujal water project for providing safe drinking water to Sanand Aanganwadi’s children and Housing Rights project for creating awareness amongst slum dwellers regarding their housing rights. Given below is the brief overview of both of these projects. Do let us know what you think about them.

Sujal – Safe Drinking Water for Everyone

According to Ahmedabad district annual report 2010-11, under the ICDS programme there are total 1,600 Aanganwadi’s functioning in Ahmedabad district out of which Sanand Taluka has 193 Aanganwadi’s (Village: 70, Population: 1,93,335). There are basic facilities like toilets and drinking water at each Aanganwadi but the quality of water is a major concern. Due to high PH level, poor quality of water and lack of RO systems children who come to the Aanganwadi’s suffer from water borne diseases like diarrhea, cholera and jaundice etc and many suffer from flourosis and kidney stone problems.

Through the Sujal project Saath will implement and monitor RO water system in 193 Aanganwadi’s of Sanand Taluka. For the phase 1 of the project we aim to implement RO systems in a total of 30 Aanganwadi’s. More than 1,000 children of 3-5 year age group of about 18 villages will get access to clean and pure drinking water during this first phase. The RO systems have been installed in 6 Aanganwadi’s by now and the rest ones will be covered by June,2014. The project will also keep an eye on the health status of the children studying in these Aanganwadi’s and will conduct regular health checkups of the children along with monitoring of the RO systems. The project is also an initial point for us to get to know the Sanand area so that later on we can reach out to a larger public base.

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Children with their teacher at Aanganwadi in Pilupura village of Sanand where the RO system has been installed.

Housing Rights for the Urban Poor

The Constitution of India under Part III Fundamental Rights under Articles 19 and 21 ensures every citizen right to reside at the place of his choice and right to life. India through its elaborated five year plans and formation of national housing policies strive to achieve the goal of Slum Free India through various national housing policies. JnNURM is one such ambitious scheme launched nation wide in year 2005 implemented by Ministry of Urban Development and Urban employment and poverty alleviation.

Major cities in Gujarat are set to have the highest number of new housing units built by the government in the coming years. This effectively means that many more communities will be evicted, and moved into EWS housing schemes – there is no safeguard against violations and denials of their rights of due process. Also, there is no assurance of adherence to standards and principles for in situ redevelopment and rehabilitation.

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One of the EWS sites in Ahmedabad where Saath is working

To tackle the situation Saath proposes to build the capacity of slum communities to understand their housing rights and be able to organize themselves against unlawful and illegal evictions, resettlements or housing that are less adequate, as well as to secure their entitlements under the policies and programs that are being initiated in the state. In longer term, the program aims to contribute to strengthening the national level work and platforms on housing rights. In the coming years Saath will work in 3 cities of Gujarat – Ahmedabad, Surat and Rajkot and train 60 community leaders, 10 community organisations and reach out to over 2,30,000 slum dwellers and work with them.

Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) – Empowering Children with Education

Today we share with you story of Nazma who used to make Rakhi’s at home to help her family and now regularly attends our CFS classes and is soon going to give the exam for 10th Grade to join formal schools.

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Nazma is 14 yrs old and is a resident of Fatehwadi, Juhapura area of Ahmedabad. She met Firdausben our CFS teacher during her field visit in the area. Talking with her Firdausben came to know that Nazma has never been to school and makes ‘Rakhi’s’at home to help her family. For making 12 dozen rakhi’s she gets paid Rs. 50. Firdausben came to know that her parents are very reluctant to send girls to school but Firdausben convinced them to come to send Nazma to the CFS classes.

Talking about the class she says, “When I joined the class I entered into a different world where everything was new for me as I had never attended Najma-Habilulla-Kadri-1a class of any kind”. Her parents are migrants from Uttar Pradesh and hence she didn’t know any Gujarati at all. In the class she was very eager to learn and showed a lot of enthusiasm for learning new things. Now, her Gujarati is really good, she reads and writes with full speed and her handwriting’s are something to look at.She further says, “Through the class I got a chance to go to a theater to watch a movie for the first time which was another experience I never had before. I really want to study further and join a school, my dream is to become a Doctor”.

For enrolling Nazma to a formal school Firdausben went to meet her parents. She found out that her parents are illiterate. In their family education is very low and there is reluctance to send their children to school especially girls.  After much counseling of Nazma’s mother and father by Firdausben they have agreed for Nazma to give exam for 10th standard. Now they are also eager for her to give exam and study ahead.

Saath’s year 2013 in blogging

Here’s the annual report for the year 2013 for Saath’s blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,800 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.