Kamlesh is a resident of Jahangirpura area of Surat. He left his studies after 12th 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.”
This is the story of a Youth who has undergone change in his life and is now sharing responsibilities in taking care of his family.
Hemant Sanjaybhai Ravtode, age 19, is a resident of Jhangirpura Surat. There are 6 members in his family, his father is working in a company, his mother’s a home maker and he has two sisters and a brother. Hemant is the second child. His elder sister Ashwini is doing teaching course in an institute and his other siblings are studying. Hemant is 10th dropout and was jobless at the time of joining the Youth Force. His father is earning around Rs 6,000 per month which is not enough for the family. Hemant realised early in his life that he would have to start working to support his family. That is why he was looking for a job. But because of low education, no skills and low confidence he was not able to find any good opportunities.
Nishant Chaudhari the City Coordinator of Youth Force Surat visited Jahangirpura to talk with the youth of the area about the Youth Force programme. Hemant heard about Youth Force and decided to join the youth group. Hemant says “I like Youth Force because it’s for us (youth) and our development. I really like the activities they we are doing such as learning through playing games, visiting different parts of Surat like Auto Expo, Musical Events, Temples with the group. The meetings of the weekend are what I enjoy the most and look forward to.”
He further says “Within 15 days of joining Nishant gave me information of interview call in Harsh-Surgical’s. Nishant gave me tips for the interview which really helped me and I passed the interview. The company offered me a salary of Rs. 4500 per month, which I consider a good amount as this is my first job and now I can help my family as well.”
Hemant has undergone a huge transformation since he has joined youth force. His family is also very happy. His father says “Earlier Hemant just used to wander around with friends whole day. I feel proud to see my son working and shouldering responsibilities of his family.” Hemant’s review from his employers is also positive and they say he is hardworking, honest and a quick learner. The company has also decided to help him for his further studies.
Hemant is very happy with the change in him. His expresses “Youth Force has changed my life and way of thinking. I have a good job and I never miss our weekly meetings of the group. I am proud to be a member of Youth Force.”
This is the story of Parsottambhai, whose life changed through Nirman, a programme of Saath. Nirman addresses the training needs of people in the informal job sector.
Parsottam Chelabhai Parmar residing in Beehrampura, Ahmedabad comes from a family of seven. He used to work as a guard, in the night shift for an security agency. He received a pay of Rs.6,000 per month, however he was not able to meet his expenses with his income. He always had a keen interest to become an electrician however he could not afford the formal training programme. Parsottambhai came to know about Nirman programme through a friend who had visited the Nirman center running in their area. He says “I saw a ray of hope for me, when I heard about Nirman. I enrolled my name for the Electrical Training Batch at the Behrampura center. Initially I had my doubts about the facilities that would be provided at the center as they charged a very meager fee, but I decided to join the programme. The timing of the session was completely appropriate for me and I did not have to miss out on my regular job. When I attended my first session all my doubts about the working of the programme were cleared. The trainers gave me formal training in plate earthing, wiring,importance of personal safety. The theory sessions were accompanied with its practical applications. Also, additional sessions were organised covering topics such as lifeskills, insurance, importance of savings etc., which proved to be really helpful ”.
On the completion of the course Parsottambhai received a certificate and a tool kit from the center. Due to the certificate Parsottambhai was able to get a job at the Torrent plant. He now earns Rs. 10,000 a month and his standard of living has improved. “SAATH’s Nirman programme helped me a lot. This has been only possible because of the skills that I have received through this course. I am thankful to Saath for the same”, says Parsottambhai.
Today we share with you the story of Lakshmiben, a member of Saath Cooperative, who has taken an asset creation loan from the Cooperative. Given below is her story of association with the Cooperative in her own words:
- Name of the client: Lakhsmi Solanki
- Age: 45 years
My savings are safe with Saath: Lakshmi Solanki
Lakshmi displays the bathroom she got made through an Asset Creation Loan from Saath-Cooperative.
My association with Saath started with the Compulsory Savings Plan in which I saved INR 100 per month without fail. I believe savings are very important as they ensure we remain afloat on a rainy day.
Soon enough, I realised that my house needed some renovation. When I discussed this issue with the field officer, she told me that I was eligible for a loan from Saath. The amount, INR 5,000 was exactly what I wanted and the installment and repayment schedule was also very agreeable.
Not only did I make repairs in the house, I also built a small bathroom – a facility which is pretty scarce in our neighbourhood. I am going to continue my relationship with Saath because of the conducive environment. I feel that my savings are safe with them and their loan structure is pretty simple to understand and easy on the pocket.
This story was documented by Ms. Devina Sarwatay who interned with Saath for a month in summer. She visited the field and met the members of the Cooperative.
According to National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), In 2009-10, estimated total number of domestic worker in India is around 2.52 million out of this 2/3 reside in urban areas and 57% of them are women. So in the last 10 years there is almost 75% increase in domestic workers mostly accounted for by women. Domestic work has historically been viewed as the realm of the woman with crucial household chores continuing to be either being unpaid (if performed by a household’s women) or underpaid (if outsourced to a domestic worker). Though Gujarat as a State is booming economically, the informal sector and amongst these, domestic work is still a sector where there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Their situation remains the same as for many across India – no bargaining power, no leave, no legal access, sexual harassment, over worked, and underpaid. Moreover there is no platform through which these women can come together to demand their rights.
Saath’s Urmila Home Manager Programme attempts to bridge the gap between domestic servants and urban households. The main objective of the project is to empower slum residents from simply being “housemaids” to working professionals, Home Managers, with a significant increase in incomes, and to provide reliable, efficient and professional home managers for the clients. SAATH aims to develop a fair and formal platform to train and place women and men who work as house-help. We offer a reliable, efficient and professional domestic service, highly sought after by the households looking to employ domestic help. The programme also makes the clients aware of the rights and duties of the home manager, and vice versa. Further, it gives women from underprivileged households a sense of pride and achievement from the fact that they are now able providers to their families, they feel empowered.
Here’s the story of one our trainees of the Urmila Programme:
Rekhaben Manishbhai Solanki started working as Home Manager in the month of June. She has five members in her family, her husband, two daughters and a son. She has studied till 7th standard and is able to read and write. Her husband is working in the marketing field and earns only Rs. 5000 per month which is not enough money to fulfill the requirements of her family.
She was looking for work to support her family. Her dream is to buy a loading rickshaw for her husband, so that he can work independently for their livelihood. When she came to know about Urmila programme she immediately joined it and after completing the course she was placed. After finishing her household work in the morning she goes to her employers place. She works from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m and earns Rs.4500/- per month. Currently she is taking care of a 5 month old child.
Rekhaben Says “Before, I was dependent on my husband for any necessary expenses, but now I will be able to manage expenses well through my own earning and become more independent. Now in the family and society all members are giving me more respect because of my job.”