Ronita Singh is an engineering student currently studying at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. She did his internship with Saath last month. Given below is her experience of working with Saath.
My 24 days internship as exactly counted in my schedule has been a truly learning experience and was totally dedicated in learning the struggling life of various slum dwellers. It was through Saath that I was able to see the ‘unseen world’ that needs immediate attention.
A two day orientation was organized to give a proper insight to the various programmes run by Saath. It helped me in knowing the organization in a better way and made it clear that this was one of the respectable NGO’s.
I started working at Saath under the Research and Documentation Cell. My work focused on collecting case stories based on different programmes run by this NGO for the Annual Report. It provided me with a great opportunity to reach out to the people of various communities and know their life history. When I visited these places for the first time, the people were really welcoming and accepted me and patiently answered my questions to the hardships they were facing.I was inspired to see that in spite of the dreadful conditions that they live in, they still continue to have a big smile on their faces. Their dream to get affordable and cleaner civic amenities still runs in their blood. It was through the stories that I came to know that Saath has greatly helped them in giving the basic health and education facilities.
Ronita (in the front) at our Child Friendly Spaces centre
Apart from all of these, working with this organization has also given me so much more.I learned professional skills, made some great friends here and got a platform to travel and meet different people all across the city. It taught me how to work in a team and inculcated inter personal skills. Looking at the poor conditions of these people who strive so hard to earn their breads that I realized that I have nothing to complain about. Saath also helped me discover my philanthropic side and sensitized me to the issues that the world needs to cater to.
At last, I would like to thank everyone at Saath for making me feel at ease with the working environment. All the officials really helped me grow as an individual. A special thanks to Irbaaz sir and Kunal sir for believing in me and my work. They have been really supportive throughout my internship. I would also like to congratulate Saath for the completion of 25 years and wish them luck for their future endeavours. Indeed an unforgettable experience for me!
Seiko Okayama, a student of University of Tokyo, visited Saath in January for her research. This was her second trip to India and read below her story of her experience with Saath.
It was definitely a memorable experience for me to join the short research program at Saath this January.
As a student of South Asian area studies in the University of Tokyo, I had been looking for some suitable way to connect to the local society in Ahmedabad in order to know about the situation of the human development there in this research trip.
The staff of Saath kindly welcomed me while my visit was quite a sudden one and arranged good opportunities for me to talk with the people in various communities. In the preparation meeting, Saath coordinators listened carefully to the purpose and the methods of my research and gave me many helpful advices on how to conduct it.
During the small discussion with Saath’s workers, they recommended me to visit two areas where Saath’s Urban Resource Centres were located so that I have interviews with the residents there through the help by the program workers.
When I visited those places for the first time, local people kindly accepted me and answered my questions about the issues they were facing in the daily lives. From the stories spoken by them, I could see how deeply they were thankful to the Saath’s activities, such as medical, financial and educational services which were essential for their lives.
Seiko at our Vasna Urban Resource Centre
Even after coming back to the headquarter office, workers who specialised in various empowerment programs kindly spared their times to answer my questions again, which helped me a lot to understand the background situation of the comments offered by the residents during the field interviews.
As a whole, the days I spent with Saath brought me quite important clues for the future research on the city of Ahmedabad.
Inro: Ms. Riya Bhaskaran is an undergraduate student at Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication and was an intern at Saath from 13th May to 23rd June, 2013 associated with Research Documentation and Communication Cell and Fundraising.
Riya Bhaskaran (on the left) during a Focused Group Discussion at our Vasna Urban Resource Centre
Here’s here experience of working with Saath in her own words:
These 42 days as exactly counted on my intern schedule were ones dedicated to learning different aspects of benevolent individual and what India immediately needs to cater to. Terms like urban poor, unemployment, vocational training, women empowerment, and most essentially livelihood, all now are perfectly understood; which our social science textbooks tried best to comprehend for us.
A three day orientation was organised by the NGO so that we are aware of the various programs it runs and get to know about the values and missions it adheres to. These three days made it pretty clear Saath was one unique NGO.
Apart from working for the Research & Documentation Team and Fundraising & Marketing team; one of the most interesting works at Saath, was the research with the students from the Delft University of Technology (Netherlands). They were on a research to understand the system of public health and sanitation of the poor specifically women’s health. It was an amazing experience to interact with the people from the community and know their story of struggle and that how eagerly they all want affordable and cleaner facilities of toilets and bathrooms. It was surprising to know how women are still a victim of backwardness and thus lack of awareness. But on the same occasion it is extremely pleasing to realize how some women have opened up to new methods of personal sanitation and embracing it completely. Poverty still scars their lifestyle and hence discontinues their access to better health facilities frequently.
An internship worth giving credit to, for adding on an ocean of knowledge and knowing. An immense amount of information and understanding gathered directing through the clutter of India, making it quite clear what stays crucial and what action plan must be engaged. It was interesting to know that an NGO clearly does not live in a rosy picture we assume it does. It takes loads of strength mentally and physically right from identifying what exactly the problem area lies within and engaging the appropriate human resource for the same respectively.