Tag Archives: SAATH

Vinu takes charge of his life

Skills to Succeed programme was started with an aim to create opportunities for training disadvantaged youth who are dropouts or due to weak economic situation lack skills to hold a job to provide for their families. Given below is the story of Vinu who underwent the training and is now currently working as a Customer Service Executive in Reliance Insurance.

19 year old Vinu comes from the Santra village of Patan, where he has vinu-1-3completed his second year of Bachelors in Commerce. When asked about how he came to Ahmedabad, getting a bit emotional he shares, “I used to live with my parents and younger brother and our source of income was farming through which we were earning Rs. 70,000-80,000 annually. The fee for one semester of my college was Rs. 1,750 which was getting difficult to meet as our income wasn’t able to support both mine and my brother’s education. After this I decided to come to Ahmedabad in search of a job so that I can earn and pay for my own tuition fees. My decision at that time was opposed by my family, but I decided to come here anyway”.

Vinu’s older brother has lived in Ahmedabad for the past 8 years where he is currently working with Torrent Power on a contract basis as an electrical fitter. The work is available for only 8-10 days in a month from which he earns Rs. 7,000-8000 pm. Vinu’s brother was also initially against Vinu coming to Ahmedabad due to the irregularity of work but Vinu joined his brother as a helper and started assisting him in his work at the company. Talking about his early days in Ahmedabad he says, “Initially I got a little sacred as alcoholism is quite high in the area where I live, which took me by surprise.”  Vinu’s brother has been divorced once and his family had to go to court many times. Due to these frequent visits to court and talking with lawyers Vinu has decided to study law after completing his graduation.

Talking about Skills to Succeed Vinu says, “Initially for the first 3 months I was working with my brother after coming to Ahmedabad but wasn’t earning enough. Pravin Sir, (a facilitator at the Odhav centre) came to my home while doing home visits in the area and explained to me about the training course. I joined the course as I was assured I’ll get a job after completion of training. Initially the training was difficult and for the first few days I felt very alone. My English was weak, my communication skills were poor and I was afraid if I would ask questions in the class everyone will laugh. But gradually after encouragement from faculty and staff I started improving and learning and now my English is much better and I can understand and also respond in English but only to a certain extent,” he adds laughing. His faculty says that for the initial 10 days Vinu just sat in the corner during the class and didn’t interact with anyone. Special attention was given to him to open up and his participation was developed. He now finds it comparatively easier to communicate with customers. Nishantbhai who coordinates the project observed that Vinu now dresses in formals, has learnt how to knot a tie and has a much neater appearance, which is good for his work.

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After completion of the training, Vinu joined MyRecharge where he has been working as an independent retailer for the past one and half months providing recharge services to people through which he earns Rs. 4,000-5,000 per month. Vinu says. “The work needs a lot of networking and being interactive. As I work from home, I have to constantly market my services and talk with anyone I meet.” His supervisor is quite happy with the sales that he is making in the month. At the end of the interview surprisingly Vinu adds one more good news and says proudly, “I wanted to earn more to restart my education and for that I went to the campus interview which was recently organised by Saath itself date on 17th November 2014  and gave an interview to the Reliance Insurance Company. The interview was a new experience in which I was asked to sell a pen, which I did successfully. Now I’ve been selected and from tomorrow I’m starting a new job as a Customer Service Executive through which I will earn Rs. 6,000 pm. This will be additional to the work at MyRecharge.”

Vinu had moved on from his job at Reliance and currently is working with Saath. He joined Saath as a Youth Facilitator, guiding slum youth and conducting various activities with them and from then he moved to Saath’s Employment Exchange project where he generates linkages for jobs for the youth.

A walk down the memory lane, My Internship with Saath, Shmbhavi Sharma

Experiences in one’s life are the tiny steps that pave the way to what we become. Therefore, I have always believed that it is very important to have the right experiences in one’s life which enables us to grow as an individual and add on to our knowledge base. Interning with SAATH indeed has been a very fruitful and great learning experience.

shambhavi

I still remember my first day at SAATH.I was a little apprehensive of what was in store for me in the coming weeks. Having decided to do my summer internship with SAATH, I ventured into the terrains of an unknown city. On my first day at SAATH, I was oriented about the various projects run by the organisation in the various cities of Gujarat.I was introduced to the project coordinators and briefed about various projects in detail. The one thing that really struck me on my first day was the warmth exuded by everyone in the office. In the days that followed, I visited the centers of various projects run by Saath i.e. Saath Savings and Credit Cooperative, Balghars, Youth group resource centre, Child Friendly spaces in Vasna, Juhapura and Odhav. It provided me a glimpse into the kind of work Saath is doing in the urban slums of Ahmedabad for marginalized children, women, youth and for holistic community development. It was a thought provoking experience to go to the field and see the reality and hardships that people face in their everyday life marked by struggle and subversion of their rights. My main assignment was a detailed study about the Youth Force programme at Saath. I studied about some of the programmes for youth conducted by civil society organizations in India and abroad. Along with this I also interacted with the youth force team leaders, visited youth force centers and actively participated in the events conducted by the field team .I fondly remember during one such visit at Youth Force resource centre in Odhav, the Youth Force members shared their aspirations and how Youth Force programme has made a significant difference in their lives by giving them a platform to showcase their talent and strengthen their innate qualities along with providing them career guidance and motivation. The enthusiasm with which the group members participated in the activities and involved me gave an insight into the pivotal role that the programme is playing for shaping the youth’s future and personality. I also got a chance to work on the half yearly donor report and was pleased to be entrusted with such a responsibility as an intern. Throughout my internship one thing which I liked the most was the office atmosphere and the warmth shown by everyone. The smiling faces in office, the excited overtones, helpful voices and lunchtime round table discussions are all a memorable part of the wonderful time spent at Saath.

Another great experience was participating in the cultural event for Nivea’s CSR event which was held in collaboration with Saath. On a short notice we had to put up an educational skit and it was incredible to have been able to pull this in such a short duration of time.Directing and acting in the play was really exciting for me. Saath along with giving me an opportunity to hone my documentation skills also gave me a chance to showcase my extra-curricular talent. It was through the constant support and guidance of Saath team that I was able to successfully prepare an elaborate report on further improvement of Youth Force programme. This could have not been possible without the support, encouragement and guidance of Saath team.

I would especially like to thank Paromita Ma’am for searching new avenues and creating opportunities for my personal growth and learning. It was wonderful to have her as a mentor as she was always available for guidance and motivated me throughout the internship. Without her encouragement and valuable advice completion of the report and my personal learning would have been incomplete. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Irbaaz and Kunal Sir for my smooth induction as an intern and helping me as an intern to feel comfortable and get acquainted with working of Saath. Their guidance and support throughout the internship is much appreciated. Vama Ma’am thank you for believing in me and entrusting me with the responsibility of putting up a skit in such short duration of time. Also, I am thankful to Abhishek and Paresh sir for giving me an insight and helping me to understand Youth Force programme in detail and getting adequate field exposure for the same. Thank you Niraj sir for giving me a direction to initiate my learning process and mould my learning outcome. I was deeply touched by everyone’s simplicity and dedication and my interaction with everyone has been wonderful.

shambhavi 1Shambhavi, along with other interns  at Saath office

It was a beautiful journey of five weeks and I am glad that I chose Saath for my block field work internship. Saath as an organisation is doing incredible work for the marginalized section of the society with its holistic approach of intervention and empowerment. I would be more than happy to be of any help in the future and the time spent at Saath would always be cherished and remembered.

Shambhavi Sharma

MNC petrol pump hires 18 women trainees of Women@Work

women@work-1Under Women@work, vulnerbale women are trained for non-traditional trades such as electrician, mobile repairing and petrol pump service for acquiring a meaningful employment or start their own micro-enterprise. The programme was started in June 2015, has trained 72 women and 92 are undergoing training right now.

Recently Women@work, successfully placed 18 women trainees at a Petrol Pump in Ahmedabad. The welcome gesture of this MNC petrol giant, has grabbed the attention of the passers-by at the petrol pump. One of them is Neema Ben (Name has been changed), who has been hired, despite the fact that her husband is suffering from HIV AIDs. Her husband lost his job and she is the sole bread earner now taking care of the entire family. She will be getting a salary of Rs. 8,500/- which will help her sustain her family needs, especially when the family is going through tough times. The program has been successful to bring change in the mind-set of some, as we see in this case the recruiters have thought beyond conventional norms and stereotypes for promoting work place equity and the right to work irrespective of gender and health issues.

Women@work

Neema Ben defies societal baises to work for sustaining her family!

Khodiyar nagar is a small slum pocket with 4,000 households in Behrampura, Ahmedabad. Mostly people there are involved in labour work and auto driving for a living. Neema ben, 25 years old also lives in this area with her husband and mother-in-law. She has two daughters and one son. Her elder daughter is studying in 1st standard and younger daughter is studying in Aanganwadi. Her son is 2 years old. Neema ben and her husband Kailash bhai have both studied till 8th standard. Kailash bhai was working in one of the shop with a salary of Rs. 6,000 per month. Two years back Kailash bhai was diagnosed of AIDS, as a result he couldn’t continue his work. The family is in financial crunch as Kailash Bhai’s medical expenses are increasing day by day. All the responsibilities suddenly came upon Neema ben Ben’s shoulders, so she started searching for work. Neema ben’s mother-in-law also started labour work at this ripe age. By the stroke of luck, in November 2015, Neema ben met the Mobilization team of Women@Work Programme of Saath focused on training women in non-traditional trades. Neema ben keenly acquired the information about the program, and she saw a ray of hope for her family’s future, thus joined the 15 days training. She got hired at Petrol Pump along with 18 other women near her area after her training. She has a 9 to 6 job with a salary of Rs. 8,500 per month. Neema ben says with a sense of satisfaction, “Women@work has not only shown me a way for solving all the problems of my family but also it has empowered me to stand on my own feet”. (Names of the beneficiaries have been changed)

My Journey with Saath, Subhika Sharma

Subhika Sharma is currently pursuing her Media studies from Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communications. She did a six months internship with Saath where she worked with Saath’s Udaan livelihood centre in Gandhinagar. Given below is her experience with Saath in his own words

My six week internship with SAATH was a mesmerizing experience for me. Shubhika SharmaThanks to my college Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication, I got this marvelous opportunity to work with SAATH and do my share in the betterment of the society. Working at this NGO was more than just a “job” for me. It made me get to know about that part of our society that remains unseen and unheard.

My internship started with the basic orientation in which I was introduced to all the programs that are conducted by the NGO. I was also taken to most of these centers where I interacted with the program managers to have a better understanding of their work. My work was at UDAAN, a youth training center where I was assigned to interact as well as teach the unemployed youth the courses of life skills, personality development as well as the basic English speaking. Working at UDAAN was a life changing experience for me. I never thought in such a short period of time I would get so comfortable with the people. Not only the teaching, but the whole experience of interacting with them and getting to know them was completely fascinating. Initially I was a bit hesitant to talk to the students but as time passed by, it started becoming very easy for them to be able to open up with me. Also to overcome this gap, I made them do such activities which involved coming out of their shells and opening up with the others and making them realize they have people to share things with.

An 11th grader dreams of having his own retail shop someday, a mother of two children dreams of completing her PhD in Philosophy and becoming a lecturer, one graduate wants to join an NGO and participate in social work and so on there are millions of such dreams which were expressed by the students. It was amusing to know how everyone talked about having a great future with a respectful job and tons of money.

I started with writing a motivational thought and a new word in english with its meaning and use in sentence everyday on the board and later on explaining it to them. After their usual class, I used to take sessions in which I conducted various interactive, expressing as well as personality development activities. These activities usually involved getting to know oneself better and accepting the way you are. They also shed a light on emotional content that they shared comfortably with me and the rest of the group. Along with this, they also talked about their likes and dislikes, their interests, their dreams and regrets. I made them talk to me on one on one basis and encouraged them to practice ways of public speaking with a confidence.

Apart from life skills, I started with teaching them fundamentals of grammar, sentence formation, giving introduction as well as to have a telephonic conversation. I also conducted a few classes on spelling and pronunciations. Along with this, I gave them suggestions on how one should dress up during an interview and tips on how to carry them while sitting in front of the interviewer. I even gave them tips on how one should conduct them in a proper office environment that involved greeting their seniors and juniors and behaving in a particular way with their colleagues. On my last day, a bunch of students planned a surprise farewell for me and arranged cakes and snacks and presented me with token of best wishes.

New Picture (1)Subhika at the centre with staff

It was an amazing experience, in a nutshell. Not only I taught, I learned so much from them. Majority of them come from lower middle class and have heartwarming stories to tell. There are so many obstacles that they face and yet lead such an upbeat and positive lives. SAATH has been doing its best in working for the underprivileged. I feel honoured to be a part of this esteemed NGO. I would like to thank my mentors Mr. Kunal Patel, Miss Jenny Parekh, Mr. Nitesh Oza, Mr. Rajendra Prajapati and Miss Keren for being my guiding light throughout my journey with SAATH, Though my internship ended, I would always remember the time I spent here and would love to assist them in the near future as well.

Shubhika Sharma                                                                                                               S.Y. Symbiosis Institute of Media and Communication                                                 Intern at SAATH

Entrancing Experience at Saath, Nihal Bhatt

Nihal Bhatt is an engineering student currently studying at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. He did his internship with Saath last month. Given below is his experience of working with Saath.

My working with Saath was compelling and exhilarating beyond doubt. The short tenure of 24 days from 15th May till 7th June at Saath inculcated new DSC00832_20140613182038212spirit and approach of thinking in me. Our college, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University provided a platform to improve our social and interpersonal skills through an internship and Saath changed it into reality. The experience to explore the slum dwelling areas and the underprivileged people was quite engaging and worth a consideration.

On the first day of internship, all the interns were given a synopsis of all the programs at Saath. The field visits to slum dwelling areas motivated me to do something for a social cause. The initiatives by Saath act as a flame to ignite spirit to aid the needful.

I was allocated the department of Research, Documentation and Communication Cell (RDC) and Saath Livelihood Services (SLS). Both of the departments helped in improving my designing talent, innovative thinking and analyzing skills. I was given a task to design the Annual Report and the Saath Brochures. It was rather a slow and uphill task to think out of the box keeping in mind the constraints. I got assistance from the RDC team and fellow interns during the job, which made it simpler. It took lots of effort to prepare the designs, but at the end the results were pleasurable.

20140517_111308Nihal with the CFS Juhapura centre children

The most valuable experience I got at Saath was to visit the CFS (Child Friendly Spaces) center and Nirman Center. CFS is a program spearheaded by Saath to help the small poor kids. They are provided with quality education at the CFS centers. Nirman is a program to skill the unemployed poor men. They are skilled as electrician, plumber and masons. It was good to see a 10th grade passed man to repair a table fan and a 7th grade failed man to fix the hot water geyser.

I was contented with my work as I was indirectly dropping my sweat for the needful. It was worthwhile experience to work with the team of Saath. I even made new friends from various colleges who came in as interns. The short tenure of work helped me in improving my intellectual skills.                                                                                                                                                                                      I am thankful to Saath to make me aware of the outer world that faces difficulties each day. The days I spent at Saath will be etched in my mind forever. The experience was truly valuable and I appreciate all the endeavors spearheaded by Saath. I would like to express gratitude to all the officials of Saath for their hospitability. It was a precious experience to work with the whole team.