With a motive of ‘freedom from a conditioned existence’ known as Kaivalya in Indian spiritual thought, arrived 8 highly motivated their young leaders of the Gandhi fellowship programme in SAATH to understand our core value system and operational well being on field. A three day’s visit to our programme centres as well as an interactive session with our project co-ordinators and the group members was organised duly.
On the first day, after a brief orientation on our organisation and the programmes they had the chance to interact with our Executive Director, Keren Nazareth who then unfolded the story behind Saath and how we have evolved as an organisation. The underlining fact which was the highlight of the interactive session was why there is an immediate need to cater to the needs of the ‘urban’ poor and underprivileged. With the interactive session coming to a conclusion we then lead the group to the URC i.e. Urban Resource Centre at Vasna for a field interface. Here they had the opportunity to meet and know the stories of the women involved with Saath and how URC as an aid has helped them empower their social as well economic well being. Later in the evening we headed to the URC centre at Juhapura, where they had a lively and healthy communication with Zuber Bhai, our programme co-ordinator who narrated stories on how he got involved with Saath and motivated his community to think rationally and talk and discuss about progress and women development in particular.
Day Two was one of the most interesting field visits. The whole day was scheduled to be spent at the UMEED centre at Behrampura where young talented youth who due to social and economic constraints were not able to pursue their education ahead and are not eligible for employment, are trained in Computers, Elementary English and are given professional training in various courses. The youth leaders from Gandhi fellowship shared their experience of motivation and inspiration with the students of the Umeed programme and in response; the students too shared their life stories and cleared their doubts regarding finding inner inspiration and motivation. An interactive session was then set up with the faculty and management at the centre and questions regarding the functions, operations and discrepancies faces were all well answered. In the evening then a vigorous session took place where the Youth Force a newly introduced programme posed their queries against the Gandhi fellows regarding group formation, involvement and structure was all discussed in great detail with rising levels of zeal and drive.
The last day was a day dedicated to introspection and feedback. A meeting again with the executive director was arranged where in healthy feedbacks were exchanged and our guests shared their experiences with Saath.
To see the pictures of this journey you can visit our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/saathahmedabad
Here’s a story from Jesper and Ger, two travelers who visited our Child-Friendly Space in Vasna. Two interns (Jasmijn and Valeria) had organized a farewell party with a Dutch theme for the end of their internship. The travelers joined the party and had fun with the kids.
During our six-month journey through Asia, we visited Ahmedabad because a Dutch friend of us lives there. Besides visiting the beautiful city with all its exciting alleys, gates and temples we also had the honour to witness the daily life of kids in one of the slums of Ahmedabad. Together with people from Saath and another Dutch girl, we contributed to the ‘Dutch day’, which was organized for children of the Child-Friendly Spaces in Vasna. Because of the effort of Saath these children get some valuable education instead of working fulltime in service of their parents.
We were struck by the sweetness of all these small children living in poor and for us unknown conditions. Still, we thought the children looked healthy and clean, in comparison with the children we met in one of the slums in Mumbai.
The first part of the day contained a PowerPoint presentation about the Netherlands. Probably the kids did not really realize where the Netherlands actually is and what it exactly is, but at least they enjoyed the show!
We were confronted with the bizarre daily life in the slums: the class had to move away rapidly because there was a ‘Besna’ close by. A neighbour had died that night and relatives from various places across the country, were visiting to pay their last respect to the deceased and his family. The classroom was going to be used to prepare the body for the funeral.
We moved to another place and went on with the programme. The children made some drawings about India for an exhibition in the Netherlands. We contributed to the ‘Netherlands day’ with a traditional Dutch game: ‘koekhappen’ (cookbiting). Pieces of cake on a string, and children have to reach and bite in the cake, blindfolded and with their hands on their back. In the beginning the children were shy, but after some time all of them wanted to try. There was a lot of laughter and this gave us a very good feeling.
We are grateful that Saath gave us the opportunity to witness one of their projects in Ahmedabad and to get to know these great kids. Thanks a lot.
Ger Ligthart and Jesper van Putten
'Koekhappen' (old Dutch game) with the children
Last December a group of 26 students from the IIM (Indian Institute of Management) Ahmedabad (see blogpost → IIM students at Saath) have visited our organization. They got a 360 degree insight the home-managers programme currently run by our sister organization ‘Empower Pragati’.
We received some very valuable and useful feedback from tomorrow’s managers. Most of the students were positively surprised by the home-managers programme. The programme identifies poor unemployed women, trains them as home managers and finally places them with reliable employers.
As one student shared with us: It was indeed a great experience to learn about SAATH and EMPOWER. I got a lot of insights and the visit made me understand the various initiatives taken by SAATH and EMPOWER in particular. I truly appreciate SAATH for their contribution to society and thank SAATH for making our visit an enlightening one. I wish SAATH reaches more and more people.
Another student says: The visit was very fruitful in terms of being able to realise the realities of stratification and socio economic deprivation wrt the domestic workers. Empower Pragati as a business model is a very powerful opportunity to strengthen the livelihood of the workers while fulfilling the requirements of the employers. Moreover its the sense of self esteem that the “Home managers” have in this program that is certainly life changing.
We also received some valuable advice to improve the programme. Two students point out the importance of a good marketing strategy: I suggest empower pragati should consider some cheap way of marketing campaigns to spread the home manager program among the masses.
And: “Empower” home manager project gave an insight into how the seemingly impossible task of bringing the organized sector into the mainstream sector be accomplished. My suggestion for the project would be to increase its visibility by broader routes of marketing, instead of just relying on the word of mouth.
We conclude this post with a macro-level analysis of one student that stresses the importance of recognizing domestic work as a profession: I think to take this movement on a large scale, we lack on two key aspects. One is the government apathy, that doesn’t include domestic work at the same level as other jobs. The evidence to this is that domestic work is not covered under the minimum wages act and also it was not recognised under the purview of protection for women sexual harassment bill’ 2008. Secondly, to ensure that the power by the law is exercised its important that such groups come together and form institutions such as unions to be able to voice themselves. I believe Saath can play a very crucial role in bringing up the issue on the government’s table and also guide groups in realising their power by helping them organise.
We would like to thank the IIM students for sharing their thoughts with us!
When we visited India our friend asked us if we wanted to visit Saath. We already heard about the good work and projects of Saath so off course we wanted to visit the office.
First we went to a school (non-formal education) in a slum area in Vasna. This school is a place where child-labourers get a chance to get prepared for regular education. Our friend, who’s a researcher at Saath’s RDC, had the idea to make origami flowers….an Indian Lotus and a Dutch Tulip flower! After some practice we were ready to learn the kids how to make it! When we arrived all the kids sat nicely together listening to what the teacher was telling. When we showed them the origami paper everybody got excited. Demian turned out to be the best Tulip origami person. All the boys gathered around him. All the girls went to Simea and Jennecke to make lotusflowers. All the kids did a great job, some already knew how to fold flowers! The boys knew how to make airplanes…so many airplanes flew through the classroom 🙂
It was great fun, and we laughed a lot! At the end everybody received a nice sticker. We left some more so when somebody has a good result he or she receives a sticker! Saath really created the opportunity for these kids to go to school and it was fantastic to be a little part of that!
We continued our journey to the URC office of Saath in Vasna where we met the coordinator and three field-officers.They explained us about the projects and showed us drawings of a new project for affordable housing.
It was a great experience an we truly believe that Saath really makes a difference for a lot of people!
Thanks a lot for your hospitality!
Demian and Jennecke
Posted in Site Visit
Tagged 2011, activities, Ahmedabad, Child Friendly Spaces, child labour, India, SAATH, Site Visit, slums, Urban Resource Centre, Vasna
To celebrate the Joy of Giving week, Tulip Telecom Ltd. decided to do something for a good cause. They approached Saath to help them realize their ideas. During one week employees of Tulip Telecom collected items like toys, clothes, packaged dry food and stationery for Saath’s Child Friendly Spaces for child-labourers (CFS). The collection was a succes and resulted in a station car stuffed with useful items! In total 250 children will be supplied with packaged dry food, slates, penboxes and books.
Last Tuesday a group of Tulip Telecom visited the CFS in Behrampura to distribute some of the collected goods to the children. The rest will be distributed among the remaining 7 CFS centres in the Ahmedabad Area.
On behalf of the children of the CFS we’d like to give a big thank you to the people from Tulip Telecom Ahmedabad!
If you would like to organize a similar event or if you have other ideas to support one of our programmes, please contact the RDC unit at firstname.lastname@example.org give us a call (079 26929827)
Financial donations are also welcome ofcourse! Visit our pledgepage at GiveIndia. Until the 20th of October, we will receive a matching grant for your donation!
Posted in Fundraising, Site Visit
Tagged 2011, Ahmedabad, appeal, Behrampura, CFS, Child Friendly Spaces for Child Labourers, child labour, donations, GiveIndia, India, Joy of Giving week, SAATH, Site Visit, Thanks, Tulip Telecom Ltd.