Tag Archives: Urban Resource Centre

Youth Stories – Riyaz Mirza

Today we bring you the story of Riyaz who has recently joined Saath and is currently working as a part time coordinator of our Juhapura Urban Resource Centre (URC).

22 years old Riyaz is from Bhavnagar and is currently completi1508003_582797488456278_1577041726_nng his Bachelors in Mechanical  Engineering in Ahmedabad. His father is a well know and respected community leader, who is working since past many years for the welfare of the people of the weaker section of society in Bhavnagar. From his childhood Riyaz was very much impresses by his father activities and always wanted to follow in his footsteps.

When he came to Ahmedabad for his studies, here also following the footsteps of his father he used to help the people of the community as much as he can. During this time he came in contact with Zuberbhai, the coordinator of the Juhapura URC at that time.After that during the course of the days he used to meet Zuberbhai quite often and Zuberbhai later on asked him to come to URC after his college was over in the day to help the people. After this everyday after finishing college Riyaz started coming to the URC daily to help in any way that he can.

When Zuberbhai left the URC, seeing the dedication and commitment of Riyaz he recommended him to Saath to take him in and Riyaz joined Saath officially in December 2013, and currently is the Part-time Coordinator of the URC. Talking about his work, Riyaz says, “I really like working for the people and in an area like Juhapura there is much need of the services provided by the URC. I want to focus on the issue of education as there is really low awareness in the area and parents are not aware of the importance of the education and I want to change this.”

Urban Resource Centres: Deepakbhai’s story

Saath’s Urban Resource Centre’s are also providing loans for Auto Rickshaws and today we are sharing with you the story of one our client Mr. Dipakgiri Sureshgiri Goswami, who availed the loan services from our URC center.

Dipakbhai is leaving with his family in Guptanagar since last 25 years. New PictureThere are 11 members in his family, his father, mother and 2 elder brothers both married and have two children each. His father, an asthma patient is unemployed due to health reason.

His mother was working as a domestic worker to run the house. His elder brother left his studies to start earnings through a private job. They have a family house in Changodar village.  Dipakbhai started driving the rickshaw on rent to help his family. He was giving Rs.100 as a daily rent for the rickshaw. Maintenance cost of the petrol rickshaw was high and after deducting all the expenses, he was earning between Rs.150 to Rs.200 and that wasn’t enough. Dipakbhai then decided to buy his own rickshaw. He came to know about Saath’s Urban Resource Center through one of our field workers, who informed him about Auto-Rickshaw loans that URC’s provide. He took a loan of Rs.30,000 from URC and borrowed Rs.15,000 from his friends and bought a second-hand rickshaw for Rs.45,000.

Now, he is earning through the rickshaw and is also working in a packaging factory to repay his loan.  He shares his experience in his own words: “I am thankful to Saath’s Urban Resource Centre. They have given me a loan and now I am earning Rs.5000 to Rs.7,000 per month after deducting the loan payments.  I will be able to repay my loan soon and also I am saving my money for future. My sister-in-law who is working in Saath’s Savings and Credit Cooperative Society Ltd  has taught me the benefits of savings which she has learned from Saath’s Micro-finance Centre. Now we are capable enough to give proper education to my brothers’ children and also secure their future through our savings. Thank you very much Saath for your different programs for people like us who are unaware of savings and it’s benefits. And also for URC’s Rickshaw loan scheme.

Work Wednesdays: Devuben’s story

On Work Wednesdays we bring you news about our programmes and stories about our people working in the community. For today’s daily dose of Saath this is the story of Devuben Parmar. Devuben is the co-ordinator of the Urban Resource Center in Vasna.

Devuben was born in a traditional family and brought up in a small village called Sapar, near Rajkot. At the age of 21 in 1985 she got married to her husband.
Life after marriage was a bit difficult because in Sapar they faced lot of draught and therefore the farming land was not doing well. Very shortly the business went under because his customers where not paying for the jobs he was doing and was left with a debt.
In 1990 Devuben and her husband decided to move to Ahmedabad in order to clear the debt and for a better life so decided to move to Pravinnager Guptanar, a slum area in Vasna.

Devuben’s first job was making khakras (a Gujarati snack). She stayed in this job for 2 to 3 year. Her monthly salary was low and to make ends meet she even sold her gold to pay off the original debt. Even then they were left with debt because of the interest, which incurred. She took up extra work in order to clear the debt, and joined a sewing class. To pay the fees she did small jobs around the school. As soon as she learnt to sew, she started to receive small jobs from the colony that helped her cover the cost of her household expenses.

She came in contact with Saath when she was pregnant with her first child. Saath was providing nutritional goods for the expectant mother to help nourish the unborn child.
In 1992 Devuben joined Saath as a teacher on the Balghars Programme. This is a programme, which offers young children up to the age of six in the slum areas basic education, health, and nutritional services. When Devuben joined the programme, she lacked enormous confidence; frightened of people around her because she did not feel as if she fitted in well and thought that she cannot speak on their level. However, her desire was to be able to offer a better future for her family one day. Devuben, her husband and her six-month-old daughter lived in rented accommodation in Vasna.
In the beginning it was very difficult to convince the local residents, however she managed to recruit 32 children in the class. Here she worked for almost four years, from which she received good feedback from the local community and people from the area started to see the benefit the education system was having on the young children. The children started receiving educational support and from this, they learnt discipline, cleanliness, numeric, and alphabets.

Rajendra Joshi, founder of Saath saw the impact that Devuben was making on the local community and suggested she got herself involved in the slum Networking Project for Guptanagar where she would gather local the community and talk to them about the upcoming facility they can have i.e. access to clean water, drainage facility, legal electricity etc. In this role, Devuben received a lot of verbal abuse from the local residents where they started to talk about her, and call her all sorts of names, this then resulted in arguments between her and her husband. These arguments went on for a while until he realized what a good job she did for the community.

After all the hard work of daily pursuing the community, Devuben managed to get some people on board and small payments was taken which was in the Seva Trust. Several months went by and no work had been started so people started to put pressure of Devuben and once again rumours started, this time, they were saying that she has taken our money and no work will be done in this area. The information was relayed back to Rajendra Joshi who then put pressure on AMC for the work to start. Soon after, the preparation started and the local community started seeing people from the local government attending the area to measure up and take relevant structural information.

Local women started approaching Devuben for work and useful knowledge, i.e. learn to read and write Guajarati, sewing, computer classes etc. Many women in her area did not leave their homes but having seen what Devuben has achieved, encouraged other women to follow her example. Devuben started a women’s organisation whereby they would come and talk about issues the women are facing. This was being operated with only 13 women from different communities and religion and now they have around 165 women. There were issues ranging from husbands who were addicted to alcohol and gambling to obtaining ration cards and registering birth etc. They would go back to their colony and talk about the support they are receiving to other woman and that is how the awareness was raised.

Devuben does not feel as if she is working, to her, this is her family and life; it is what she enjoys the most. She finds it rewarding and therefore will go out of her comfort zone to support people around her. Devuben’s vision is to be able to offer many slum areas in Ahmedabad the support she has been able to offer over the last 18-years. Increase people’s awareness and responsibility on handling money. She would like to obtain information about the ownership of Guptannagar’s land so residents can purchase where their homes are currently standing. This would help the residents in Vasna to upgrade their homes and have a better long-term future for their families.

Nutan Patel wrote up this story.


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!

Warm regards,

Demian and Jennecke

SAATH Opens Doors to Amdavadis and Foreigners

SAATH held our first Open House event in Vasna and Juhapura, inviting the public to meet residents and see SAATH programs in action.  In attendance were Amdavadis, NGO workers, foreign tourists, students from IIM-Ahmedabad and Mahatma Gandhi International School

SAATH Open House on Jan 9, 2010.

The tour went through all of SAATH’s programs, emphasizing market-based strategies for poverty alleviation and the benefit of integrated services – programs that link together to address poverty on all fronts.  Visitors saw our Umeed youth employment program, Microfinance, Health, Education, Community Video Unit and the Urban Resource Centres that form the hub of our integrated programs.

Visiting the community was a unique and enlightening experience for many attendees. Chris Thompson, a student at IIM-Ahmedabad said, “It’s nice to see field work and the faces of the people SAATH impacts.” Kashish of Mahatma Gandhi International School was moved to action.  “SAATH has done a commendable work for the Juhapura community and it would be a privilege to be able to work with them.”

We hope the event will encourage Amdavadis to get involved as volunteers and citizens, and empower those on the Bottom of the Pyramid. The response was great and we plan to host another Open House soon. Stay Tuned.

At SAATH, our mission is to use market-based strategies to create inclusive societies by empowering India’s urban and rural poor. SAATH has a physical presence in over 50 communities across Gujarat and Rajasthan. Since the very poor often have many needs at once, SAATH has created one-stop centres to link them with education, job training and placement, medical and legal services, and basic infrastructure. 

Click here to see more pictures from Saturday’s visit.