Tag Archives: Visit

Youth Force’s outlook fascinates me: Sagar

Sagar Patel worked with Saath as a volunteer in 2010 and since than has become a regular online donor. He is a faithful well – wisher of the organisation and recently visited Saath on 12th February, 2014. He visited the Youth Force programme and given here’s his experience of the visit in his own words.

I recently visited Saath’s Youthforce program at an Odhav center in February 8along with two visitors from the United States. In the past, I had volunteered with Saath, and I now continue to support Saath as a donor. We met with youth who are personally involved in the program. I did not have much background knowledge about the program other than a video which I had seen online about the program. Upon meeting with the students, I found that this is a wonderful, unique program.

Both the Odhav center coordinator and one of the project leaders from the Saath head office were present. They started by giving me some basic background information about the program. After this, I interacted with a group of about 10 members who were living in that area of Ahmedabad. I asked them first how they had benefited from the program, and from this discussion and further questions I came to learn more about the program.

One of the youth described working on a project as a team to clean the riverfront around the Sabarmati River and educate residents about the harmful effects of throwing garbage in the river. Another project which the youth were involved in was creating a community garden area from an area which was previously filled with garbage. This project was something new which no one had done before, and it helped to develop their ability to work as a team in addition to learning new skills. One member talked about how the youth gain leadership skills and experience with public speaking. Some youth had gone out Ahmedabad for the first time to Mumbai for leadership training. One young woman told me that she had always been afraid to travel on a bus and had lost that fear as a result of the program.

7Sagar (rightmost) at the Odhav Youth Force centre

I was quite impressed with the networking opportunities that the youth receive and the confidence and sense of accomplishment which they exhibited. I found the whole concept of this practical education which aims to not just develop new skills to perform a job but also encourages youth to try new things which excite them to be fascinating. Youthforce helps to address an unmet need in an educational system which is focused too much on rote memorization. I will be excited to come back the next time I am back in Ahmedabad to visit the program again.

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A short visit to Saath

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.

IMG_0403Seiko 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.

Seiko Okayama

Visit from Disha Foundation

On the 17th and 18th of January Saath was visited by  a team of 7 people from The Disha Foundation, a Nasik based NGO working on Livelihood, health and related development issues in Nasik district since 2002. The aim of their visit was to observe, understand and learn the various activities of SAATH and to gain insight in real experiences in working with labourers. Given below is their experience of the visit with Saath written by Dr. Kartik Prabhu, Manager Research and Devvelopment, Disha Foundation.

The Disha team arrived at Ahmedabad in the evening on January 16th and visited the office on Jan 17th. We were warmly welcomed by the Research Documentation & Communication Coordinator team sharing their good wishes for the orientation and gave a very informative presentation regarding the activities of SAATH providing all the clarifications inquired by us.

Disha Team visited Umeed Training centre as soon as after the orientation session at the office. We were impressed by the Implementation modalities for the training program designed by the SAATH Team. The methods and steps are very systemic to target the real hard core marginalized communities providing technical support, supervision and monitor the changes whenever required for life term sustainability. We also visited the Saath Microfinance Cooperative on the same day. When we asked a women about the reason for forming saving groups they replied that savings provides a sense of ownership and assets.

New Picture (1) Disha Team interacting with Maheshbhai, Nirman Programme Coordinator

Second day visit enhanced with the association members of SAATH Mr. Divyang
Bhatnagar, CEO( MFI), Niraj Jani, Associate Director(Livelihood Services), Nitesh Oza, Livelihood Manager including Ms. Keren Nazareth, the Executive director of the organization. The Team then visited Urban Resource Centre, Vasna. The warm and rousing welcome given by the Youth Force at the Urban Resource Centre has etched an indelible impression on hearts of the Team members. The visit was organised for holding interactive sessions with the members of URC and the Youth Force, including the women folk on Training and Motivation services enhanced by SAATH.

New Picture (3)Disha Team interacting with Urban Resource Centre and Youth Force team

Conclusion

Overall the entire team felt this visit as an learning experience. We felt that the philosophy and practice of SAATH encompassing community cutting across class, caste and religion is unique and emblematic.

SAATH: As a special purpose vehicle have a very strong and effective autonomous organizational structure having equal number of Technical Team of young professionals willing to work in far flung rural areas, having close interaction with the community. They mobilize and help the community in preparation of plans, assessment, and selection & designing of appropriate cost effective activities, best suited to their need. Their roles are well defined. Management of services being shouldered by community itself and local level
solutions have been put in place which is cost effective, effective and rapid.
We would like to replicate similar activities in our own community as we deeply felt that the initiatives of SAATH can impact up on many lives. We were overwhelmed by the mass support, collective strength and temporal democratic paragons of SAATH which have permeated from top to bottom.

The field visit was a miracle and highly satisfactory for the Disha team. Based on this, we would like to convey our deep sensitive thanks to all the staff members for sharing their experience and managing requirements during the field visit.
We would like also to express our sincere thanks to Mr. Kunal Patel and Ms. Jenny Parekh for their supportive coordination from the beginning of the visit and their effort in arranging the visit.

New Picture (5)Disha Team with Youth Force members

Testimonials from Participants

Dr. Karthik Prabu, said, “Our experience in SAATH was entirely different. SAATH encompasses community from all religions and thus symbolizes the democratic system of India. We appreciate the entire procurement activities of SAATH under URC. Also it is amazing to see how people transformed themselves into a confidence hub in their career just with bold determination and collective strength. I also appreciate the Training education programs in SAATH.”

Mr. Kiran Kale,  Coordinator at Disha opined, “There are many things to learn from SAATH as it is working with a view to increase income and employment among the community and this is indeed a learning process for me“.

Ms. Rekha Sable, Assisstant MIRC Facilitator, Disha said “Visit to SAATH Organization was a real learning experience for us. We are keen to explore the possibility of replicating the Training model in our foundation”.

Visit Experience of Dan and Hannah from Global Giving

Last month in August two volunteers from Global Giving UK, Dan and Hannah visited Saath. They visited Saath on 12th August 2013 and stayed with us till 16th August.  As per our earlier conversation, their main focus was Saath’s Education Programme Child Friendly Spaces (CFS)” and help us in understanding and using the Global Giving portal more effectively to raise funds for our programmes on the portal.

Picture 039Dan and Hannah with our RDC team member Jenny

While in the beginning they were more focused on the CFS programme, but after getting to know about our different programmes, they showed interest in visiting our other education programme called Balghar. They visited one of our 7 Balghars in the Juhapura area and interacted with the children and our coordinator, Ms. Sanjidaben who is working with our organisation from last 11 years. They asked questions with an aim to get a thorough idea about Balghars and get field level workers’ focus and what encourages them to work for the community people.

After that Dan and Hannah focused on the working of the CFS programme thoroughly. They took information Saath’s HR Policies, Account Policies, etc. They met the programme coordinator Mr. Niraj Jani. Dan and Hannah visited our construction site classes like Devnandan Suprememe – Vastral, Swaminarayan Park –Naroda and Umang Lambha classes and also 2 of our slum based classes situated at Khodiyarnagar area. They interacted with children by asking their experience at classes and also asked questions to the centre coordinators to know about their experience with Saath, how long they are working, what encourages them for working with these children, what is their main focus while teaching, what strategies are used while teaching to different age group of children, how many children are enrolled in formal education, how drop out children are contacted again etc.

Picture 108Dan and Hannah at our Umang Lambha CFS center

The last day was for discussing the fundraising techniques, important guidelines for promoting project, which are the things which we can change to improve our project, the organization detailed working strategies and implementation techniques are discussed. Here’s their experience with Saath in their own words:

Dan Sheridan: “The CFS program is doing a great job at the construction sites and the hosting by Saath was amazing. The teachers and the coordinator were extremely informative and the community very welcoming.”

Hannah Sainsbury: “We had a really good time. It’s been very interesting and we hope that we’ve been useful. The staff has been really helpful and very friendly and we really enjoyed the field visits seeing CFS in action.”

The visit has been really helpful to Saath and we are positive that now we will be able to effectively promote our programmes through Global Giving. Many thanks to Dan and Hannah and to Global Giving for sending them.

If you want to see our Global Giving profile do click on the Global GIving link given on the top right side of the page beneath the calender.

aProCh – Creating a Child Friendly City

aProCh – ‘a Protagonist in every Child’ is a citywide initiative started by The Riverside School (www.schoolriverside.com) (www.aproch.org) to make Ahmedabad India’s first Child Friendly City. aProCh believes in ‘designing for’ and the ‘nurturing of’ Childhood. aProCh has recently partnered with Saath for its children studying in Child Friendly Spaces. As per this in all the activities that aProCh is going to organize children from Saath’s education programmes will also participate so that these underprivileged children can get exposure to the places outside their areas.

aProch has many initiative, one of which is ‘Parents of the Park’. It is an initiative where children experience “childhood”. Once a week, the municipality offers the park for children. During this time children engage in activities that enable them to have positive childhood scripting. The most recent event was onthe 30th June at Parimal Garden. 60 children from Saath’s two CFS centres went to the park. At the Garden, Story Telling, Art and Craft Workshops, Magic Shows and other creative activities were there to transport children into the beautiful world of imagination, curiosity and creativity. Various experts in their fields were called for making the park alive. IMG_0739 IMG_0755

Story Telling  of the story ‘The Hawker and the Monkeys’

 

 

 

 

Children enjoying       Magic Show

 

 

Another initiative is the Movie’ing experience. Based on the belief that ‘From to whom much is GIVEN, much is EXPECTED‘ this initiative humbly asks the City’s multiplex theaters, corporates and citizens to open its spaces and hearts for the underprivileged children of the city. aProCh will invite 150  underprivileged children every month to see popular cinema and enjoy a thrilling Multiplex experience. For this on the 16th of July 70 children from Saath’s 3 CFS centres were taken by aProCh to Gandhinagar for the screening of the movie ‘Policegiri’ which the children enjoyed immensely as for most of the children it was their first opportunity to go to a theater to watch a movie. IMG_1489 IMG_1510

Children at the Theater

 

 

 

 

Children dancing in front of the screen at the movie

Saath is very much thankful to aProCh for giving these experience to the children who are getting an amazing exposure and also we look forward to  all the activities that we will do together in the future.We will keep on updating to you about the upcoming events.

Also for more pictures for these you can visit our facebook page.