At present the Centre is carrying out the following projects:
1 Four Schools for Slum and Street Children in Jaipur
India has the highest number of infant mortality or children dying below the age of five due to disease and malnutrition as well as highest number of child labor in the world, even higher than sub-Saharan Africa, and high levels of illiteracy. Parents don’t send children to school because they prefer them to work to get income. Girls are especially not sent to school or have to drop out as they have to work at home, fetch water and firewood and look after the animals. Due to unemployment in village’s families are migrating to live in slums in cities like Jaipur in Rajasthan province which is one of the less economically developed
Most of the slum communities are lowest or very low caste and our schools work with them. We also work with poor Muslim community who do not like to send the girls to school due to religious reasons. We have a school for Muslim slum girls
When we have more funds we plan to organize vocational training for the older children so that they can learn skills to get employment
First school is in Valmiki Colony slum, Jyoti nagar which is inhabited by harijan or lowest caste untouchable community. The school has about 40 children. Second one is in Tonk Phatak J.D.A Park, consisting of street children from the Bavaria lower scheduled caste. Some children are engaged in recycling plastic and working in tea shops. The school has about 30 children. Third school is under the Bais Godam bridge where the children live, which consists of mainly of Kanjar low scheduled caste and also some gadia lohar nomadic community. There are about 20-25 children coming to our school. Many children have been persuaded by us to give up begging. The fourth school is in welcome colony slum Katipura road. The community is made up of poor muslims. Here about 25 girls plus about 12 boys also attend school.
There are more or less 120 children in total. We provide one simple meal in the schools. Our approach is community based so we raise community awareness, give support like water supply and provision of water tank, medical support and we protest against police harassment. We have also set up women’s groups to discuss issues and find ways to help.
Apart from basic education we are also trying to focus on human values and psycho-social development of the children by providing loving and playful environment, building self esteem and dignity, by developing values like equality, compassion, peace, respect for the environment and creating more choices and hope in their future. We are trying to do this by songs, stories, games and affection of the teachers. We are trying to collect and develop appropriate teaching methods and aids
2 Children’s Rights Forum
The Forum has been initiated to network and bring together concerned individuals and organizations to clarify, develop understanding and advocate on issues of children’s rights in Rajasthan province. Relevant research will also be taken up. A meeting was organized on 20 November 2007 to build awareness and develop a memorandum of demands with the agreement of major civil society groups in Rajasthan and these demands were presented to the Chief Minister. A meeting of leading NGO’s was organized by us at the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur in November 2008 to discuss the Rajasthan Government’s Child Policy, and suggest improvements in it. In another meeting of NGO’s network on children’s issues, the director of ADC was requested to be one of the two advisers to the network
3. Women’s Empowerment and Training.
Women groups have been formed to provide space for them to articulate their problems and to inform them about possibilities of change and about their rights. We encourage them to send children to school. Many issues are related to (1) Women and children’s health particularly gynecological problems (2) Domestic violence and abuse by drunk husbands.(3) Great need is felt by women to learn skills to generate more income
We organize training for women to develop capabilities to generate income or at least enable them to make products at home for the family. First training in sewing a month was conducted in sewing at Valmiki colony attended by 12 women. The second training was organized also for a month in Nindar Village 20 km for Jaipur for scheduled caste women numbering 15 who learnt to make food products like papad and mangodi. Now we are organizing training in tailoring for the slum women at 2 centres
4. Inter- Cultural Understanding Project
We try to promote Inter-cultural understanding through the awareness of local culture, responsible tourism and more authentic human and grass roots contact for the foreign students and tourists, including voluntary work to help the deprived. For this purpose we organize workshops on 1 Indian Culture 2 Social change and current issues 3 Responsible Tourism which is culturally and ecologically sensitive, pro poor by favouring local economy and leads to authentic contact and understanding between cultures
We give foreign students and tourists opportunities to work in our schools and inform them about possibilities elsewhere. A group form Kansai Gadai University , Osaka , Japan consisting of three students and two professors visited to do a workshop with us and help in our schools. Another group of 8 students and 3 coordinators from Community Service Volunteers U.K visited us for a week to do workshops and work in our schools
We organized a meeting of leading academics, Gandhians, citizens and members of different religious communities in Jaipur to discuss the subject : Mahatma Gandhi and Intercultural Understanding. The director of ADC was the chairman of the session
5. Research, Documentation and Book Writting Project
Research will be focused on subjects related to our projects as well as on Redefining Development as Well-being and Social Progress.
Two book writting projects on 1 Children's Rights 2 Responsible Tourism, are being undertaken.
6. Redefining Development and Social Progress Forum
Economic growth, GDP and purely economic indicators of development have neither alleviated poverty and brought about social
justice nor do they capture the multidimensional nature of development. The Forum has been initiated to redefine development
in terms of well-being, meaningful happiness, social justice, environmental sustainability, peoples participation, peace and social
harmony, social accounting and audit and desirable cultural and spiritual values.
The well-being and voice of the poor and the excluded always comes first and
their participations and stake in the system is crucial.
The Forum through a network of scholars, civil society activists and informed persons
is concerned with suggesting new and alternative concepts of development and social progress as well as their applicability
in the form of measures, indicators and accounting systems.
Efforts are being made to spread public awareness about this approach and also to influence policy making.
7. Proposed Ecovillage in Pushkar
In the future we plan to design and set up a ecovillage in Pushkar, Rajasthan .As far as possible we will have organic farming, alternative energy ,recycling of water and waste ,rain water harvesting and construction including a guest house by using ecological material. We also hope to set up a poor women farmer’s cooperative, organic food restaurant and a botanical garden. It is hoped that the ecovillage will become a small model where workshops, training and environmental education can be organized Income from guest house will be used for education and other projects We already have land and an expert from Findhorn ecovillage in UK has shown interest . We need volunteers with some experience or willingness to learn and we need to raise funds to set up the infra-structure