Author: Tished

Alternative Livelihoods for 500 Rag Picker Families

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This project will help 500 of Kolkata’s most vulnerable families to lift themselves out of poverty and provide a better future for their children. Tiljala Shed will provide seed funding, advice, vocational and business skills training for rag picker families, rickshaw pullers and others living in the city’s most deprived slums and squatter camps.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

Surveys show that the urban poor of Kolkata exist on just 27p per day. Of the 70,000 living in illegal shelters beside sewers and railway lines, most are rag pickers, rickshaw pullers or pieceworkers. Illiterate and without ration or voter ID cards they have no voice and cannot break out of the cycle of poverty.

How will this project solve this problem?

We will provide seed funding and training for artisans and entrepreneurs, help them access markets and trading associations. We will help rag pickers and rickshaw pullers through training, advocacy with the authorities and with funding to help them purchase their own vehicles. We will provide incentives for families to keep their children in school and out of the workplace through sponsorship and livelihood training. We will help all families apply for voter ID cards and access to govt help.

Potential Long Term Impact

Tiljala Shed will provide the necessary training and funding to lift 500 of the poorest families in Kolkata out of poverty. Through our interventions, the adults will be equipped to make a better living and their children will stay in education to ensure that the next generation has an opportunity to benefit from India’s growing economy.

Funding Information

Total Funding Received to Date: £11,664
Remaining Goal to be Funded: £40,466
Total Funding Goal: £52,130

Additional Documentation

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This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).

Educate Destitute Girls in Kolkata, India.

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This project empowers girls from very poor families to avoid early marriage and a life of extreme poverty, illiteracy, childbearing, abuse and drudgery. A sponsored girl remains in school and goes on to further education or vocational training. Educated and with financial independence she can delay marriage, is empowered to make decisions for herself and to support herself and her family.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

To be born poor and female in India is to have a very bad start in life: between ages 1 and 4 girls have a 61% higher mortality rate than boys; the school drop out rate in adolescent girls is 63.5%; and 45% of girls in India marry before the age of 18. These 15 girls are from very poor families and all are in danger of dropping out of education and being married off early – only to perpetuate the cycle of drudgery, childbirth and illiteracy suffered by their own mothers.

How will this project solve this problem?

To be a sponsored girl means she will remain in education. She’ll receive all the necessary additional tuition to help her gain qualifications. Her books, uniform and stationery will be supplied. She’ll have health care, computer training, dance lessons and educational outings. She will have access to our own girls’ library and resource centre and she’ll be monitored and mentored by our staff. Her family receive a small monthly stipend. She’ll be proud to be a sponsored girl.

Potential Long Term Impact

By staying in education a sponsored girl gains the qualifications she needs to become financially independent. With economic power comes the ability to make life choices for herself. She can delay or even decide against marriage. She can earn a living and build up her savings. She is in control of her health and can make informed and healthy choices for her own children. Our sponsored girls from the last 20 years are pillars of the community and a shining example to the rest.

A Weekly Meal For 450 Ragpickers In Kolkata India

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This project provides a nutritious hot meal every Saturday lunch time for 450 people in the Topsia squatter community in Central East Kolkata. These people live in makeshift shelters beside an open sewer; they live by collecting, sorting and selling waste from Kolkata’s streets. They are illiterate, malnourished and live, shunned, on the margins of society. A weekly meal not only provides nourishment, but also shows that there are some beyond their world who care. It is a happy occasion.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?
The 1500 families in this community share two drinking water taps – and the water runs just twice a day. They have no private toilet facilities. The well water is contaminated from the open sewer that runs alongside the settlement. These people earn a meagre living through rag picking or working in exploitative chappal (sandal) factories. Few of the children attend school and all are vulnerable to disease, child labour and abuse.

How will this project solve this problem?
Providing clean safe drinking water and dignified toilet facilities are a priority for Tiljala SHED and we are working towards this. Meanwhile we can make life just a little easier for the most vulnerable individuals in this community by providing safe and nutritious food once a week.

Potential Long Term Impact
By bringing these vulnerable people in once a week and providing a nutritious hot meal, we are establishing relationships within the community and a level of trust which will enable us to make long term and permanent improvements. Clean water, toilet facilities and a health centre are planned. With good health and education these children will have the opportunity to make more of their lives and leave the squatter camps to engage fully in India’s growing economy. This is the first step.

Funding Information
Total Funding Received to Date: £3,598
Remaining Goal to be Funded: £1,602
Total Funding Goal: £5,200

A Weekly Meal for 450 Ragpickers in Kolkata India