Swechha-We for Change Foundation

Swechha is a movement - a consensus among people about the nature of society, its problems, and possible ways to work towards positive change. We are a youth-run, youth-focused NGO operating from Delhi, India, engaged in the issues of environment and social development. We work with and through young people from all walks of life in order to raise awareness and bring about change. For us, 'change' means a transformation in the attitude of the masses, in their perceptions, and simultaneously in the environment - both social and human. We provide support, guidance and a platform for people to 'be the change' themselves. We have three cross-cutting focus areas which run throughout all our pro...

Swechha-We for Change Foundation
B 1/46, Third Floor
Malviya Nagar
New Delhi, Delhi 110017
India
+91-11-46113627
http://www.swechha.in

Founder and Executive Director

Vimlendu Jha

Management Team

Sunny Verma, Vimlendu Jha, Neha Pradhan Arora, Andrew Milroy, Anuradha Gupta, Tanu Shree, Vanessa Spencer

Board of Directors

Rajeev Singh, Priya Das, Vimlendu Jha, Sunny Verma, Farhad Vania, Kamlika Chandla, Lopamudra Sanyal, Arjun Khanna, Kuriakose Varghese, Vimlendu Jha, Neha Pradhan Arora, Andrew Milroy, Anuradha Gupta, Tanu Shree, Vanessa Spencer

Mission

Swechha is a movement - a consensus among people about the nature of society, its problems, and possible ways to work towards positive change. We are a youth-run, youth-focused NGO operating from Delhi, India, engaged in the issues of environment and social development. We work with and through young people from all walks of life in order to raise awareness and bring about change. For us, 'change' means a transformation in the attitude of the masses, in their perceptions, and simultaneously in the environment - both social and human. We provide support, guidance and a platform for people to 'be the change' themselves. We have three cross-cutting focus areas which run throughout all our programmes and activities: environment and education, youth and civil society and active citizenship. Environment and education: Swechha started life as the 'We for Yamuna' campaign in 2000, launched by a student volunteer activist group, motivated to do something about the pitiable state of Delhi's lifeline river The river has been neglected, despite being a vital source of almost all of Delhi's water needs. Our activities have since expanded - Swechha became a fully-fledged NGO in 2001 to cover more and more environmental issues affecting India. By educating people on environmental issues and life skills, we believe we can change mindsets, ignite sparks and get people to act and be involved in their communities. Youth and civil society: Young people are the future leaders of society and have the power to change how development happens. 40% of India's population is under 35 - we believe the key lies in getting this massive human resource to understand the world and their role in it as agents of change. If youth take a stand together, civil society as a whole will listen and move forward. Active citizenship: Through our environment and education programmes, our ultimate aim is to make people realise their potential as socially and environmentally-responsible individuals. We want to encourage people to think before they act, and to be involved in the communities in which they live, so that together we can all bring about change for a better, cleaner and healthier society. We hope to instill in all individuals the idea that citizenship is not just about belonging to a particular nation state, but is about responsibility, partnership, participation and action. Objectives: - Our main objective as a movement is to re-establish a connection with the environment as a whole among the people of Delhi and beyond. - We aim to encourage and assist young people to become socially and environmentally responsible individuals through education, awareness, and support. - We want to make volunteering a mainstream activity for young people from all walks of life in India. Approach Many of the problems Swechha tackles stem from indifference and apathy. Consequently, Swechha strives to inspire individual and collective action, using awareness, communication, training and advocacy as primary tools. We believe that exposure and empowerment, especially at a young age, can dilute the apathy that many feel when it comes to acting on social and environmental injustices. The next generation should not be bystanders that silently watch the problems of their community, their country, and their world get worse. We use a variety of methods such as experiential learning, street plays, games and films to disseminate knowledge and further participatory development. We aspire to keep our approaches innovative; and through our staff's contagious excitement, we hope to continue to grow as an organization that successfully empowers people. By engaging people in activities that sustain and strengthen human values of community, we work to create a stronger society. Swechha is made up of professionals, consultants, volunteers, students and interns from various fields and origins. Our journey continues through new campaigns, yatras, action projects, field exposures, community initiatives, plantations, music, theatre and more. "An organization of young people has its advantages and disadvantages. Most people think that wisdom comes with age, but we don't have any grey hair yet. Even so, we see ourselves as a strong people's organization. We definitely have gone beyond just being a campaign and are a recognized organization today. The Yamuna River and the environment are our immediate concerns, but the larger call is to get young people to participate in the community, and not just be fence sitters. Struggles are many but our spirits are high." - Vimlendu Jha, Founder & Executive Director, Swechha - We for Change Foundation Over the last decade, we have touched over 60 million people. A wide range of media coverage has helped us increase our outreach even more - Swechha was one of the 6 organizations to be featured on CNN International for its special one year series 'Be the Change' (www.cnn.com/bethechange) in 2008. We are also forging international connections - in 2009 we started working with Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), who support some of our active citizenship programmes and provide us with long-term international volunteers. For the past decade, we have worked closely with more than 72 national and international organizations. Some of them are UNDP, UNV, American Center, Dept. of Environment and Forest Govt. of Delhi, Nokia Siemens Networks, NDTV, The British Council, European Union, University of Wisconsin, Rhode Island School of Design, Dreamtime Circus San Francisco, Grassroots International, Vasant Valley School, Sri Ram Schools, VSO India and Oxfam India.

Programs

Swechha strives to inspire action by using awareness, communication, training and advocacy as primary tools. We believe that exposure and empowerment, especially at a young age, can dilute the apathy that many feel when it comes to acting on social and environmental injustices. We use a variety of methods such as experiential learning, street plays, games and films to disseminate knowledge and further participatory development. We have three cross-cutting focus areas which run throughout all our programmes and activities: - Environment and Education - Youth and Civil Society - Active Citizenship Key Swechha programs are: Pagdandi Pagdandi was conceptualised in 2007 with an open-air school run on the banks of the River Yamuna at Kudsia Ghat. It has now developed into a regular informal school run by Swechha volunteers for children of Jagdamba Camp, a slum community in Sheikh Sarai, South Delhi since November 2009. We aim to integrate and inspire underprivileged children through sessions on life skills, environmental responsibility and active citizenship, an interactive library (Kitaab Ghar), film screenings and excursions, children festivals and performing arts. The Right to Education campaign is an important element of Pagdandi, through which we strive to secure admission in government schools for slum children who are missing out on formal education. For the wider community in which the children live, we run initiatives such as job hunts for adults and health camps. Volunteers form the backbone of Pagdandi and all the above activities are facilitated by them. It brings together volunteers from diverse fields ranging from college students to corporate professionals. The program has impacted the lives of 200 children from Jagdamba Camp and more than 150 volunteers have supported the program. www.pagdandi.weebly.com CYON Connecting Youth Organisations Nationwide, is a collaborative platform aimed at bringing together and adding value to all youth-led and youth-centered organizations and enterprises across India. CYON's vision encompasses mentoring newly formed youth groups, sharing, creating and developing resources between members on issues like volunteering, active citizenship and other developmental concerns. Influence Influence is an opportunity to enhance and diversify experiences of India's young people with internships at some of India's most noted NGOs and an avenue to learn new things, meet like-minded people, travel with them, learn from them. Selected participants are given the opportunity to receive mentoring and support for an environmental action idea through Influence Fellowships, and a group of experienced Influence volunteers are chosen for the I-Engage rural exposure camp in order to witness environmental issues in communities first-hand and to formulate action plans. Bridge the Gap Our school program addresses vital issues related to the environment and citizenship with some of the leading schools of the capital. Swechha's innovative curriculum does not "teach" young learners but learns and invents ways to work with them on issues that concern us and the world we live in. The curriculum has been successfully running in some of the leading public schools of Delhi and 8 government schools reaching out to more than 10,000 students. Brake-Even Brake-Even is Swechha's short-term outreach programme for schools and other educational institutions eager to engage with issues related to the environment, life skills and citizenship, as a way of creating awareness and ownership of our social and physical environment. Monsoon Wooding This program provides volunteers with a simple and hands-on way to green a choking Delhi. With rapid economic development, the city's infrastructure is changing and as many as 300 more cars are added to Delhi's roads every day. As a result, the old green trees are being felled. Through Monsoon Wooding we hope to breathe life into this city by planting, promoting and protecting trees during and after the monsoon months. From getting covered in mud during plantations, to climbing trees at market places to de-nail them, the Monsoon Wooding campaign is a platform that brings together all lovers of trees to come and execute their ideas of greening the planet. In the past, Monsoon Wooding has actively collaborated with the Ministry of Environment and Forests to help the government further the cause of greening Delhi. Green the Gap GtG is a recycled textiles project set up by Swechha, but now registered as a separate trading entity, as a way of raising awareness on environmental issues and providing secure employment with reasonable wages for disadvantaged people. By reusing waste in innovative ways to create high quality, useful products, GtG empowers consumers to make choices about their shopping habits. www.greenthegap.com

Statistics on Swechha-We for Change Foundation

Financial Statistics

  • Annual Budget for 2010: $235,000
  • Maximum Annual Budget: $235,000
  • Other funding sources: 40% INGOs, 35% individual donors, 25% corporations
  • Religious Affiliation: None