Dear Kranti Supporters & Friends,
I hope all of you are well. We are busy as always, and our housing project is one thing that is very time consuming but will take years to produce results. But every time that I am out and about in Mumbai, I see hundreds of new skyscrapers which are either just being built or still lying empty. So we have decided on a new tactic – we plan to ask 10,000 people (builders, wealthy individuals) in Mumbai to donate a flat or two. Also, there are many hip, upcoming areas of Mumbai which used to be industrial areas and are now teeming with boutiques shops, nice cafes, high-end design/retail and entertainment venues. One such place is Café Zoe, which used to be an old mill and is now one of Mumbai’s best-known café/bars. Inspired by Café Zoe, we have decided to also seek an old abandoned building to make Kranti’s new home/business.
So once we start our hunt for the perfect building, what next? What do we say when face-to-face with a building owner?? The past month we have been working hard to create a small booklet which explains everything about Kranti: our mission, our goals, our needs. This booklet is in its final drafts, and we are printing 10,000 copies to distribute ALL over Mumbai! I’m uploading the latest copy of this booklet, and if anyone has any inputs, edits or ideas, please share them! We would love to hear from you, our supporters who will make this home possible. But please rest assured we are working hard and thinking daily about how to tackle the housing issue. You can help us by taking a look at our booklet, sharing your ideas and connecting us with anyone who might be able to help. Again, we are grateful for your support the past year and look forward to working with you in the upcoming years – let’s make Kranti’s home a reality!!
Warm regards, Robin
Every time we feel we might be making progress on purchasing land or finding a flat to buy, we experience some kind of setback or failure. But we are learning from each of these ‘failures’.The most recent: a wonderful bungalow advertised in a local paper, which had left an additional zero off the end of the price. This made a substantial difference, so we didn’t even look at the place. We thought it was too good to be true, and it was! Through these failures, we have also come up with new ideas and networked with individuals who can offer guidance and support in the real estate market. We recently presented at the Urban Poverty workshop, held at the Dutch Design Workspace, and the leader of the organization has been an amazing mentor and connected us with some realtors in addition to helping us think about possible solutions for our sustainability models. Thinking outside the box, we are even considering separating our non-profit and for-profit ventures by location, but our estimated fund raising needs are at least $300,000 in addition to our current savings.
In November, Kranti took a three week trip to Kashmir and Ladakh. In addition to learning about the Kashmir conflict and trekking in the mountains of Ladakh, we spent time at SECMOL (Students’ Education and Cultural Movement of Ladakh), which is a self-sustainable school. We learned a lot about environmentally friendly designs and enjoyed time with the students. In addition to taking part in daily chores and lessons, our Revolutionaries also led workshops on gender & sexuality and sex education for SECMOL’s students.
This summer was an exciting time as our Revolutionaries had many opportunities to share Kranti’s Social Justice Curriculum throughout India and Nepal. One of the Revolutionaries, Aparna, taught a series of sex education workshops for teenage girls at our partner NGO Project Crayons.
And we are happy to announce that her sex education class was not only shared with the youth of Project Crayons but also made international news! Via the NY Times and NDTV, Aparna was able to educate and inform the world about her ideas of safe sex, clear up misconceptions about pregnancy and menstruation, and discuss the hardships sex workers face when getting medical treatment. Please follow the link to read the article and watch Aparna's honest and candid lesson about sex education. http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/meet-aparna-mumbais-teenage-sex-educator/
Two of our Revolutionaries had an opportunity to volunteer and travel alone to various schools and NGOs. Laxmi volunteered at a rural school in Nepal—Maya Universe Academy—teaching Art and English to children. While Shweta, who passed her 12th board exams last spring and is currently taking a gap year, also traveled to Nepal, where she taught English to Buddhist monks and sex education to Nepali girls. Both Laxmi and Shweta returned return home in early August; Laxmi started 11th standard in arts, and Shweta took a few days to study for the TOEFL exam before departing for Jharkhand, where she volunteering with the Gender Resource Center in the city of Ranchi for the remainder of the month.
In August, Kranti partnered with a master’s level class at Mumbai’s Academy of Architecture, and our girls presented to the class and led small group discussions. The class is working in groups on different aspects of system design related to Kranti’s current space and planning for our future home. It was a very exciting experience for our girls, and we are looking forward to critiquing the students’ projects next month!
Kranti's search for land continues in Mumbai, a city with the one of the most expensive real estate markets in the world.
As we search for our future location, we are enjoying our time in the current flat, where we have secured the lease for one more year.
This week, we held the first Staff vs. Revolutionaries Field Day, which included an egg drop challenge. Both teams' eggs survived the fall from the 9th floor of the building! After many mental and physical challenges, with the scores for each teams tied, the day culminated with an intense game of capture the flag. Holding out for a tie breaker, we got so wrapped up that we didn't realize our water--which only comes on for a few hours in the mornings and evenings--was running and flooding our flat upstairs! We were greeted with water covering the main floors, so, in the end, the staff and revolutionaries worked together to clean the mess and prepare for dinner.
It's been a summer full of camps and educational excursions. The girls left this morning for their final summer adventure--a week-long camping adventure in the jungle. They will be doing all kinds of outdoor activities and have an opportunity to camp under the stars, far outside the lights of Mumbai.
Kranti welcomed a new Revolutionary to our home and family! Sheetal is 17 years old and she has come at the most exciting time. With many educational activities on the agenda and her firecracker personality she has settled right in with our other Revolutionaries!
In our last report we told we about Jaaga, an innovative architectural innovative the Kranti family visited and met.
Jaaga is a rack supported building. It is built primarily from heavy duty warehouse shelving components called pallet racks. Meant for supporting pallets of heavy material at multiple levels in a warehouse the pallet rack uprights support loads of 4 tons each and the beams support loads of 1.5 tons per pair. Pallet racks are readily available all over the planet. They can be assembled and modified easily with out the need of cranes or any other special equipment. In the Jaaga designs the buildings are free standing and do not require a significant foundation.
Jaaga agreed to design a pallet rack building for Kranti's too. This will be an eco-friendly building using solar energy to power lights, it will recycle water, have a compost pit and be insulated with a layer of vegetation on the outside. This building will also house Kranti's feminist cafe and bookstore, the profits of which will feed into our non-profit work of empowering marginalised women, and pushing us towards self-sustainability.
The designs have now come through and attached here for your eyes only!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.