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Jul 11, 2016

How you have changed Soni's life.

Soni in our office to receive her grant
Soni in our office to receive her grant

Soni, a widow, resides in a small hut beside the dirty canal in Topsia. She has to work day and night to meet the expenditure of the family through rag picking. But since the Kolkata Municipal Corporation installed huge compactors around the city, there is much less waste for this vulnerable and marginalised commuity to live off.  These days Soni barely clears 100 - 150  rupees a day (less than £1.40).  Once again food prices are rising in India, placing yet more pressure on society's poorest.

Soni's only son has recently started a small business. He has a sound box with mic which he rents out for special events in the community. In this way, he is able to help his mother. To grow the business, and make a decent living they need to buy a DJ Box with other electronic gadgets which will eventually increase the revenue. They applied for a bank loan but bank rejected their loan request as they are rag pickers and there is no guarantee of income.  Depressed and frustrated they didn't know which way to turn.

In this challenging situation, Global Giving fund came as a sigh of relief for both of them. This fund will help them to grow the business. They got 12000 rupees (£110) with which they will purchase the DJ Box and other electronic gadgets. Now, they are happy. They can earn enough to keep themselves as well as to invest further in the business. Your donation through Global Giving was the game changer in their lives and they never imagined that resources from UK would open the doors for them when the banks in India have shut the doors for them.

Many families have now benefited from this project.   

Total No. of families covered: 72

Total Amount Disbursed: INR 753184 (£8000 approx)

Type of business covered: Cycle rickshaw, cycle van, selling new clothes, cobbler shop, selling female accessories, sewing machine, DJ box with music system, selling fruits, tea stall, jhaal muri selling (popular junk food), vegetable (grocery shop) selling, satoo selling stall, imitation jewellery selling door to door, buying scrap-making and  selling slippers, bangle shop, selling bangles door to door.

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Jun 28, 2016

Feeding Kolkata's most vulnerable

Distributing food in the heart of Topsia
Distributing food in the heart of Topsia

Since the beginning of January Tiljala SHED's generous donors have enabled us to provide a nutritious meal to 450 people in one of the most deprived neighbourhoods in Kolkata.

The Topsia community is a ramshackle collection of shelters and huts perched beside one of Kolkata's nullahs (a polluted drainage canal).  The residents are mostly illiterate manual workers, rickshaw pullers and small traders who live a precarious life on the povetry line.  The children are vulnerable to abuse, crime, malnutrition and disease. The population totalling 1500 families share just two drinking water taps. And the water flows just twice a day.

But every Saturday, thanks to your generosity, the most vulnerable members of this community gather at Tiljala SHED's small community centre to receive your gift of a nutritious lunch.  This is a happy occasion when these families can look forward to a proper meal but also to a reminder that they are not forgotten.

Amna is over 80 years old.  She isn't sure of her age but she does know she is the oldest in the community.  She has no family and depends on the kindness of her neighbours.  Every Saturday, supported on the arm of one of the local lads, she makes her way to collect her lunch. Amna is well known to Tiljala SHED and we ensure that her health is monitored and that she is always on the list for the Saturday lunch.  

Thank you for your generous contribution.  We still need more funds so please tell your friends and family about us.  

The oldest member of the community is helped
The oldest member of the community is helped
Carrying lunch home for the rest of the family
Carrying lunch home for the rest of the family
Apr 14, 2016

Fresh Hope for Salma's Family

Salma's parents take delivery of a new rickshaw
Salma's parents take delivery of a new rickshaw

I met Salma and her family one wet evening towards the end of the monsoon in October 2015.  They live on the street under a shelter made of tarpaulin and other scavenged materials.  It is no more than 2.5 metres long and a metre wide. Salma's mother cooks on a stove on the tiny patch of floor beween the two raised platforms which serve as beds, a sitting area and storage. Salma is14, but she is tiny and her torso is covered by burns from a cooking accident, a common occurence.  She is one of Tiljala SHED's sponsored girls which means that she is supported to attend school and will continue to be supported (as long as funding remains available) until she completes her education.

Salma and her family live under the constant threat of having their home swept away: the owners of the building against which their home rests want to develop their property and have warned Salma's family they'll have to move on in 6 months.   Salma's father is a rickshaw driver and her mother sells fruit from a tray at the side of the road. Watch the video to hear them talk about their lives.  

Tiljala SHED are very keen to help this family as they are particularly vulnerable.  In order to give Salma and her siblings the best chance in life, the family needs help to make itself more financially secure.

So, thanks to your generosity, this week Salma's father took delivery of his own rickshaw.  This means that he no longer has to rent a rickshaw every day in order to ply his trade.  He can choose where and when to work and what kind of loads to carry.  He can even choose to rent the rickshaw out when he is not using it.  Next week Salma's mother will get a handcart which will enable her to sell more products and to take her stall greater distances and to improve her income.  Soon they will be able to pay rent for a home which they can call their own and not live in fear of being thrown onto the street.

Many other families received help from you this week:  Ujala's father also received a new rickshaw;  Halima has a new sewing machine to help her support her family with her tailoring business;  you have helped Arifa's family get back on their feet after her father's business collapsed when his health failed.

Your donations have brought hope to some of Kolkata's most marginalised and forgotten people.

Thank you

Ujala's Father with his new rickshaw
Ujala's Father with his new rickshaw
Thank every one of you who donated
Thank every one of you who donated
Halima with her sewing machine
Halima with her sewing machine

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