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Jan 30, 2019

How you are helping Parveen


Parveen is 25 years old.  She has five children and was recently widowed.  She lives in a shack beside the railway tracks close to Park Circus Station in Central Kolkata.

Parveen supports her family by rag picking.  She goes out into central Kolkata between10:30 pm and 5:30 am and scours the streets and bins for any dry solid waste (cardboard, paper, plastics and metal) that she can sell on to a dealer.  Typically she earns 200 rupees ($3) a day (and often less).   Since her husband died she has been unable to pay rent on her shelter and has fallen 3 months in arrears. The family risks being turned out onto the street.  Her oldest child, Simran, ought to be in school, but Parveen needs her at home to help with the smaller children and look after them whilst she is out collecting waste.

Parveen is in crisis: she doesn't know where to turn.  But thanks to you and this project, we can help get Parveen and her children back on their feet.  Your generous donations mean that we can provide Parveen with a weekly food parcel. This will include all dry rations - rice, flour, dal, salt, sugar - as well as fruit and vegetables, eggs and milk.  With enough food to feed the family, she won't have to go out rag picking at night. Simran will return to school and the whole family will have a much needed health check.

Once things have settled, we will start to work with Parveen to prepare her to take up vocational training and to set up a small business of her own under our very successful Livelihood Programme.  Over the last 3 years nearly 400 former rag pickers have turned their lives around by taking a small microloan to start a small business.  Read about the programme here. 

So please consider a special donation today.  I was with Parveen just last week and her situation is critical.  But hers is not the only needy family. We desperately need funds to help get very vulnerable families through difficult times.  

Thank you as ever for your generosity

Last week with all 5 children
Last week with all 5 children


Jan 15, 2019

"Thank you" from Shehnaz

Shehnaz "Thank you"
Shehnaz "Thank you"

To grow up the child of a rag picker puts you among one of the most marginalised and despised groups in society. Even within the slum where you live, you are at the back of the queue for water. In a highly stratified society you are right at the bottom. Shehnaz’s mother is a ragpicker. She supports her family of six by collecting cardboard, plastic, paper and metal waste from the streets and selling in on to dealers.
Unlike many other rag pickers Shehnaz’s mother wants her children to stay away from child labour and to get an education. All the children except Shehnaz’s disabled 6 year old brother attend school. We admitted Shehnaz to this programme because her mother couldn’t afford to pay for the additional tuition necessary for her daughter to pass her exams. Since then Shehnaz has passed her class X and is happily studying in class XI. With your support and her hard work she will pass class XII next year and have the opportunity to go into higher education.

I am particularly excited that I’ll be able to meet Shehnaz and all the other girls on this programme next week when I’ll be in Kolkata to catch up on all Tiljala SHED’s projects. So watch this space for up to date news.

Meanwhile Shehnaz and her family send a special thank you to our GlobalGiving donors and wish you a Happy New Year.

Dec 12, 2018

Purnima puts daughter through nursing college

Purnima's Tea Stall
Purnima's Tea Stall

A case study from the field:

Purnima, 45 yrs old, was a rag picker in Topsia canal side settlement (Mazdoorpara). Life was difficult and full of struggle and hardship. She was involved in rag picking with her husband and used to earn an average of Rs.200-250 per day. ( $2.80 - $3.60 or £2.70 - £3.00 a day)

She has 2 daughters & 1 son. She took a loan of Rs.10,000/ initially to start a small tea stall where she used to sell tea and biscuits with her husband. She successfully repaid in 10 months without any delay. She earned the respect and also the chance of getting another loan. She took another loan of Rs.20,000/ and time she had extensive plan to expand her business. She introduced Paratha, Googni (popular traditional breakfast in India), along with fruits. Since her tea stall was close to bus stand, many of the bus and truck drivers came as her valuable customers. Tea and snacks was already giving her profit. She is repaying on time.

She is now earning an average of Rs.800 to 1000 per day. With the money she earns she admitted her daughter into a Nursing institution where she got her training as a nurse. She completed her training successfully and is now working with Flaming Hospital as a nurse and contributing to her family.

Since this very successful project began in April 2016, 371 small loans have been made to rag pickers and other destitute women. Of these 33 have been so successful that, like Purnima, they have been able to take out a second loan to expand their businesses further.  

Over the entire project the repayment rate is 98.7%.  This is a tribute not only to the beneficiaries themselves but also to Mita and the rest of the Tiljala SHED staff who are managing the project so well.

There are 100 women waiting to set up small businesses of their own.  All we need to be able to help these 100 women is the funds to lend to them. Please consider a special donation this holiday season.  £200 would help a woman like Purnima set up a small business and enable her to keep her children in education.  It is almost unheard of for a rag picker family to be able to send a child to college.  A small loan helps a family to help itself and to transform its future.

Wishing you a very happy holiday season

From all the staff and beneficiaries at Tiljala SHED

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