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Sep 14, 2018

How you helped Nek change her family's fortunes

Nek and her husband
Nek and her husband

Nek lives in a shelter on a narrow strip of land running through one of Kolkata’s “canals” – they are in fact open sewers. She is 35 years old, a mother of five and lives with her husband and four of the children.
She and her husband have a small tailoring business but they have struggled to support their large family on the Rs200 (£2.13, $2.80, Eur2.38) they managed to earn each day. Nek says “Sometimes we used to go to sleep hungry”.

Last December, Nek applied for a loan under Tiljala SHED’s Alternative Livelihood programme. With the Rs20,000 (£213, $2.80, Eur238) she bought a new sewing machine and an overlocker machine. She and her husband have been able to improve their efficiency with these new machines and now earn Rs500 per day. This has made a huge impact on family life and prospects for the whole family.
• They can eat regular nutritious meals. “We eat fish or chicken 4 days a week” says Nek. This is considered a ”privileged meal” within the community
• They can purchase new clothes occasionally, especially for festivals (an important tradition in which the ultra-poor are unable to enjoy)
• Nek has started saving a little money each month
• She has purchased her own electricity meter
• She is keeping the youngest children in education and spending what is necessary on books and uniforms.
Moreover, Nek has already repaid the original loan (with interest) and is keen to take out a further loan. Nek’s experience shows how access to cheap credit, through responsible microfinance loans, empowers a family to change their own lives. Nek has not received any free handouts, just a helping hand so that she can grow her business and improve the lives of the whole family.

This project began in early 2016. The loans were entirely funded by GlobalGiving donors like you. Since then your generosity has changed the lives of 330 destitute families in central Kolkata.

• Total beneficiaries 330
• Total of loans disbursed Rs 5,265,004 (£56,000 $73,500 Eur 62,700)
• Total of new loans from the revolving fund Rs2,829,000 (£330,200 $39,500 Eur 33,680)
• Total Number of *CIGs 44
• Loan Recovery rate 98%

*Credit Interest Group. Lending/borrowing is organised around these community-based organisations. Each of the 5 women in the group is responsible for all the others in the group. They support one another and recommend others for loans. It is a system which works very well indeed.

With two of their five children
With two of their five children
Aug 13, 2018

Nazia wants to be a teacher


Nazia loves school. One day she wants to become a teacher, but it is going to be a struggle. Despite being a very bright girl, her parents wanted her to drop out of school and become a rag picker like her mother. Her father works in a chappal factory (making cheap plastic sandals). Their combined incomes barely feed the family of six so there is pressure on the children to take up work. With Tiljala SHED’s intervention, the parents have agreed to let Nazia continue in education. She is an enthusiastic member of our Park Circus Education Centre which lies just behind the railway lines where Nazia and her family live in a makeshift shelter. She attends classes every day after school. She is also a member of Tiljala SHED’s Gyan Azhar library, a girls-only facility in the local slum, where she can borrow books, read, study and hang out in a safe place with her friends. Nazia’s enthusiasm for her education and Tiljala SHED’s interventions combine to offer Nazia a real opportunity to break out of the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and early marriage which are prevalent amongst these very vulnerable communities.

For just £11 or $15 a month you are helping a girl like Nazia to reach for a better life.

Thank you

About the project
600 children of rag pickers, rickshaw drivers, maidservants, vegetable sellers are enrolled on Tiljala SHED's Education and Child Protection programme. They are required to attend their local government school but in the afternoon they attend remedial classes in T SHED's 5 centres, one in the heart of each community where we work. Here they play, sing, complete their homework, attend remedial sessions and child protection workshops. They love the classes and attendance is very high. Their parents are also closely involved - after all it is only with the parents' consent that the children remain in education and avoid dropping out. Tiljala SHED works very hard to persuade the parents that a proper education is worth the sacrifice of anything a boy might earn rag picking or working in a factory. And infinitely better than marrying off a daughter as soon as she reaches puberty.

Nazia in school uniform
Nazia in school uniform


Aug 9, 2018

Food rations for 10 families

Arjina and Family
Arjina and Family

Arjina and her husband are rag pickers.  They live on the street in a makeshift shelter with their three children. Last week the police tore down their home. This week, thanks to your generosity, 10 very needy families including Arjina's received emergency food rations.

The monsoon rains have been unusually heavy in Kolkata this year and this has a particularly severe impact on families who live on the pavements, with only plastic sheeting and other scavenged materials to keep out the rain.  There are a number of families living like this, dependent largely on rag picking, on the street beside one of Kolkata's biggest municipal hospitals.  Last week, the police decided to clear the pavements by ripping down the tarpaulin shelters, leaving families with no homes and  no protection at all against the weather.  Tiljala SHED appealed to a local benefactor who immediately arranged for tarpaulins to be delivered to the desperate families.  And food rations were distributed from this Global Giving project.  Both Tiljala SHED staff and, of course, the beneficiaries are delighted that these funds are ready to be deployed in such circumstances.  Thank you so much for your generous contributions and please pass this on to your friends and families.  The more funds that come in, the more families can be helped in an emergency.

Your donations have given them relief this week – each family received a pack containing dry rations: rice, dal (lentils) chana dal (dry chickpeas), oil and soybean protein.  The mothers are delighted – at least the children won’t go to sleep hungry for a few days.

Thank you very much from all these vulnerable families

Arjina's Story
"Arjina is 32 years old is a rag picker and lives on the pavement near ESI Hospital. There are five members in the family (2 daughters + 1 son).

Her younger daughter studies in Class IV and her other daughter studies in Class II. Her son studies in Kindergarten. Arjina and her husband work together as a rag pickers.  But this income is not enough for running the household expenses.  Sometimes the family goes to bed without food.

Without the supplementary ration support the family would starve. They sleep in the open pavement. During the rainy season, the conditions becomes very difficult as they sleep under a tarpaulin. Local goons and police are a daily harassment for this family. The young girls do not have any security. The local political goons drink alcohol nearby their temporary makeshift structure and takes away water which is being stored for the family drinking purpose. With Tiljala SHED ration support, the family will not starve hopefully. But this one of a family who needs regular support as they are more likely to starve. Since they are basically on the footpath, diseases are more prevalent among them. Diarrhoea, Malaria, High Fever, Coughing are regular problems and found in almost all the homes." 


It costs Rs 1200 (£13 or USD25)  to provide a week's dry rations for a family of 6

A family eats together
A family eats together
With donation of dry rations
With donation of dry rations
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