Maitri India

Mission: Promote primary health, education and restore human rights to empower India's most vulnerable populations. Maitri defends human rights and strengthens communities through individual and community empowerment with advocacy, education, community-based program development, and networking. We work with Destitute Widows, Members of uniformed services and their families, Migrant workers and their families, Survivors of domestic violence, Underprivileged children, HIV/AIDS affected people.
Jan 29, 2016

The Journey of Widows Towards Empowerment

Drying the products the made during training
Drying the products the made during training

In the last few months, Maitri has continued to provide a better quality of life for over 100 resident widows and additional 100 widows from the neighbouring areas. Because of your love and support the widows in Maitri’s care have stayed warm and healthy this winter. In November and December 2015, Maitri distributed sandals to 99 widows in need, blankets to 227, shawl to 137, winter caps to 68 and sweaters to 119 widows living in Maitri’s Old Age Homes and those who are from neighbouring areas.

Beyond creating happy and healthy homes for the widows, YOUR kind support has also made it possible to teach them livelihood skills, so that they can empower themselves.

In December 2015, Maitri conducted a skill-building programme in Vrindavan Maitri Ghar, at Vrindavan with the help of two trainers from the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Rural Industrialization (MGIRI). 24 women from Vrindvan and Radha Kund Old Age Homes were trained to make agarbatti, dhup batti, mosquito coils, tooth powder, and other materials using natural and organic raw materials. The skills learned in this workshop will be invaluable for the empowerment and livelihoods of widows. These products are organic and harmless to the health of the widows. The widow mothers are very excited and have started making the products. Maitri is working towards setting up a small production unit and find market to supply these products. Once the widows gain confidence in making quality products they could earn Rs1500-2000 a month.

Besides the livelihood initiative, the construction of Old Age Home in Radha Kund progressing well. Construction of the kitchen and flooring has already been completed, with washbasins and counters installed. Sanitary fittings in seven first floor bathrooms are nearing completion. We have given purchase order of furniture and are now in the process of screening the widows to be welcomes as residents, priority is being given to the most needy. We look forward to welcoming about 45 more widows to our newly constructed floor in the home in next one or two months. We couldn’t imagine of expanding our services without your generous donations. Together, we are able to provide them a home and other life essentials like meals, fruits, milk, clothing and healthcare. You are helping Maitri bring destitute widows from a place of despair to a place of hope and dignity.

Mala is one of the widows whose life has changed forever because of your ongoing support.

Mala, 54, is one of the widow mothers cared for in Maitri Ghar. “My husband was alcoholic and abusive. He worked as a Rickshaw Puller and barely managed to provide for the family. After his death, I had to work very hard to raise my three daughters.” Once they got married, Mala felt isolated and lonely. With no one to support her and care for her she was insecure about her well-being and travelled to Vrindavan hopefully to find spiritual peace but in trying to survive she neither felt safe nor was able to pray. "I was on the streets of Vrindavan when Maitri found me and took me under their wings and are my family and home today." For last one year Mala has been living in Maitri Ghar. “In Maitri Ghar, for the first time in my life I feel secure, at peace and happy”, she says.  She came to Maitri Ghar with nothing, but is now happy in her new home. With the skills she has learned through Maitri’s skill building programme, she once again has a chance to make a respectable livelihood for herself.

Women carefully watch and learn during training
Women carefully watch and learn during training
Incense and mosquito coils made by widows
Incense and mosquito coils made by widows
Mala, one of the resident widows
Mala, one of the resident widows
Resident Widows at Radha Kund Old Age Home
Resident Widows at Radha Kund Old Age Home
Jan 8, 2016

Learning Through Fun & Play

Children show their certificates from sports event
Children show their certificates from sports event

Fun and play is a big part of growing up. Young children put a lot of hard work, emotion, intellect and imagination into games they play. Because they are driven from within, it helps them understand and learn powerful lessons through play. In last quarter, Maitrigram children had opportunity to learn valuable lessons as they played.

With your support Maitri is able to run After-School-Programme at three slum communities located in South Delhi. About 100 children enrolled with the program benefit from the supplementary education, nutrition and recreational activities offered by the programme.

The first event was an Inter NGO Sports Event in November 2015. Maitri participated along with seven other NGOs in the event. Twenty-two children from Maitri participated in the sports. They had the enthusiasm and wide smiles to go with for the sports day, which made up for the lack of sports outfits and sports shoes. The event had fun races such as Dressing Up Relay Race, Red Letter Race, Lemon Spoon Race and Obstacle Race etc. Amid a lot of cheers and excitement, children participated in all the sporting games. Six children from Maitri’s After School Program won prizes for securing first, second and third places in different race competitions. They were proud to have participated and happily showed off the prizes they had won and the certificates they had received. The event gave the children an opportunity to not only display their talent and confidence but exposed them to a school life, which they can aspire for. It was also an opportunityto interact with children from Modern School, which always motivates them to do better and aim for education in a private school.

Secondly, Celebrating the Festive Season. In November, Maitrigram children celebrated Diwali with joyous spirit. They decorated their classroom and the surrounding area with colours and lights and dressed up in colourful outfits. After a brief pooja (worship), children danced to popular Bollywood songs and the little ones sang and danced to music. The celebration was complete with distribution of sweets and snacks. This kind of celebration helps foster a sense of brotherhood and community among children. In December, children celebrated Christmas. They had their own little Christmas Tree and Santa caps. The teachers talked to them about Jesus and explained what the festival is about. Maitrigram children love celebrations, mostly because it also means they have an opportunity to dress elaborately, sing and dance and of course, they look forward to receivinggifts and lots of sweets. Maitri hopes to instil in them respect and sensibility towards all faiths and use every festival to spread love and joy.

The recent activity was a Two-day Session on Life Skills. Maitri invited Project Khel, an NGO that teaches children valuable lessons through play and fun to conduct the session for about 45 children from all three centres. On the first day, children gathered in an open ground at a park. Each game had embedded lessons on personal, cognitive and social skills development. The trainer allowed children to apply their own knowledge and skills in solving the game, forming teams, working out their team strategies and naming their teams while guiding them whenever needed. Post each game, children were engaged in a lively discussion on the lessons learned. After few activities were over, changes in the behaviour of children were already visible. They became less individualistic and aggressive and more of a team player and strategic thinker during rest of the activities.

On the second day, girls between ages 11 to 16 were invited for an indoor session. The trainer spoke to them about menstruation and inappropriate behaviour of adults with children.  They were taught about basic awareness such as good and bad touch and accidental touch etc. Few teens were given a space to talk about attraction to boys in another private conversation. These kinds of sessions are particularly helpful to children growing up with parents who are mostly illiterate and traditional.

Through these fun activities, Children learn to push their imagination and creativity while developing personal, social and cognitive skills. Thank you for donating to Maitri’s After School Programme and helping 100 children have essential educational and developmental benefits they could otherwise not afford.

Impact Story

Fourteen-year-old Shiksha studies in class nine and goes to a semi-government school in Delhi. In a year she will complete class ten, which is a major milestone for underprivileged girls like her in India. Statistics say ‎School Dropout Rate amongst adolescent girls in India is as high as 63.5 percent.

"I had no interest in studies before. I used to watch a lot of television and hangout with girls but after I joined Maitrigram I began taking interest in studies, mainly because I was made to understand the value of education.”

In class eight, Shiksha received scholarship from Maitrigram to encourage her and motivate her towards higher education. "With the scholarship money, my parents bought me new books, stationaries and rest my mom used for buying food for the family".

Shiksha's mom works as a housemaid and her father as a daily-wage-laborer. Together, they strive to educate their four children. A little help from Maitrigram goes a long way in encouraging the family.

Maitrigram student lights up the diyas
Maitrigram student lights up the diyas
Little girls sing and dance
Little girls sing and dance
Festive mood of the festive season
Festive mood of the festive season
Girls smile at camera between game & learning
Girls smile at camera between game & learning
Team celebrates when they win
Team celebrates when they win

Links:

Nov 30, 2015

Moving forward

Toilet model
Toilet model

Dear friends, 

Maitri is thrilled to announce that we have been a fortunate recipient of 9000 Pounds granted to us through GlobalGivings community grant that we had recently applied for! This amount will directly benefit the efforts we are putting to building 40 toilets for rickshaw pullers in Ranchi, India.

This project is part of Maitri’s Programme Adhikar that focusses on the rights of rickshaw pullers which include right to citizenship rights, better living conditions and good health. 

In October 2015 alone, Maitri has been able to educate 110 rickshaw pullers about their citizenship rights and government benefits. More over, post 2 health and awareness camps, rickshaw pullers have given our team a positive feedback in terms of improvement of their health. Maitri has also performed a data analysis on 2000 Rickshaw pullers to identify 200 of the most marginalised that we could facilitate identity proofs with. Lastly, bleaching powder and first aid boxes were distributed to rickshaw pullers in effort to improve their living conditions in garages. 

With such impact seen Maitri is pressing on to improve living conditions of rickshaw pullers which especially includes building of 40 toilets in Ranchi. Towards this iniaitive, our team has been persistently meetin with garage owners, rickshaw pullers to understand their sanitation challenges specific to each garage. Subsequently a case study will be done one of the garages that most urgently requires a santitation facility. Further more, Maitri has done research on various toilet models. So far, Bio-Toilets is what meets the requirement of easy maintenance, not causing contimation of water and soil. We have also secured quotation of the tankers and bacteria from a certified dealer.

Chatru is a rickshaw puller. When he was 8 years old, wild elephants destroyed his house. He does not have much of landholdings. He is now 28 years of old. He lives in village named as Balwadih. He can only manage 6 months from the cultivation, not the whole year. Both of his parents fell ill together due to which he could not study. He went to Chennai in search of work, there he worked as a mason for 2 months and then returned back. He has opened a small grocery shop in his village which his father looks after. He agrees that if some training is imparted to his wife then she can also work. His source of income is from rickshaw pulling and agriculture.

I want to thank you for your partnership and resources to be able to do this. It is humbling to know we have people that believe in the work we do enough to put their time, effort and money to see our vision fulfilled for the marginalised rickshaw pullers of our society.

In the words of Deepak Chopra “Although we take it for granted, sanitation is a physical measure that has probably done more to increase human life span than any kind of drug or surgery. “ Thank you for contributing to the lives of Rickshaw pullers through your support! It makes all the difference!

Cycle rickshaws pulled by migrant workers
Cycle rickshaws pulled by migrant workers
Condition of a rickshaw garage in Ranchi
Condition of a rickshaw garage in Ranchi
Rickshaw puller beneficiaries
Rickshaw puller beneficiaries

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