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Aug 1, 2017

Building toilets; Bridging lives

Initially under the second phase and third phases, six bio toilets in 6 garages, and 10 bio toilets have been initiated in 2 garages and 4 urban slums of Ranchi Municipal Corporation. These initiatives are for the benefits of more than 700 rickshaw pullers.

Maitri believes that this outreach work will be instrumental in shaping as wellas adding on to the work with rickshaw pullers.As per a report from WorldHealth Organization (WHO), more than 700 million people in India lack access to toilets and sanitation. They defecate in open fields, water sources or other sources, which again leads to different kind of diseases and pollutions. These figures are alarming because not only it constitutes half of the entire population of India but also is more than twice the number of people practicing open defecation in 18 different countries combined. Maitri is hopeful that construction of toilets in these garages will end the practice of open defection, and will be one step towards accessing public health right in India.

Camps focusing on generating awareness and disseminating information

While construction of toilets is a continuing process, Maitri organizes different kind of activates and camps to strengthen developmental work with migrant workers. BCC camps were organized to improve understanding and generate awareness around the rights available. The camps helped in explaining as well as disseminating important information regarding usage and importance of UID, ration card, BPL cards, bank account etc. Rickshaw pullers are also playing an active role in demanding their rights. The camps are also becoming more interactive in nature and have moved towards a new phase where important dialogues about concepts of identity, dignity and respect are being

One of the topics discussed at every camp is the need to follow proper health and sanitation practices. We live in a country where thousands die every year because of diseases transmitted through human waste. As per a report submitted by WaterAid, more than 140,000 under-fives die in India each year from diarrhea. The discussions got a lot of support as well as the needs to built toilets were welcomed with an affirmative yes. These camps are important for awareness as well as hanging behaviors. In places where toilets are constructed, because of lack of effective awareness and discussion, people don't adapt themselves to these changes. Culture related obstacles; lack of proper campaigning creates obstacles in this process. Maître has noticed effective changes and impacts of creating dialogues and awareness with people. Rickshaw pullers who are mostly migrant population are now not just self aware, but want to replicate the same in their homes and villages they belong to.

Case study: An example of positive impact.

“When I started pulling rickshaw 18 years back, rent to hire a rickshaw was 2 INR and I managed to earn 120 to 150 INR daily. I gave 2 INR as rent and used to spend some on food and could manage to save upto 7 to 8 INR at the end of the day”. -One of the benefeciaries of the project.

Today , he is 53 year old and earns around 250 INR per day from which he pays 40 INR to owner of the garage as rent. He spends around 10-15 INR for food and buys groceries with the rest amount. He manages to save around 100 INR per day. He has been in the vocation of rickshaw pulling from past 18years. He has his own house in Jhiri village, Ranchi. He hires rickshaw on rent from Vijay garage. He commutes from his village to the city for earning livelihood on a daily basis. He lives with his two sons and he lost his wife to anaemia. His elder son works for Ranchi Municipal Corporation as a rag picker from which he earns 5, 500 INR per month and younger son work as a labourer. The elder son is married and has two daughters and a son. After getting information about ration card and its usage through Maitri’s BCC camps organized at the Vijay garage, Shivnath applied for all relevant documents and received them too. Now he receives ration too.

He lives in a mud house with no toilet facilities. After witnessing the toilets built by Maitri, he is hopeful to construct one toilet in his area as well.However he is not able to get an application from the Mukhiya. He is deeply inspired from the work and activities of Maitri and is determined to build a toilet in his area. He acknowledges how building a toilet is a step towards accessing health right and hence a step towards a life of respect and dignity. Better toilets can lead to better lives. He is grateful for Maitri for working towards improving lives and making a difference.

Construction of toilets in Vijay Garage
Construction of toilets in Vijay Garage
Construction of toilets in Vijay Garage
Construction of toilets in Vijay Garage
Jul 17, 2017

Stitching as a tool to eradicate Gender Inequality.

Workbook prepared during the Stitching course
Workbook prepared during the Stitching course

Gender Inequality, the term is not new to us. Almost every second household faces this challenge. India being a developing country sees the reflections of violence which has been prevalent since ages. With an idea to bring change in the mindset of the population living in slums. Maitri initiated a sewing class with an objective to empower girls of the community while they are learning stitching, so that they have information and awareness about gender and domestic violence. They are encouraged to talk and speak up not only about their own challenges but also give information  to their neighbors.

Stitching and Tailoring centre is a skill building place leading to income generation and in some cases also making entrepreneurs out of these young girls. We realized most of them faced opposition from the male members in their households, to acquiring a basic skill like stitching which is an everyday need in any household. Some of the girls were coming in for the training without the knowledge of the head of the family. And they feared if the father got to know, mother and daughter both would be abused and physically violated. This propelled Maitri to step in to create a support group, at the Stitching Centre, where empowered with awareness, the other women could also stand up for their community women. The project gained momentum and the reflections can be seen in terms of their work, where girls started to come out with a lot of enthusiasm, eager to learn and become productive members of their households as well as the society. We are happy to inform our supporters, that today we are running the courses beyond our capacity. Instead of one, there are three batches running in a day.

Girls have come up with innovations and creativity and are beginning to design on a professional level, different kinds of clothes. They stand confident, aware of their rights.

The girls and women of the area have become confident, earning members with a say in their households. Young girls understand the need for their empowerment. Maitri saw women who felt that household responsibilities didn't let them live their dreams, now are standing tall in society, appreciated. The sewing center, is a blessing in disguise to the slum population. Maitri has been able to establish confidence in the women that they are now discussing issues faced by their communities, which range from abuse, violence, independence, freedom to study and work and seek solutions, answers. They each have created a circle of support of their family, relatives, community.

 With your support we could change the lives of the population. We can together make a difference to their lives.We have a long way to go. There is a need for making boys and men as partners to bring a change in the mindsets. A seed has been sown and we have to stand with the community and bring a change.

Maitri with support from our donors in Global Giving have succeeded in making our beneficiaries skilled that they can now work professionally with dignity and respect and more than anything else without fear that they will be stopped from learning. They can now give shape to their dreams and make it a reality.

 Maitri and our donors together can make a difference.

Final Display of Creations after Training
Final Display of Creations after Training
Jun 6, 2017

Play is not a luxury. Play is a Necessity..!

Dear Maitri Friend,
The month of March has been like a roller-coaster ride for our Frisbee kids. 15 Maitri students were shortlisted to play at the Ashoka Ultimate Championship, a Frisbee tournament where teams from various cities and age groups participated. Maitri team, was one of the economically challenged community team participating in the championship as regular team.
From planning naming of the team Maitri Champs, to designing a logo and painting their T-shirts, testing their new pair of shoes amidst all the serious practice every Sunday and once a week for three weeks created excitement, camaraderie, a unique bond among the children and their mentors. It has given them the confidence and an experience to be creative. It was interesting to see the confidence and trust the families and children had in themselves, Maitri and the mentors when the children travelled for the first time in their lives out of the city as a team but without their families.
The tournament dates were 1st -2nd April’2017 at Ashoka University Campus, Sonepat,Haryana. The selected children were over joyed and filled with curiosity about the tournament as it was the first time kids were going on a two-day trip with friends and mentors for a tournament, a sport. Families of the children looked forward to seeing a new perspective and the growth and experience Ultimate Frisbee holds for the children. 
On the day of the tournament, they reached the Ashoka University Campus early morning, where the girls and boys were allotted their respected hostels to settle their luggage and get ready for the matches. Going to a world International University campus and being in a hostel was like visiting a Hotel for our community kids. Having a shower was a luxury, which they enjoyed to the most, for the joy of a shower had never been experienced by any one of them. To be able to take a shower for as long and with running water was a dream come true. The girls were fascinated with the idea of a cupboard for their clothes and putting them on hangers in the cupboard. 
In all 7 matches were played out of which Maitri team lost their first three matches. But that did not deter their confidence. They were so motivated that they were going to win that they played with  a zeal and enthusiasm ensuring they would win. They excitedly took on a opposing Team in a mid-night match. Their first ever experience of playing a match in mid night lights. After that, there was no looking back. They won all of the other matches.
Our participation in the tournament was about learning experiences and learning the spirit of the game. All the teams Maitri Champs had their match with appreciated their spirit and sportiness. Maitri Champs won an award for being The Most Spirited team of the championship. 
This tournament was about new experiences and learning sportsman spirit for the kids. One of the lessons they have learnt is honesty and passion for the game and to have team spirit and to be caring and sharing human beings. 
Summer Vacation becomes the summertime fun for the kids, which begin with the ringing of last bell in the school. Summer Vacation becomes the happiest moments for the kids as they get a long break from the daily hectic life of school and schoolwork. Every Summer Maitri organizes summer workshops for the children in the mornings where children come together to have fun. These workshops are designed not only for fun but also to provide new skills to the children.
In the month of May, a 10-day long arts and crafts workshop has been organised for the children. The aim of the workshop was to encourage the children to explore their world of imagination and use their creative skills. It is where creativity, ingenuity, and thinking outside the box begins for child development.
The kids have learnt to make paper plate fish, wind chimes, door hangings, photo frames, facemasks, paper bags and finger puppets. They even used the puppets in a fun and interactive story telling session. Children enjoyed the workshop and their smiles and thank-you’s told us that the workshop had indeed been a success.
There is more in-store for the children in the Month of June. A theatre workshop for the children where they can learn the craft of theatre and also enhance their confidence with emoting and expressive skills. 
I would like to thank you once again for your support. We greatly appreciate your kind thoughts and words. Your support make s a difference to the lives of the children and make them into productive citizens of tomorrow.
The Maitri Champs
The Maitri Champs
Look at our Wind Chimes..!
Look at our Wind Chimes..!
Our cute little Bunnies..!
Our cute little Bunnies..!
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