Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families

by Tiljala Society for Human and Educational Development
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families
Alternative livelihoods for 500 ragpicker families

Project Report | Jun 20, 2023
Linking the poorest with their rights

By Jane Manson and Parveen Chaudhury | Fundraising and Programme Co Ordinator

Roma - a beneficiary
Roma - a beneficiary

Thank you as ever for your generosity in supporting the poorest of the poor women in Kolkata. You help them to become economically independent, to be able to understand all their rights and entitlements and to be able to assert those rights.

The women in our target areas beside the railways tracks and open sewers are illiterate, were married off as young girls and have in many cases ended up supporting the whole family when their husbands, mostly labourers, have become unable to work through injury and disability.

These resourceful women become rag pickers, collecting and sorting plastics, glass and cardboard for tiny sums of money from the dealers. Many go into domestic service where they are badly exploited and paid just £20 - £30 a month.

There are Indian and West Bengal Govt schemes designed specifically to alleviate the distress of the ultra-poor and especially the women. There are ration cards, pension schemes, life insurance and zero balance bank accounts. Everyone is entitled to an identity card, with or without a birth certificate. Sick and disabled people can apply for extra benefits.

The big problem in the communities where Tiljala SHED works is the very high levels of illiteracy. How can you apply for your entitlements if you don’t know a pension scheme exists? If you can’t read or write? Or indeed if you are told you need to apply online? So this programme provides the modest funds required to support a team of women to go out and help these communities to access their entitlements under Indian law. We organise meetings and bring in the relevant government officials to distribute the necessary documentation. We conduct awareness raising meetings and organise “camps” where we can distribute accounts in bulk. It is the first and most important thing we do…

Here is a short excerpt from a much longer report on the activities of our team, led by the formidable Ayesha.

Benefits of a SHG:
We explained to them they should not waste money on frivolous things such as having tea multiple times in a day. The money saved can be deposited in a bank and they can earn interest on the money deposited. If this is done in a group then the interest amount also increases. They can avail themselves of loan from their group savings at a reasonable rate of interest. They will be safe from money lenders as they charge very high rate of interest. When they save in group then a sense of unity is developed among themselves. If any group member falls in trouble, then other group members come to help him. The group can also serve the community in various ways—like, fight for their basic rights, prevent early marriage and drive out anti-social elements from the area.

A Stakeholders’ meeting was held on the 24th of March’23 at Topsia Community Centre attended by 60 community women. This meeting was facilitated by two schoolteachers, a bank representative, and a government worker representing SASPFUW and one local leader along with Tiljala Shed team.
The teachers discussed various government schemes such as Kanyashree, Aikyashree, etc. and explained to them how they can keep their children healthy by maintaining proper hygiene and consuming low-cost nutritious food. The teachers had a fruitful interactive session as it gave the guardians to clear many queries vis a vis their wards educational performance. The guardians requested the government teachers if they could issue an identity card for their children (many do not have birth certificates). This would help them to establish an identity and help them to secure an Aadhaar (identity) card for their child. The local leader promised to help the parents in whatever way he can at government level.

One Orientation cum celebration program on International Women’s Day with 36 women participants was conducted at Park Circus on the 10th of March’23.
The participants were explained that International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. They were told that we should work collectively to impact change and help to make this world equal in all respects.
They were appraised about the achievements and accomplishments of women in different sphere of life. The women interacted with each other by sharing stories about how they overcame adversity and protected themselves from violence. By joining hands and driving away the abuser. They were told not to discriminate against their children because of gender.
Sweets were distributed among the participants, and they even sang songs. It was a party atmosphere. At the end the participants pledged to seek gender equality improve their health and break the bias against women. They promised to prevent child abuse and child marriage.
7. A two-day camp for opening Bank Account (zero balance) by representative from Punjab National Bank for community people and their children were held on the 25th and 26th February’23 at Topsia Centre.”

Case Study
ROMA - 60 years
Roma resides in a slum at 47 Christopher Road Kolkata- 46. Roma lost her husband 10 years ago. She has two daughters. One daughter died to cancer four years ago. The other daughter is married but lives separately. Roma now lives alone. Sometimes her daughter visits her.
Roma used to work as a carer. Now she is unemployed. Her daughter supports her with food and money in a limited way. Roma has a Ration Card with which she gets 5 kg rice per month.
Roma is afflicted with a nerve disease and her hands shiver all the time. She has a Saving Bank account and has some money in it. She uses this money to buy medicines. She is also a card holder of SASPFUW (pensions for unorganised workers)scheme. She had saved Rs.2400/ in that account. She used to deposit Rs.25/ per month in this scheme. She was paid Rs.7680 by the SASPFUW authorities as she is now 60 years old (maturity of scheme). She is thinking of fixing the money in her bank. Roma is more or less satisfied with life except that she feels very lonely at times.

Bank Passbook Opening Camp
Bank Passbook Opening Camp
Celebrating International Women's Day
Celebrating International Women's Day
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Feb 20, 2023
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By Jane Manson | Fundraising

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Helping Manjina access her Government Entitlements

By Jane Manson | Fundraising

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Organization Information

Tiljala Society for Human and Educational Development

Location: Kolkata, West Bengal - India
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Tiljala_NGO
Project Leader:
Jane Manson
Kolkata , West Bengal India
$46,557 raised of $80,000 goal
399 donations
$33,443 to go
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