The project serves the women in urban slums and rural areas for the past 8 years. It strives to improve the socio-economic condition of the target population; through promotion of SHGs. Presently we have 50 SHGs, which are active and able to get loans from bank. Soon we intend to merge them with the federations. We also provide the knowledge for women on various issues that concern them, such as gender problems, RTI, STI and HIV and AIDS and leadership qualities. The project is beneficial especially to the slum population, which is vulnerable to all these health problems and are not empowered enough to protect themselves. Due to the project the women have benefited in every way. Through the savings they are able to enhance their economic conditions. Some of the benefits that were hitherto not given to them are now made available to them. The knowledge on various gender issues have helped them to solve some of the problems or cope with them. The results of the evaluation showed that the project has achieved the objectives aimed at. The women were able to get extra income, and have improved lifestyles, educate their children and also raise their voices against evils of alcoholism and assert their rights.
The inauguration of "Centre for Computer and Life-skill Education (CCLE)" went well on Saturday 27-02-2016 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Rev. Joe Andrew, SDB, Rector and Parish Priest, St.Lourde's Shrine and Perambur blessed, cut the ribbon and inaugurated the centre in the presence of the Tzedek partners, invitees, trainees, staff and volunteers. Mr. Vedachalam, President of SINN, switched on the first computer and greeted the trainees while the invitees distributed the new stationery kits. Slum leaders and well wishers also greeted the students for the wonderful opportunity. This opportunity to educate the poor young slum women in computer and life skills was presented by the esteemed Tzedek, UK.
During the project year 2013-2014, Tzedek-UK supported a micro credit project in which 25 selected SHG women emerged as successful entrepreneurs. Training on entrepreneurial skills was imparted and the project women availed seed money loan from Rs.5, 000/ to Rs. 12,000/ for 5 different trades. Now they are continuing their small vending with savings and this was appreciated by Ms. Hannah Gaventa, Education Director, Tzedek and Mrs. Rajni Sriram, the Co-Founder, Wings of Hope, during their visit to the project in SAVE Trust in October, 2013.Success Stories:
Mrs. Kothai is an enthusiastic woman among our beneficiaries. She is living in a rented house with her daughter. Kothai is very bold and good in communication. She is doing her fish vending along with her husband. Kothai now says that she has no worry regarding investment for her business, because the Seed Money support has made a radical difference in her life! Before that she depended on private money lenders and had to repay the loan with huge interest. But now she is living a peaceful life without any threat from them. Her husband is very supportive to her and sometimes he would carry fish on his bicycle and sell on the streets in nearby areas.
Mrs.Samundeswari is an active member of Jayam women SHG and hard working with many skills. She availed Rs.5000/- loan for her flower vending and is doing her business smartly. She purchases flowers from whole sale bazaar in Parry’s Corner and stringing by paying charges to other women and selling with a good income in and around their residential areas. Through the profit she is paying the school fees for her two children. She also contributes her communication skills in motivating new members to join in their SHG. During SHG meetings and review meetings she shares her experience in promoting any business based on the requirements and the local needs of the community.Alternate Livelihood Project for Female Sex Workers (FSWs) from “1% Club”, Netherlands to SAVE Trust:
The human rights of FSWs are routinely abused by middle men and muscle men. The right to life, safety, free speech, political action and access to information and basic health and education services are denied. Poverty, gender inequality, inadequate education and lack of economically viable job options contribute to the reason to enter into sex work. To address the issue of FSWs, we initiated a project for the promotion of alternate livelihood opportunity to them in the Year, 2013. We approached “1 % Club”, Netherlands, a funding promoter with a project for 50 FSWs. Since mobilized a limited funds, and it was a pilot project to SAVE Trust, we disbursed the grant to only 3 FSWs for their own alternate small vending like selling garments, snacks. Now they are doing the trades well and through these businesses we found some impacts in their daily lives. Now they are successfully doing their vending and have slowly started to reduce clients and having increased awareness on health seeking behavior. The women and their children are also participating in all the interventions and programs of SAVE Trust and creating an acceptance on them among the other women and children. During the project promotion work, Ms. Maria Cuijpers was delegated as the “Project Coach” to SAVE Trust by “1 % Club”.
Contribution of Ms.Maria Cuijpers a Volunteer to Slum Community: Ms.Maria Cuijpers an Educationalist and Development Worker from Netherlands worked as a volunteer in our organization from 25th February till 17th May, 2013. During her stay in Chennai she trained our staff, volunteers and SHG leaders to develop their skills in the areas of computer and internet, spoken English, promotion of “Urban Slum Gardening” (USG) and training on development concept. During her intervention with the leaders of SHGs and Tzedek beneficiaries, she also educated the women on perfect management of micro business and the need of economic empowerment to deprived women with inputs and awareness education. She also contributed her time in visiting the projects beneficiaries of Tzedek and 1% Club at their homes and small vending spots with the Project Director and staff and counseled them.
International Women’s Day: : International Women's Day was celebrated with great pomp, by the women coming from Perambur, Otteri, Ayanpuram and Vyasarpadi. It was held in Chennai Corporation Community Hall, Perambur on 08.03.2012. More than 300 women participated in which .Mr. Hirsh Cashdan, Chairperson, Overseas Project Team, Tzedek and Mrs. Gill Cashdan, Child and Family Counselor attended as Chief Guests. Mr. Bakthavatchalam, Director, ARM, Mrs. Premi Mahalingam, Lawyer from High Court, Chennai, Ms. Prasanna, Sub Inspector, Southern Railways, Ms. Nalini from REACH and heads of other NGO also attended. The invitees appreciated the slum women of Self Help Groups (SHGs), spoke about empowerment of women in society and improving their status on economic, political and knowledge levels. The Chief Guests encouraged the women for showing the solidarity to each other and Mrs. Gill stressed the need of education for the girl children. Awareness songs folk and skits on social themes were staged by the SHG women, young women volunteers and students with great enthusiasm.
Under this project we have spread awareness on HIV and AIDS to more than 90,000 people during the past 8 years. This happened during our awareness events and during special programs like World AIDS Day and International Candle Light Day. We conducted the programs in association with SHG women, leaders of welfare Associations, auto drivers, college students and female sex workers in Avadi, Red Hills, Puzhal, Vyasarpadi, Perambur, Otteri, Pulianthope, Kannaginagar, and Madurantagam. The members of the SHGs were also provided knowledge on HIV and AIDS, which they would spread among other women and also in their own families. We have spread awareness to slum youth also, as the new infections are mostly among the younger generation. As the people involved in industrial production are vital to be protected, we have spread awareness to industrial workers.
Our interventions in the Past: HIV and AIDS Intervention Program: During the years 2010 - 2011 & 2011 - 2012, we have received grants support for HIV intervention from International Alliance for the Prevention of AIDS (IAPA), USA based organization having its office in Chennai. Through the project we covered the slum student’s studying in Chennai Corporation schools and Government aided schools as beneficiaries. The volunteers from US were associated with us and sensitized the students, slum women and men on HIV, general and reproductive health issues of adolescents through “Summer Volunteer Program” (SVP).
TB Intervention Program: Since 2009, SAVE Trust is one of the partner NGOs in Resource Group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health (REACH) working for the eradication of Tuberculosis. SAVE Trust took this opportunity to impart the scientific facts and the preventive aspects to the community in the target areas. We have conducted many awareness programs for the benefit of women, youth and students. During this period more than 100 TB symptomatic persons were referred to Government Hospitals for counseling and sputum tests. During this period, two special trainings were conducted in Corporation Medical Centers in North Chennai for TB patients imparting knowledge on the Rights and Responsibilities in which, around 100 patients benefited.
World AIDS Day Awareness Campaign: In collaboration with REACH, on 6th December, 2013 awareness campaign was organized in Perambur, Chennai. Ms. Nalini, District Coordinator, REACH and Mr. S.Baskar addressed to the participants on HIV and AIDS and motivated them to come forward to serve the people suffering from AIDS. After the meeting, a street campaign was launched with the distribution of pamphlets consisting of awareness message on HIV and AIDS. Totally 75 women participated and took an oath to work jointly to eliminate social discriminations against PLWHA.
World TB Day Door to Door Awareness Campaign: An awareness meeting was organized by SAVE Trust in collaboration with REACH on 15th March, 2014 in Perambur, Chennai. To create a greater impact among the hut dwellers the awareness program was conducted by Ms. Nalini, District Coordinator, Mr. Jayaraj, Counselor and Mr. S.Baskar. They addressed the participants on TB and the availability of testing and treatment facilities in Government Hospitals and Corporation Hospitals and Health Posts in Chennai, and also emphasized upon early diagnosis, treatment and follow up and that a greater awareness is needed among community. The volunteers of SAVE Trust were appreciated by the invitees for their involvement in educating the public. 60 women volunteers took a pledge to participate in the RNTCP to control TB.
Religious Harmony among Slum Youth:
Religious Harmony: “Building Bridges of Understanding in a Slum Community” and the religious harmony project has had a very good impact on the slum youth and is appreciated by slum leaders. We have organized these programs to focus on the youth and are arranging more orientation and training opportunities for the near future. We started this project in January 2016 with the support of Lisle International, USA.
School Intervention Program for Poor Students in Rural and Urban Areas:Providing educational counseling to the economically poor students was our prime task since the beginning of our work. We conduct the program for poor school going children studying in Corporation Schools, Government schools and Aided schools. Since the 10th standard examination is the turning point of their academic education, SAVE Trust organized such intervention programs in January, February March, 2014 at their schools and also in the slums. We provided the knowledge and skills such as study method, goal setting, avoiding bad habits, concentrating on scholastic education and methods of preparing for government examination. Around 4,000 students benefited.
Career Guidance & Job Opportunity Training for Youth: Career Guidance to youth drop out of the school after 10th standard, who hail from both rural and urban areas is also a main intervention of SAVE Trust. Since there is lot of chances for them to develop their skills in various diploma and other one year or two year courses that would fetch good jobs with decent salaries, hence we provided them the career guidance to enable them to select the career most suited to their aptitude rather than their education. Last year, totally 160 youth, both boys and girls, were covered and benefited with proper guidance, gained knowledge on job opportunities in various sectors.
Summer Camp for Slum Children: This year we conducted a summer camp for the welfare of slum children for one month. The camp was organized with students from Perambur, Vyasarpadi, Kannigapuram, Kodungaiyur, Otteri, and Pulianthope from the 4th to 31st of May 2015. The inaugural function of the Students Summer Camp was organized on 4th May, 2015 in Kannigapuram, a slum near Perambur. Mr. S.Selvaraj, Sub-Inspector of Police from P1 Police Station, Mr. L.Joseph, Mr. K.Palanivel and Mr.R. Sagayanathan were invited as chief guests and were offered to light the lamp (kuthuvilakku). The invitees graced the occasion with their greetings and appreciation to the camp students and SAVE Trust. The camp had been organized in Kannigapuram, Pulianthope, Ganesapuram, Perambur, Sasthri Nagar, Ponniamman Street and SSPuram B Block. The valedictory function of Students Summer camp was conducted with great pomp. Dr. Ragunathan, Medical officer, Chennai Corporation, Dr.Prof.Uma, HOD, Queen Mary's College and Rev.J.W.Ebinezer Kirubakaran, TSIPN members Mr.L.Joseph NEWS, Mr. Velmurugan WFW and leaders from neighborhood NGOs as chief guests. Approximately 350 children were given the opportunity to enjoy the camp and received certificates and prizes for their many staged cultural events and skits on folk and social awareness.
Children's Day celebration - 2015: We successfully conducted the Children's Day celebration on 28.11.2015 at Dr.Ambedkar Youth Welfare Association, Ponniamman Street, Purasaiwalkkam with our tuition center children. Around 110 students were participated in the program. The tuition teachers, stake holders and volunteers along with our staff organized the program well. Mrs.Sasikala Raja, Branch Manager, UBI, Villivakkam, Mrs.Sheema Gopi, Field Officer, IAPA, Mrs.A.Vijayalakshmi, Trustee, Mr.A.Kumar, Musician, Mr.V. Balamurugan, Musician, Mr.Kamalesh, Musician, Mr.A.Baburaj, TNEB, welfare associations leaders Mr.T.Ranjan and Mr.M.Elangovan and Mr.J.Amaladoss, social worker were graced the celebration and greeted the children. The chief guests, invitees and stake holders greeted the children and welcomed the effort of SAVE Trust. Prizes were distributed to the winners and all children for their participation. The program ends with distribution of sweets and snacks.
Saving the environment and thus saving earth, which is our only home is the need of the hour. Hence, SAVE Trust entered the arena of environment development also. Mainly we focused on two things. Provide knowledge on environment and global warming and make the areas green by planting trees. All our education and intervention activities were based on the above. While we were able to plant trees in rural areas, we focused on education and keeping the environment free from pollution in urban areas, especially in the areas in the slums. More than 20,000 people were given education in environment and global warming and more than 50 youth volunteers have been promoted and they are creating awareness on tree planting and during this period more than 5000 saplings were planted in rural areas. The implementation of the project brought about marked increase in their knowledge. The students and youth and children were able to assimilate the knowledge and produced drawings on environment protection and global warming
SHG Women, rural women, senior citizens, people with HIV (PLWHIV), and children were covered under this project. The objectives of the project were to ensure improved socio-economic condition of rural and urban population, provide assistance to obtain benefits from government, help to solve problems of slum and rural people with the government, enhancing the well-being of children, PLWHIV and senior citizens. While we focused on the welfare of the people by providing awareness through SHGs, for the children, the PLHIV we provided assistance in various ways. We were able to refer many children for treatment of many illnesses, especially in the slum areas, to the nearest health posts. We provided nutrition packets to people living with HIV, during the recent World AIDS Day program. The project helped to increase the awareness on environment protection and the devastating effects of global warming. During the project, we were able to discern marked increase in their knowledge. The problems of the evicted slum people were taken up with the government. Many women start to run small eateries as micro enterprises. We provided nutrition support to 15 children and elders living with HIV. Emergency relief work was initiated during the fire accidents in Vyasarpadi, Pulianthope and Perambur with the distribution of food, clothes and education and school education materials to students.
Distribution of Gifts & Educational Materials: We successfully organised the children's get-together function and distributed the toys and gifts to our children at our Perambur office on 18th February 2016. 30 children from four areas of the classes from 1st to 5th were participated and collected the gifts. They all enjoyed and thanked the children of Swaminaryan School, London and our esteemed Wings of Hope, UK for their kind gifts. The leaders of the slums and our volunteers have felicitated the children and expressed their gratitude for the support of Wings of Hope.
Supporting of Educational Materials and School Uniforms: We distributed school uniforms, School Bags and education materials like Exam pad, Stationery with the help of The Wings of Hope, UK for 45 young girl children of our working slum on 5th March 2016. School fees are supported for the 15 needy children in the Slums of North Chennai.
Flood Response – Relief & Rehabilitation: Almost all the slums in the North and the South had gone down to skip - dip water. Belongings such as utensils, cots, mats, dresses, books and other important documents like ration cards, voter ID and certificates were washed away by the uncontrolled floods in December 2015. In association with educational institutions, welfare associations, small companies, temples and churches, our staff and volunteers prepared, collected and distributed the essential commodities like food, biscuit pockets, drinking water, milk, medicines, cloths and other useful things to the slum people. School kits were also distributed to the flood affected slum children with the help of TATA Group of Companies and Staff of KELVION (GEA BTTQ); as well as relief kits donated by children’s of Swami Narayan School, UK through Wings of Hope, UK.
Tzedek has approved the 2nd phase project by providing an another opportunity to SAVE Trust towards promotion of new batch of 35 deprived slum women in various small vending for the period 2014 and 2015. The lessons we gained from the previous project in Phase-1 would be utilized. 18 women availed an amount from Rs. 6,000/- to 12,000/- and the project was implemented from the month of June, 2014. The lessons we gained from the previous project in Phase-1, was carefully utilized for the success of this project with 35 deprived women. The uniqueness of the people centered project will be sensitized among the beneficiaries during trainings. The stake holders like SHG leaders and volunteers have been empowered to monitor the micro business and counsel the beneficiaries. Through visits to their homes and to their business spots the Project Coordinator, Project Director and SHG leaders are motivating them to run their vending without any stagnation. The success and failures are discussed in review meetings and relevant solutions arrived at.
After School Tuition Centres for Slum Children: 12 tuition centres, equiped with 20 tuition teachers, were initiated and successfully running from August 2014 to May 2015, with the help of The Wings of Hope, UK. From June 2015, we continued the tuition centers with the donations and contributions from friends and well-wishers of SAVE Trust until December 2015. The Waterloo Foundation, UK began supporting 25 tuition teachers in January 2016. Now more than 600 poor students are benefiting through the tuition centers in the areas of Vyasarpadi, Perambur, Ganeshapuram, Kannigapuram, Pullianthope, Otteri, Chetpet, Retteri. We are planning to establish community libraries with a supply of dictionaries, geometry boxes, books and notebooks for the deserving students. Young Women Groups (YWGs) for Human Rights Advocacy in Chennai slums - Supported By - Haëlla, Netherlands – 2014 – 2015:The project aims to enhance the ability of 120 deprived young women during one year, through capacity building and human rights advocacy to ensure significant improvement in housing rights, peace and harmony among slums in Chennai.TB Intervention Program in Chennai District under REACH Axshya Project- Supported By- REACH, Chennai: Under this project we have carried out many interventions like GKS awareness meetings, community meetings, mass programs, referral services and sputum collection and also collaboration with staff and stake holders working in Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program (RNTCP), a Government Program. In association with doctors, counselors and other health care providers we refer TB symptomatic persons to the Corporation Hospitals, health posts, Government Hospitals exclusively working for TB.Micro Insurance Policy- Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) , Chennai Main Branch: SAVE Trust is one of the authorized promoters of Micro Insurance policies in Life Insurance Corporation of India. We have organized many Orientation programs on the benefits of Micro Insurance. The marginalized people especially women of Self Help Groups and small venders are motivated to join in the scheme and more than 100 benefited.
Thanks for our supporters: Our sincere thanks for the partner organizations, bankers, well wishers, philanthropists, doctors, lawyers, government officials, leaders of SGHs and welfare associations, musicians, volunteers, likeminded NGO leaders & professionals, school and college students and the public for supporting our project initiatives towards “Empowering Powerless”.