Working at the grassroots is an essential part of any organisation that seeks to bring about social change. With this intent, SIF began working with women in two low income communities in the city. Beginning with civic, environment and health issues that were relevant to the lives of these women, we moved on to having regular sessions on areas of their needs based on surveys and consultations with them.
Motivational talks on the importance of saving groups, generating awareness on cleanliness and proper garbage disposal, fun-filled educational summer camps for their children, experts’ talks on health problems , mehendi application & other skill development training workshops , tree plantation, an eye check up camp and events on national festivals were some of the programmes conducted. SIF continues to identify needs and organises programmes accordingly.
Motivated by the SIF talks on the importance of cleanliness and proper garbage disposal, the women decided to take charge and with help from MCGM clear up a huge garbage dump accumulated over several years. It was heartening to note that they chose to conduct the activity on International Womens’ Day – A day that celebrates women empowerment.
Newsmakers & Gifting Love
Along with raising awareness about the need to reduce plastic usage, we realised the need to find an easy alternative to plastic bags, which would serve the dual purposes of being eco-friendly and providing income to women. Thus were born our paper bag projects –News makers and Gifting love.
After surveying shops in the area and convincing many shopkeepers to switch to paper bags, we trained ladies in the art of making bags from old newspapers and natural glue. These bags were marketed by these ladies to nearby shop keepers.
Gifting love involves making gift bags from superior quality handmade paper. Several women from low income backgrounds were trained in this art and the bags prepared by them were embellished and hand painted by SIF volunteers and sold to interested buyers. This helped the women supplement their incomes
Recycled Cloth Bag Project
Women from SIF’s Worli community as well as others from disadvantaged backgrounds were involved in a unique project which helped them earn well for themselves. They stitched bags from old bed sheets and curtains collected from schools and housing societies. These bags were used to give away gifts for annual functions of J B Petit High School for Girls. They were also distributed during a Ban Plastic campaign conducted at Churchgate station on Earth Day and to vendors in the Colaba vegetable market on Environment Day. Now these bags are made on a regular basis.
This project served the dual purposes of both recycling waste materials in the form of old clothes and provided a source of income for the women in the community.
Information Talks & Health Camps
SIF regularly organises talks by experts on health and other issues at the request of the residents of the communities. Two workshops were conducted on the formation of savings and support groups, one on the legal rights of women and two more on womens’ health for adolescent girls and menopausal women . The sessions were extremely informative and went a long way in helping the women understand and deal with various issues that they were facing.
A general health check up camp as well as an eye camp was conducted free of cost on request of the residents of the community. On examination various ailments were diagnosed and the patients were assisted with follow up treatment