In 2015, IFPD launched a new project in Bodhgaya (State of Bihar) with its local partner Agragami. Three key components are being implemented: health, education and income generation.

Health

The project combines three main lines:

  • organizing and empowering the community not just to act for its own health and well-being but to ensure the delivery of services, which it is entitled to, through liaison and advocacy with government agencies;
  • capacity building and supportive supervision of government workers to increase the quality of services delivered by them;
  • community education for the adoption of healthy behaviour and the utilization of services provided by the government.

Education

The Bodhgaya project focuses on:

  • developing reading skills and self-expression of young children to help them to a good start in school; to this effect, 17 Children's Activity Centers (CACs) have been opened in the 14 villages and 3 semi-urban wards targeted by the project; each CAC welcomes 45 children on a daily basis (afternoon);
  • implementing a program of “catch-up” classes to give children in primary school additional out-of-school inputs to strengthen their abilities in reading, writing and arithmetic, and to keep them from dropping out of school.

Income Generation

As part of the livelihood improvement program of the Bodhgaya project, IFPD and Agragami have decided to set up a hospitality related training center for youth.

Bodhgaya is the place where Buddha achieved enlightenment. It is one of the holiest sites for Buddhist pilgrims. It is also an important tourist destination, and during the season (October to February) a large number of visitors arrive from both the Far East and Europe. Young people who are looking for opportunities to earn a living realize the economic potential of Bodhgaya but have not the means and possibilities to exploit this potential. IFPD and Agragami have therefore determined that it would be a key asset for youth of the area to set up a training center that would prepare them for employment in trades/occupations related to the hospitality and tourism industry.

Since practice is an essential component of hospitality training, it is planned to set up and run a small hotel with about 20 rooms and a restaurant, which will be the training site for the trainees' practice period. Students will be selected among the beneficiaries of the existing project area (10 villages and 7 urban districts) and be hosted at the training center itself (food and lodging will be supplied for them during the whole length of their training), or picked up and dropped off close to their homes. Families will be strongly encouraged to send also their girls to the center.

EHLsmile

The hospitality training center will be set up and managed in collaboration with EHLsmile, a non-profit organization created in 1996 by a group of EHL (Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne) students, whose mission is to create and support vocational training centers in hospitality professions for underprivileged youth in developing countries as well as to encourage the development of socially responsible tourism. IFPD and EHLsmile have agreed on a partnership stipulating that EHLsmile will provide financial and technical assistance to the project during the first three years, i.e. until the center becomes autonomous.

Agribusiness and handicraft, which are other modules of the livelihood component of the Bodhgaya project, will also benefit from the hospitality training center:

  • The restaurant will be supplied with vegetables and fruits grown by local farmers;
  • The restaurant and the guest rooms will be furnished with handicraft creations produced by groups of women from the project area (tablecloths, vases, coversheets, etc.).This component has been launched at the beginning of 2016.

Khushali Project

Since mid-2011, IFPD is supporting an integrated health, education and income generation project in Madanpur Khader (MPK), a slum resettlement area in South Delhi. The project is named Khushali (meaning "well-being" in Hindi) and focuses on youth and their families. It is implemented by Agragami India, IFPD's local partner organization.

Thanks to the work accomplished since 2011 and to Agragami's networking efforts, the health component has become autonomous and is being supported by a local medical school.
The other project components include the following activities:

Education

The education component focuses on three groups: children in primary school, adolescents, and adult women.

  • Catch-up Classes: these classes are aimed at children who lack the fundamentals and are at risk to drop out of school. The remedial classes ensure that they acquire the basic Hindi, arithmetic and English that they need for middle school.
  • Children's Activities Centres (CACs): the children of Madanpur Khader have little access to books or organized activities that develop imagination and self-expression. To fill this gap, IFPD and Agragami have set up CACs as part of the current activities of the Khushali project. The CACs give children of Madanpur Khader, who are underprivileged in so many ways, an opportunity to read and develop creative skills in a safe environment.

To learn more about the CACs, please click here.

CAC-2

  • Basic Literacy for Women: 51% of women in Madanpur Khader have not had any education. Some of these women therefore wish to "go back to school". Many say they want to be able to read, write and calculate so that they can help their children with school work. From October 2015, the basic literacy courses have been expanded so that women from all project areas are able to join.
  • Open School/Open University: adolescents and adults, who have dropped out of the formal education system and wish to pursue Open School or Open University, are assisted in applying and preparing for admission.

Income Generation

This component provides adolescents aged 15-19 years with (a) information on employment and livelihood opportunities, (b) improved access to training opportunities that increase their chances for employment, and (c) the ability to identify opportunities for self-employment/income generation, as well as the training and funds they would need to start a micro/small business and connect with markets.

  • Livelihood Resource Centre: a simple resource centre with books and an Internet connection is being set up, so that young people can access information related to employment and training opportunities. They will be provided with the guidance they need to choose opportunities fitting their abilities and interests.
  • Employer Contact Program: the aim is to develop collaboration and agreements with major local employers concerning jobs for which they are recruiting – as well as the expected qualifications, experience and skills – and to arrange for boys and girls from Madanpur Khader to train for these job opportunities.
  • Self-Employment Program: following an analysis of market potential as well as current production of goods and services in the intervention area, information on potential opportunities are shared with adolescents who are interested in being self-employed.

 

Royal Seal of Approval for the Khushali Project

On 30 April 2012, the Duke of York, His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, visited the Khushali project. The Duke was on an official visit to India between 30 April and 6 May 2012, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen of England on the occasion of her 60th Diamond Jubilee as a monarch. During his visit, he was informed about the project and its objectives. He also interacted with the population, including youth and children.

In the photograph, the Duke and his entourage are in a main street of Madanpur Khadar. The lady behind the Duke is Ms Rekha Masilamani, the Secretary of the Executive Committee of Agragami, IFPD's counterpart in the Khushali project.

Between 2001 and 2012, IFPD financed and developed an integrated health, education and income generation project in Bandra East, a slum area in Mumbai (India). The project was known under the name WIN (Women of India Network) and was implemented by the Centre for the Study of Social Change (CSSC), IFPD's partner organization in Mumbai. WIN covered about 100,000 slum dwellers; its focus was on women and children. WIN was aimed at providing women living in slum settings with the means to better handle their responsibilities and meet their own and their children's needs.

To this effect, health care information and services (including sexual and reproductive health), vocational training (tailoring, embroidery, jewellery making, etc.) as well as the creation of income generating activities and savings groups were considered essential and complementary implementation tools. The main objective was to set up a combination of services – with health centres serving as "entry points" – that resulted in improving the situation of families living in extreme poverty through empowering women.

In 2004, IFPD created an innovative sponsorship system in Switzerland to finance WIN health centres. Sponsoring a WIN health centre represented an affordable, direct and personal way to grant women and children in the slums of Mumbai much needed support. WIN sponsorships allowed donors to take part in well-targeted activities that benefitted an underprivileged community in a concrete and efficient way.

  • To see an excerpt of the film IFPD produced on the WIN project in Mumbai, please click here
  • To read IFPD's final report on the WIN project in Mumbai, please click here.