In the month of April 2013, our team working with Indian Medical Association achieved a unique feat. In just under a month we conducted 108 medical camps catering to over 20,000 slum dwellers hailing from various parts of East Delhi. Medicines worth INR 22 lacs were also distributed free of cost.
Juxtapose it against the fact that this was not a stand-alone initiative but part of larger integrated project taken up to transform East Delhi into a model district and its hard not to be impressed.
In a span of over one and a half years (starting November 2012) our team has taken up a variety of initiatives ranging from conducting special classes for students, employment fairs to transforming criminals in the slums of East Delhi.
A concerted, integrated approach like this if adopted across the country can make a marked difference to the current state of urban slums.
In a span of just under two years, using a multi-pronged approach we made a difference to the lives of many living in East Delhi slums. Health, Education, Vocational Training, Reducing Crime, Women Empowerment – all critical aspects of development were touched. Bringing together diverse stakeholders to work in such varied areas to make an impact makes the effort unique.
Stress Free Workshops for MCD Teachers - Conducted for 1600 MCD teachers
Vidya - A free education camp conducted for the slum children of East Delhi
Pratibha Samman Samaroh - Organised to honor the students in slums who scored 60% and above in their 10th and 12th exams
Clean Delhi Drive - A special drive conducted, prior to Commonwealth Games, to spread awareness about keeping it clean
East Delhi Clean Park Drive - A drive conducted for parks of East Delhi to clean them of the garbage
Rozgar Mela - 3 Job Fairs were conducted, which were attended by over 300 people from various slums
Sri Sri Kaushal Vikas Kendra - A training centre being operated in collaboration with Godrej to provide women from slums Beautician training
A kit worth INR 2000 is given to all successful participants
Sankalp - Campaign to spread awareness for women’s safety undertaken by 800 volunteers collaborating with Delhi Traffic Police
Raksha Sutra Bandhan Utsav - Celebrated the festival of Rakshabandhan in a unique manner by holding 67 camps where Muslim girls tied Rakhi on the wrists of Hindu boys and vice-versa
Mahila Haat - An exhibition-cum-sale organized for women to exhibit their talents
Nari Sewa Samman - Organized to recognize women slum social workers
Disha - Behavioral Transformation Programme for prisoners in association with Delhi Police
Road Safety Training - Organized in association with Delhi Police
Utthan Prerna Awards - Presented to those working in the social sector who have been successful despite challenges
Sewa Samman Samaroh - Organized to felicitate doctors, local community leaders and volunteers for their participation in the Medical Camps
Balmiki Samaj Sewak Samman Samaroh - Organized to felicitate the Balmiki Samaj Sewaks
Eid Milan Samaroh - Organized in association with Jamia Old Boys Residents Association to engender communal harmony
Kichadi Sabha - Organized to create harmony and belongingness amongst people of all strata. Everyone brought a fist of rice and dal and it was cooked and eaten together
Jhagda Nivaran Shivir - Mitigation camps organized in association with Delhi Dispute Resolution Society to resolve the disputes among the residents of the slums
Uttarakhand Relief - Five truckloads of materials were sent for Uttarakhand Flood Relief Camps
Vote for Better India - Voter Awareness and Voter Registration Drive was conducted in association with Election Commission of India
In less than a month, free health checkup and awareness camps were conducted in 130 slums benefiting 20,600 people. 1784 volunteers and 312 doctors participated in this unique initiative. Following this, free eye and ear camps were conducted where hearing-aids, spectacles and medicines were distributed to more than one lakh patients. Several Cataract operations were also conducted free of cost. Mobile dispensary vans were deployed that covered over 100 slums twice a month giving free medicines and medical help
We used a two pronged strategy:
Building collaborations and partnerships with various NGOs, government agencies and corporates
Conducting community outreach and empowerment programs (YLTP, Nav Chetna Shivir) to ensure resident participation
The approach was simple yet powerful. The idea was to bring people together and make them owners of the change they wanted to initiate.
Stand alone initiatives focusing on particular sectors usually have a positive impact while those initiatives are active. However, the impact fizzles away soon as the external agency withdraws. By following a comprehensive approach tackling all the major issues concerning the people in an area, synergies and efficiencies can be created, and sustainable change achieved.
Integrated Community Development projects are complex and last over multiple years. This necessitates the involvement of multiple financial and technical collaborators.