The Alternative Development Centre (ADC) www.altdev.org
ADC is a nonprofit trust registered in Jaipur, North West India
ADC aims to promote education, human development and wellbeing of the deprived particularly those being excluded from the present development model and rapid economic growth. Community based education, nutrition and human development of slum and street children along with empowerment and skills training like tailoring, of slum women is a priority.
India has the highest number of infant mortality or children dying below the age of five due to disease and malnutrition as well as highest number of child labor in the world, even higher than sub-Saharan Africa, and very high levels of illiteracy. Parents don’t send children to school because they prefer them to work to get income. Girls are especially not sent to school or have to drop out as they have to work at home, fetch water and firewood and look after the animals. Due to unemployment in village’s families are migrating to live in slums in cities like Jaipur in Rajasthan province which is one of the economically developed
Most of the slum communities are lowest or very low caste and our schools work with them. We also work with poor Muslim community who do not like to send the girls to school due to religious reasons. We have a school for Muslim slum girls.
When we have more funds we plan to expand the project in many more slums and organize vocational training for the older children so that they can learn skills to get employment. We have 5 teachers, on supervisor, a project manager and a director (myself).
Our board of trustees includes myself, Dr Meeta Singh; a medical doctor, Mr Premkishen Sharma; Supreme Court lawyer, who is also president of the Peoples Union of Civil Liberties in Rajasthan and Major General Mahavir Singh (retired).
At present the Centre is carrying out the following projects
1 Four Schools for Slum and Street Children in Jaipur
First school is in Valmiki Colony slum, Jyoti nagar which is inhabited by harijan or lowest caste community. The school has about 40 children. Second one is in Tonk Phatak J.D.A Park consisting of street children from the Bavaria scheduled caste. Some children are engaged in recycling plastic and working in tea shops. The school has about 30 children. Third school is under the Bais Godam bridge where the children live, which consists of mainly of Kanjar scheduled caste or very low caste and also some gadia lohar nomadic tribal community. There are about 20-25 children coming to our school. Many children have been persuaded by us to give up begging. The fourth school is in welcome colony slum Katipura road. The community is made up of poor Muslims. Here about 25 girls plus about 12 boys also attend school.
We provide one meal in the schools. Together with anther N.G.O we provide medical help through fortnightly health camps. Our approach is community based so we raise community awareness, give support like water supply and provision of water tank, medical support and we protest against police harassment. We have also set up women’s groups to discuss issues and find ways to help.
Apart from basic education we are also trying to focus on human values and psycho-social development of the children by providing loving and playful environment, building self esteem and dignity, by developing values like equality, compassion, peace, respect for the environment and creating more choices and hope in their future. We are trying to do this by songs, stories, games and affection of the teachers. We are trying to collect and develop appropriate teaching methods and aids which can be a challenge.
2 Children’s Rights Forum
The Forum has been initiated to network and bring together concerned individuals and organizations to clarify, develop understanding and advocate on issues of children’s rights in Rajasthan province. Relevant research will also be taken up. A meeting was organized on 20 November 2007 to build awareness and develop a memorandum of demands with the agreement of major civil society groups in Rajasthan and these demands were presented to the Chief Minister. A meeting of leading NGO’s was organized by us at the Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur in November 2008 to discuss the Rajasthan Government’s Child Policy, and suggest improvements in it. In another meeting of NGO’s network on children’s issues, the director of ADC was requested to be one of the two adviser to the network
3 Women’s Empowerment and Training.
Women groups have been formed to provide space for them to articulate their problems and to inform them about possibilities of change, about their rights and how they can take advantage of government programmes. We encourage them to send children to school. Many issues are related to (1) Women and children’s health particularly gynecological problems (2) Domestic violence and abuse by drunk husbands.(3) Great need is felt by women to learn skills to generate more income
We organize training for women to develop capabilities to generate income or at least enable them to make products at home for the family. First training for a month was conducted in sewing at Valmiki colony attended by 12 women. The second training was organized also for a month in Nindar Village 20 km for Jaipur for scheduled caste women numbering 15 who learnt to make food products. Now we are organizing training in tailoring for the slum women at 2 centers