“Holistic Transformation of Slum”
Cause & Inspiration:
It all starts with those days when we have moved to our newly constructed ‘Divya Darshan Bhawan’ a building of Brahma Kumaris Rajyoga Meditation Centre, Navragpura, Ahmedabad. I found that there is a slum where around 3500 people live just near to Divya Darshan Bhawan. The slum locality was like other locality entrapped in problems of sanitation, garbage and many other issues. Further, slum people were engraved in habits of smoking and tobacco chewing. Over the period, I learnt that even their children are addicted to bad habits of tobacco and pan-masala. Various socio-economical limitations had prevented education of many of these children especially of girls’.
These children used to bunk municipal school classes and roam here and there. Unlike other society members, for me, it was disappointing to observe slum children, some of them are half naked, playing daily across the street and spoiling their future. Those innocent faces who are carrying smiles but crying for something which was a bit difficult to figure out.
Though, since 25 years I have dedicated my life to God and associated with Brahma Kumaris for spreading of the Godly knowledge. Brahma Kumaris is engaged in enormous social activities and providing spiritual life many people across the globe. However, so far it has not reached to slum people or targeted slum people.
One burning feeling was the fact that “These Hungry stomach can’t be filled with only spiritual knowledge, they need something beyond”. This realization had created turmoil inside and driven me to take an initiative of transforming the locality in a very different and holistic way. I was aware that such activity is not being done so far by any centre of Brahma Kumaris, nor they are aware of how to conduct such activity. It took me long to prepare myself for taking this decision but inner faith in God and desire to serve these slum children made everything possible.
Transforming challenges into opportunity:
While I stepped into this field, I realized that “even social service is challenging”. Many hurdles raised when I started this task. Misconceptions about Brahma Kumaris and fear of religion transformation inside these people were major concerns. Further, when it comes to educating these children, searching volunteers was also a big task. I could envision the expenses that will be incurred throughout the project.
Though this project was not a CSR project but many “Good Human Being” considered it as a “Personal Social Responsibility” and supported this project.
Benefit to the people:
Since, November 2014, I have started this slum transformation project along with few dedicated volunteers. I have summarized the activities which we had carried out in the past year.
We are providing schooling education along with moral values to around 180 children daily for one and half hour since 16th November 2014. Through this project, extracurricular activities like drawing, singing, dancing and crafting are being taught to interested children at free of cost. Educational trips to science city, summer camps, cultural programmes and creative workshops are routinely being organized to help these children flourish from inside.
For unemployed youth, we have started daily education of Spoken English and Computer. Since, last 6 months, we have initiated elderly education for women living in the slum. Around 35 women from the slum have joined this program and they come daily in the afternoon to learn basic aspects such as reading and writing local language i.e. Gujarati and English.
We observed tremendous transformation in the children. Around 80% children dropped the habit of tobacco and pan-masala. They have also stopped using abusive language.
- Medical Camps: We have organized various free medical camps of polio vaccination, paediatrics, dentist, dermatologist, psychologist, cardiologist, physician, gynaecologists and also distributed free medicines to them. Around 500 people from slum got benefited from these camps.
- De-addiction: Around 50 people from slum had benefited from de-addiction camp (some of them are children). They dropped habits of alcohol consumption, tobacco and pan-masala.
- Food: Because of economical disturbance, these children don’t even get proper food to eat and hence they are malnourished. We realized this and started offering free “Divya Khichdi” to them on every Saturday and Prabhu Prasad on every Thursday.
Saving Habits and Financial Stability:
To inculcate the habit of savings in children as well as in their parents and in turns to bring financial stability, we introduced “Small savings RD scheme in collaboration with Indian Post”. In this scheme, suppose a child saves Rs.100 per month then equal amount is being contributed by his/her parent and equal from our side which comes to Rs.300 per month. Around 50 accounts has been opened till now and it’s still going on.
The entire project is not being sponsored by CSR but by PSR (Personal Social Responsibility). What is rewarding to me is nothing else but happiness of these small divine angels and their family members. Their blessings are making this possible.
Detailed activities can be found from the following link; Facebook, Google Blog, YouTube
In Godly Service,
Mobile No: +91-9427311992
‘Divya Darshan Bhawan’,
3, Lalitkunj Society, Part – 2,
Opp. H. L. Commerce College Hostel Bus Stop,
Navrangpura, Ahmedabad – 380009