On September 19th, we walked into the CM, Sheila Dikshit’s residence( thanks to a meeting fixed by my friend, Kanika Mathur, and her mother, Mrs Rajni Mathur) to describe the Growth-for-All model, and seek her advice for using this in Delhi. We hardly thought things would move so fast. But, the CMO quickly arranged for us to meet various stake-holders and before we knew it, we were in Savda Ghevra.
( As an aside, I must add that all our interactions with the CMO have been so dynamic that it goes contrary to popular perceptions that governments move slowly. Just about everyone-Principal Secretary to CM, Mr P.K Tripathi; Addnl Secretary to CM, Mrs Alka Diwan; Jt Secretary, Mr Kulanand Joshi; SuperintendentBhagidari, Mr Manoj Jain-has completely welcoming and responsive)
Its been an hectic, but energizing period for the team at Growth-for-All. We’ve spent the past few months creating the building blocks that will give shape to our ‘movement’ that helps achieve inclusive’ growth & faster socio-economic development through an integrated, scaleable model.
Thanks to the CM’s Office, we’ve had the opportunity to launch our first pilot project at Savda Ghevra, the large re-settlement colony in North-West Delhi. Several week-ends and holidays were spent at Savda Ghevra, and it soon became apparent that this would be truly a test-case for the Growth-for-All model, which believes that each poor neighborhood or local community needs to have multiple ‘inputs’ dove-tailed simultaneously: livelihood, health, education, women’s empowerment, and whatever else is required.
With most Savda Ghevra families desperately looking for livelihood, this became the first focus for Growth-for-All. We quickly introduced Dr Reddy’s Foundation (DRF)to the community, and their livelihood program for the first batch of youth got underway. Three months from now, 100-150 youngsters will find jobs in hospitality, retail, sales, customer service, and auto repair. Repeat batches will then begin. A big ‘thank you’ to the dedicated, committed team at DRF-Amit Sharma, Sunil Sharma, and Gaurav- who’ve spent countless hours and road-miles with us, giving shape to this.
Meanwhile, I was joined by two exciting people as full-time members of the team- Shakti Callikan, and Mathew Mathai. My 3-month-long search for the ideal team-mates had ended, with Shakti and Mathew coming on-board, in February.
Our collective energies are now deployed in exploring a range of micro-enterprise options for the residents of Savda Ghevra, especially women. These include – carpet weaving, food products, assembly of kitchen appliances, running sales kiosks, offering community services, BPO services, and lots more.While livelihood programs get underway, detailed blueprints have been drawn up for upping the ante on health services - additional doctor(s) and clinic(s), specialized health camps and consultation, an ambulance service. In education, innovative education formats for school drop-outs, and adult illiterates are being explored.
While basic, and tangible areas like livelihood, health and education are vital priority, the socio-cultural environment cannot be ignored. Hence, Music & Sports - as a means of recreation & enjoyments, as well as away of building self-confidence and camaraderie. My friend, Hemu Javeri, flew down from Mumbai one week-end, to commit his support for a Music academy where 100 or more young girls will be provided formal training in music. The really-talented ones will be given special, individual coaching, as well as scholarships.
Watch out for more updates from Savda Ghevra as these programs get rolled out. And also, from Alwar district where our second- rural- project gets underway soon.