Shramik BhartiShramik Bharti is a non-profit organization registered on October 15, 1986, under Societies Registration Act of 1860. It is situated in Vikas Nagar of Lakhanpur, Kanpur and works for both urban and rural communities.
It believes in building a true democratic society. Eradication of poverty, empowerment of women, welfare of children and community’s capacity building are its main goals. The organization now has more than 90 full time professionals and 150 community based volunteers striving hard for the betterment of 125 slums and 11 blocks of Kanpur and Dehat districts of Kanpur.
The early years of its inception were very genuinely spent in identifying the problems of the community and their root causes. Right from 1986, the organization was working along with the people and for the people to better understand their priorities and the needs of the community. Based on these findings, there emerged Self Help Groups for the empowerment of people. These groups became one of the core strengths of Shramik Bharti and worked for the slums of both rural and urban areas of Kanpur. Importance was given to the creation of sanitation infrastructure and the introduction of health care facilities in these areas. From then onwards, there is no look back for Shramik Bharati. It had taken up many useful activities for the betterment of the people and the community. To cite a few, reclamation of waste land for generation of livelihood, establishing partnerships with support organizations to cater to the needs of the society, respecting people’s choices and assisting them to improve upon those areas etc.
To achieve their objectives and goals Shramik Bharti focuses on three core areas. They are Micro Finance and Livelihood Promotion, Community Health and Grass root Democracy.
Micro Finance Programs by Shramik Bharti
Under microfinance programs ‘Boond Bachat’ and ‘Self Help Groups’ Federations play an important role. Shramik Bharti started a direct money lending program in 1989 which is known as ‘Boond Bachat’. The idea behind this program is the small amount of money that is being saved initially, will gradually grow and becomes an investment one day. This program was launched in the urban slums and it slowly spread to rural areas. This micro finance program has served nearly 10,000 members in 92 villages and 62 slums of Kanpur city and districts.
On the other hand, Sharmik Bharti clubbed SHGs (Self Help Groups) to form Federations which later were brought together to form a Mutual Benefit Trust. The SHGs deposit their savings in the federation for which they are paid an interest of 6%. The federation also receives a membership fee of Rs 1000 per annum from the members. Shramik Bharti and the community representatives formed a Board of Trustees. A few SHGs came together to form clusters. The Board of Trustees and the clusters meet once in a month. They review the applications submitted for loans and sanction them. The annual deposits of the trust and the surplus fund accumulated by SHGs are utilized to distribute loans.
Livelihood Promotion Programs by Shramik Bharti
Kanpur and its surrounding areas comprise of abundant raw material to rear eri-silk worms which yield eri-silk. Once the Shramik Bharti came up with this idea, it has collaborated itself with Central Silk Board and Resham Nideshalya (Directorate of Silk, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh) for establishing Ericulture in Kanpur Dehat. Shramik Bharti implemented this program through SHGs. It has appointed three master trainers from Assam to train people in ericulture. Now there are more than 95 families involved in this program. About 60 women have been trained for the same. This silk will be exported to many places in India.
Sodic Land Reclamation
Shramik Bharti identified a few waste lands. Then farmers are categorized into Water User Groups which try to restore the fertility of these lands, so that they can be used for further cultivation. The organization is helping and supporting farmers by providing them guidance in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, health etc. This program has been implemented in more than 96 villages of Kanpur. This project includes 1148 water user groups, 207 women and 145 male self help groups. All these groups have a linking facility with the banks to get loans. This process also focuses on livestock vaccination, sanitation facilities, purchase of pump sets, adult pension and insurance schemes.
Swashakti project focuses on empowerment of women and it was started in 1998. The confidence and skill building training programs, exposure visits and information exchange programs are being conducted for women under this project which resulted in creation of micro entrepreneurs. Enterprising activities like milk processing in Usri, bulb making in Kardehi and poultry farms created employment opportunities for many women. This project enabled women to develop in all spheres and helped them to have sustained economic growth. 6555 women who were organized into 542 groups had availed the benefit through this project. Out of these groups 526 groups have accumulated savings up to Rs. 111 lakhs and could get loans up to Rs 337 lakhs from banks.
Community Health Programs by Shramik Bharti
An action research program was launched in 2002 by Shramik Bharti for the development of community health. This research led to the training of communities that take up the responsibility of health issues in their own areas. Then Shramik Bharti came up with Village Health Communities which comprise a body of 10 to 12 persons specially trained and working for the social cause. VHCs work on the health issues of the community with the help of a Village Health Guide. So far, there are 56 VHCs that are operative and they are supported by a cadre of 122 VHGs. The families of expectant mothers are being trained to handle emergency situations followed by the mother and childcare. People are also made aware of reproductive health and trained to handle issues pertaining to it.
Family Planning and Reproductive Health
Shramik Bharti gives immense importance to family planning and reproductive health issues. So far 21,355 couples have been provided with counseling and referral services. They were also guided with the importance of family planning and its methods and how to tackle mother and childcare health issues. This project is supported by Community Based Delivery workers and professionally qualified supervisors. In fact, Shramik Bharti had appointed its own doctor for attending emergency ante and pre-natal cases.
Adopt a Granny
This program of Shramik Bharti is the charity based and is supported by Helpage. Under this project, till now more than 51 senior citizens who don’t have proper livelihood and shelter are taken care of. Shramik Bharti appointed a five member committee to support such people and fulfill their basic day today needs.
Our country is still facing certain socio-economic challenges. To overcome these, community based organizations need to go hand in hand with the public organizations both at rural and urban levels. Shramik Bharti strongly believes in this principle and working hard to attend the challenges at grass root level.
Thus, Shramik Bharti as a nonprofit, non-governmental organization is striving hard to build a strong community where there are no traces of poverty and women are empowered to handle their own lives with immense confidence.