Delhi is home to more than 7 million children and adolescents. Close to 50% of them live in slums and unauthorized resettlement colonies. Jagdamba Camp, where Swechha works, is a slum community originally intended to be temporary, located in the middle of Delhi’s richest localities. It is more than 30 years old and is built around an open drain. Residents of Jagdamba Camp have migrated to Delhi from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. Harsh living conditions in this slum and the absence of opportunities, role models, family and community support makes the transition from adolescence to adulthood difficult. Many young people take up jobs that are perceived as ‘demeaning’ by society and they find it impossible to question and change societal/cultural norms and views related to their employment. Many girls start working as domestic helpers at a very young age. They lack the basic education and skills to get better employment or create their own livelihoods.
Swechha began in 2000 as a young people’s campaign to raise awareness about pollution in the River Yamuna and on youth participation and active citizenship. It has three active themes: Environment and Education, Youth and Civil Society, and Governance and Active Leadership. Their mission is to inspire, support and create a just, equitable and sustainable society. Their 8 current programs include Pagdandi, a community based non-formal alternative learning program for children and adolescents of Jagdamba Camp. These programs focus on education, empowerment and employability, with the vision to supplement formal education, help youth become empowered and increase their employability by developing their knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes. Swechha has active linkages to the market through their various programs (for example, Green the Gap produces and markets upcycled products made by community workers or other small producer groups in high-end locations, see www.swechhastore.com). The Executive Director, Vimlendu Jha is a dynamic leader, who has built the organization after working at CNN as a video volunteer for many years. The program coordinator, Deeksha Bhatia began her career in advertising and has worked on the programmatic development of all of Swechha’s verticals since 2012.
EMpower’s 4th grant to Swechha will enable (20-30) girls and (4-6) mentors to create and implement change about restrictions, mobility and public safety within their own communities through starting an Adolescent Girls Learning Community in Delhi.
Primary Location: New Delhi
Funded Since: 2014
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.