One of our largest projects has been the Water ATM to supply purified water at low cost. The Panchayat provided the land and ensured water supply. We hired a water purification company that purifies and monitors water safety. The facility is now available in 4 villages. For the residents, safe and clean water is available at Rs 5 per can of 20 litres. Where we estimated an average of 50 water cans sold per day, we are seeing the use at 300 cans per day. Most of the villagers choose this water for drinking and for cooking. We are seeing an almost immediate reduction in water-borne diseases.
With alcoholism being a severe social problem, we began intervention in 2023 with a meeting organised by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The attendees were made aware of the AA centre in our neighbourhood, and de-addiction treatment and support available to them. As of 2023, 25 parents are in this programme.
Many families in the community lived in tiny sheds with a sheet roof. Some of them owned the plot, on which this shed stood. We began to support them in the construction of houses. The labour for construction came from the families and the immediate community. We sought donations for material like bricks, sand, cement and paints. Many families, who didn’t own a site, began to seek government schemes that make provision for it. As of 2020, we have built 56 houses.
EVENING STUDY CENTRE.
We began the evening study centre for children attending two government schools in our community. Between Monday and Saturday, every afternoon the children make their way to our centres - we have two centres, one each at our School and Childcare Centre. They are first given a nutritious snack, before any lessons or homework is offered. They also received English lessons from our teachers. We also provide them with the educational material they need at school. Once these children complete 10th standard, we support them financially for further education.
For children in the community who do not attend our school, we run evening tuition and summer camps. We also work with the neighbourhood schools, offering teacher training support. Financial support for 200 children in 50 schools has been enabled through the Rahim Educational Sponsorship Project.
For children studying in government schools, we have a computer-on-wheels programme. We take a bus equipped with a computer lab twice a week to them for computer lessons. The bus was donated by REVA University.
& WELFARE SCHEMES.
We support the community through various public health programmes. Medical camps are a regular feature on our calendar and include eye check-ups, general heath check-ups and dental check-ups. We extensively use the format of street plays to generate awareness on social ills like smoking and drug use, in support of the girl child, and even awareness about the COVID pandemic. These street plays see enthusiastic participation from our own student community.
We also support the community in availing government schemes that they are eligible for, like the Ayushman Bharat Health Card (3 days pre-hospitalisation and 15 days post-hospitalisation coverage), and pension schemes for disabled, widows and the elderly. Some welfare schemes are tailored for professions such as construction work, and we have helped several residents register for these support schemes.
We organise medical, dental and eye camps regularly for early detection of any disease. These camps are for the entire community, and include tests for heart health, memory loss etc.
CONSTRUCTION OF PLAYGROUND.
A nearby quarry, where the grandparents of our school children used to toil and sweat to break stones, was filled up with garbage over the decades. It was closed and lying unused. We decided to convert it into a playground for the community. The area is spread over 6 acres of land, and we had to fight the land mafia to ensure that it remained for public use. The community, the local government, and the village panchayat decided to give all rights of developing the land for the community to Shishu Mandir. Now every morning around 300 people use it for walks and exercises. Three or four schools in the vicinity also use it for their students. We have created a volleyball ground and a running track there. It is the only open ground between ITI Gate and Hoskote, a distance of about 15 km, and has been highly welcomed by the community. We have hired one maintenance staff for the ground, whose salary is borne by us.