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MAHILA CHETNA

Mahila Chetna Manch (the Forum of Awakened Women)  is a forum for underprivileged women from the slums, which addresses various issues like economic, social and habitat related problems. The ultimate objective is empowerment of women through formation of thrift and credit groups.

Mahila Chetna is a strong association of poor and marginalized women from the community that seek redressal of grivences through a Rights Based Approach. They work for procurement of their basic facilities and amenities which have been denied to them. INDCARE has provided them with the power of knowledge, self-esteem and the will to succeed, through the medium of various trainings, exposure visits and capacity building programmes.

Today, members of Mahila Chetna themselves plan activities with regard to problems prevailing in their communities and execute it on their own. Social Organizers within the community work with the members of Mahila Chetna for support and guidance. The members of Mahila Chetna now pay visits to different government departments, conducting meetings with their elected area representatives and liason with various other departments. They mobilise for taking action against any injustice or malpractice being carried out in their area. For this they stand together and raise their voice against corruption in the delivery system in their area. They have fought for rationing, electricity, water, roads, sanitation and schooling for their children. Their unity has now started yielding results for the efforts made by them.

Successes

  • Mahila Chetna Forum has filed first petition in India with the National Human Rights Commission for equitable use of land, access to land and land resources for housing,making INDCARE the first agency in the nation to challenge land right issues for migratory workers.
  • While showing their solidarity to access land rights, women members actively fought cases in Delhi High Court against unlawful demolition of Meera Bagh, Shankar Garden and Posangipur slums.
  • A pioneer in India by creating women Self Help Groups by providing linkages for micro finance in the area of housing through Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, Ministry of Women and Child Development, for an amount of INR 40 lakhs for housing through the use of appropriate and sustainable technologies
  • Accessed Master Plan of 2001 to know areas that are under the deconstruction policy of the Govt of India.
  • Empowered women by enabling them with the necessary tools to fight for urban housing rights and fundamental rights by recognising housing and adequate shelter as a critical issue for women empowerment
  • Influencing of policy by creating forum of women to demand a pool of funds/credit line for Shelter Rights

Urban Housing Rights through Women Empowerment
For access to Housing Loan, INDCARE Trust advocated with various financial institutions and availed Rs 40 Lakh as a loan from Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD). It has been the first time that Government has channelized resources to an NGO for urban housing rights. Over 100 households that belong to the relocated area of National Capital Territory of Delhi have availed the loan under the scheme. With the security of a roof over their heads, families can look forward to having a secure future for their families and children.

For the woman living in the slums, the threat of eviction is omnipresent, even as she faces the brunt of a hostile environment at the same time. She constantly faces the trauma of eviction which hangs over her head like a Damocles sword. For this purpose, INDCARE has started to prepare  the community for alternate relocation plans by helping them to interact with land owning agencies. The women of Mahila Chetna are thus, empowered and aware women who know how to meet the future. The checklist of the do's and dont's are provided to them after consultation with the community.

Housing and Shelter Rights are the realization of the vision of an individual to decent shelter in order to live a life with dignity. Mahila Chetna works towards fuller realization of human dignity by respecting and promoting human rights to adequate housing. The approaches for capacity building are carried out in the form of shelter training programs/ workshops beneficial for gathering information on land rights, various issues like security of tenure, affordability, habitability and cultural appropriateness. During the process , Mahila Manch  also facilitates possible strategies and solutions to gain skills and knowledge necessary to provide comprehensive housing advice/ homelessness, gender land rights, discrimination land rights, discrimination of access to shelter by disabled, etc. During the workshops women are given an insight on the prevailing schemes on land allocation/ rights etc. The main objective of capacity building is to form effective housing- rights campaigns at local and national levels to provide mutual and reciprocal support throughout the region.

INDCARE's IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY - EXAMPLE OF SHINGARI

Shingari's New Home

Shingari was relocated to Hastasal in West Delhi two years ago. Her colony has 4000 households in 5 blocks. When she came to this area, there were no roads, no toilets, no transport, no dispensary, no schools and electricity. INDCARE has provided her with a loan of Rs.35,000/- for the construction of her house along with the requisite cost effective technology. Her husband being a mason, was also trained on low cost housing technology for the construction of the house. Through this effort, the local community people started replicating the model. INDCARE has been assisting the urban poor for building more houses through community participation.

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