Sabarmati Samruddhi Seva Sangh (SSSS) is an official body of Archdiocese of Gandhinagar for developmental activities which was established and registered as a Public Charitable Trust as well as a Society in the year 2003 bearing Trust Reg. No. F / 1033 / Gandhinagar / July 19, 2003 & Society Reg. No. Guj / 1077 / Gandhinagar / July 19, 2003 of all people irrespective of caste, creed, race, and gender through human resource. It is a non-profit and non-government organization.
Vision & Mission of SSSS
Our vision is “called to strive for a liberated society where the values of love, equality, justice, forgiveness and fellowship are live and nurtured”.
The mission is “to restore the human dignity to the poor and the marginalized with a focus on women and youth through a process of education and empowerment”.
The organization is geared towards organizing the communities through health, education, agriculture and environmental activities.
The objectives of SSSS are as follows:
- Support and Service: To perform works of service so as to promote and facilitate integrated human development of those in need.
- Social Justice & Human Development: To engage in all such activities aimed at total development of the poor and needy and empowerment of the community though animation, legal awareness, community building programs, etc.
- Education: To support and promote all round formal and informal education, social development for people of any level and age by establishing and running of schools, colleges, institutions etc.
- Medical: To establish and sponsor medical aid and relief, hygiene, health services, counseling etc. for the poor and needy by the way of dispensaries, clinics, doctors & nurses.
- Agriculture: To foster, organize and conduct all kinds of activities in assisting the farmers to be self reliant through agricultural production, dairy, farming, cattle rearing, etc.
Demographic Profile of the Operational Areas
The five districts of the project area are situated in the Northern part of the GujaratState. Mehsana & Patan are drought prone areas, Sabarkantha has large traces of wasteland, Gandhinagar comprises of ravines and Banaskantha faces the problem of large scale desertification.
|% of total Population||56||17||27||100%|
Average Women Population – 49%
93% Women are Project Beneficiaries
Economic Situation: Agriculture and livestock rearing are the main occupations in these districts. Landless people are involved as farm laborers or are migrant laborers Their average annual income is between Rs. 12,000 – 15,000. Land holdings are small & fragmented. Very often they mortgage their lands to meet the expenses of their customs and traditions ending up in losing the land to the money lenders. Agriculture is limited by the availability of fertile land and water for irrigation purposes. Availability of fodder is a major concern for livestock owners.
Agriculture: The people of the target areas largely depend on rain fed agriculture. Majority of them have only one crop per year. Landholdings vary from less than one hectare to one hectare. Very few farmers have irrigation facilities like open wells; or purchase water for farming from well to do farmers. The average rainfall is about 345 mm. Since the monsoon is erratic, agriculture income is not steady. The failure of monsoon results in drought situation leading to migration of at least 50% of families from villages to cities in search of livelihood options. The migration period extends up to 8-10 months in acute years and these migrant laborers fall into various addictions like alcohol, prostitution etc. which has a negative impact on the health, education and social acceptance of these families.
Education: Compared to earlier times, more children are attending schools. All the villages have at least primary education facilities. All the same, there are also more dropouts either due to lack of motivation or needing more hands for farming or due to economic constraints. Though the State literacy rate is 79.31 % and men literacy rate is 87.23 %, yet literacy rate of women is only 70.73 % as per 2011 census but in the rural areas female literacy is much less compared to men Among the target districts, the lowest female literacy rate is in Banaskantha namely 49.59 %.
Social Structure: The rural life is dominated by the caste system throughout the state. In mixed villages the upper caste tends to have socio-eco dominance through control over land holdings, irrigation facilities, political decision making etc. Moreover, the resources provided by the government for the benefit of SC & ST population are also cornered by the rich and the influential people of the village. The Scheduled Tribes constitute of Katara, Kharadhi, Bhagora, Dungari Gasariya groups whereas the Scheduled Castes comprise mainly of the Dalit community. Both these groups are mostly landless or have marginal land holdings or hold unproductive land.
SSSS has been actively involved in the formation and strengthening of community based organizations. These efforts have contributed to increasing the collective bargaining power of the community. It has created models of social development where rural structures have gained access to services and entitlements.
We envisage that formed Self Help Groups (SHG) and Community Based Organization would realize the mobilization process. These groups will further provide a platform to the marginalized communities for addressing their development needs. However, SHGs would act as catalyst of change agents in the society and create a platform by involving themselves in the local governance
SHGs played a crucial role in forming a Village Development Committee in each project village. Meaningful relationship was established between Panchayat and Village Development Committees. This enabled them to actively participate in the Gram Sabha & to raise their voice collectively. This approach helped them to increase their bargaining power for their rights & livelihood.
SSSS dreams of preparing these communities towards Self- reliance whereby they own up their Integral Development and become model villages
The scenario of our women in north Gujarat is that they do not have any control over the resources and on the other hand they are oppressed by the male dominated society. They have no freedom of movement, education, choosing one’s career, taking decisions in the family matters/ society. They are discriminated and subjugated all along from birth to death. She is looked upon as a ‘worker / commodity ‘. In short, they have no freedom to be human being in the full sense.
Through the process of community mobilization, Self Help Groups (SHGs) and other collectives of women, their capacities are strengthened with the view to increase their access and control over resources and improve their own lives.
Several awareness programs and capacity building trainings were organized to increase their level of awareness, build confidence and motivate them to become vehicles of transformation through CBOs.
We facilitated emergence of several able leaders from among the women to take up community issues by involving the community. We also enabled and supported them to access government services and take support from other financial institutions to implement the development plans designed by or for the community.
The SHGs/ CBOS provided a platform for the rural women to increase their self-esteem and confidence by creating space for their decision making at the family and community levels. In this manner, the scope of women is broadened to work for the development of the community at large and families in particular.
Common diseases prevalent in our villages are TB, asthma, skin diseases, diarrhea, malaria and water borne diseases. Women are largely anemic. Reproduction and child health are major issues in the rural areas due to ignorance and superstition. The infant mortality (IMR) is 61.4% in the district of Sabarkantha, Mehsana 31.3% and it is 74.8% in Banaskantha. Maternal Mortality (MMR) rate is 36% in Sabarkantha, and 20.40% in Banaskantha district. Complete antenatal check up (ANC) is 23% in Sabarkantha, 27.6% in Mehsana and it is only 8.4% in Banaskantha district. IMR and MMR both are related to ANC. Children’s immunization is 53.2% in Sabarkantha, Mehsana 61.5% and 31% in Banaskantha district.
Distance in accessing government health services/facilities also is one of the causes of health problems. Most of the villages have to go more than 10 kms. to avail facilities of Govt. hospitals. Both sanitation and hygiene are very much neglected in these areas and the situation is still worse. Open air bathing and defecation is common in rural areas causing health hazards.
Creating awareness on health issues, sanitation, hygiene, reproduction & child health and motivating the community especially the women to access the available Govt. health facilities and schemes is the focus of SSSS. To bring out better results, through the financial support of ‘Conferenza Episcopale Italiana’ we are training Village Health Workers (VHWs) who will be instrumental in motivating the community and especially the women in health matters.
Under Global Fund support, through CBCI Health Commission, we have started Community Care Centers for HIV/AIDS patients at Mehsana and Palanpur. Under the same support, through Caritas India, we have Link Worker Scheme program in the district of Banaskantha for HIV/AIDS.
All the villages have primary schools. But after the primary education large number of children do not continue their education either because they have to travel long distance or because of financial constraints. Drop out/not enrolled rates of the children are quite revealing. Education is a neglected aspect of rural people’s life. In spite of all modern scientific advancements, rural people’s education is very low especially for girl children. People in the rural areas strongly believe that any investment in girls’ education is a loss to the family as they would be given in marriage and would be the assets of another family. People believe that girls do not bring income to the parents and so their education is neglected.
Our support for nutritious food through CRS has been availed to 3290 boys / girls of our 18 boardings. Also nutritional support and training is rendered to 51 Balwadies having 1395 children .Apart from this, children are given regular tuition classes in the boarding. Summer classes for 3 Rs – Reading, wRiting and aRithmatic and camps are arranged for Maths, English and Science. Special attention is given to students of Std Xth and XIIth to enhance their English speaking skills.
SSSS is committed to empowerment of local communities following a Rights Based Approach. Our efforts have brought in a visible paradigm shift in the communities’ thinking from silent recipient to empowered change agent demanding and enjoying rights and entitlements on the one hand and working to make duty bearers accountable on the other.
This approach has been actualized through engaging local communities on issues of self governance, MNREGA, ICDS, RTI, PDS, Forest Rights, etc.
Awareness on education of girl child and female infanticide. Legal awareness has been provided to the communities on domestic violence act.
Advocacy with district and block administration have been undertaken to bridge the gap between policy and practice. This has been affected through linkages and networking with civil society in highlighting the implementation gaps such as pending registration of job cards, approval of micro level plans, grievance redressal, malpractices, etc.
SSSS envisages that our communities become more aware of human rights violation and work collectively towards their entitlements for a dignified life.
Natural Resource Management (NRM)
NRM intervention is one of the strategies of SSSS for development since the year 2003. The focus of NRM program is to conserve, preserve and protect the precious natural resources through promotion of Integrated Watershed Management, Sustainable Agriculture programs, etc. and our approach towards it has been very ‘people friendly’ involving active participation of the people.
² 5 Pre-watershed Projects in 5 villages with the help of CRS
² 1 Pre-watershed project in 23 villages of 7 Centres supported by Caritas India
² 1 Pre-watershed project in 8 villages of 3 Centres supported by Alboan (Spain)
As a result of pre-watershed experience, SSSS planned Integrated Watershed Management Program. The target was achieved through participatory approaches such as:
² Capacity building of community & village institutions, Capacity building of SHGs
² Soil & water Conservation, Organic farming, Livestock development, Plantation
² Rural energy
SSSS trained Field Workers and village leaders on Soil and water conservation, crop patterns, different techniques on agriculture, sustainable agriculture, etc. It helped to improve the livelihood system and also reduce poverty of poor tribal families through proper management of land, water and animal resources.
Another approach was carried out through Community Based Drought Preparedness Program (CBDP) in order to provide employment to the drought victims by creating community and individual assets for soil and water conservation measures after having learnt to anticipate, cope with, resist and recover from the impact of draught. As a sustainability phase we prepared a strong team of leaders/ Structure. From among the CBOs/SHGs a 10 member Village Drought Preparedness Committee was formed which would decide, monitor, supervise, and motivate the village community to remain in a drought preparedness state. This VDPC has formed four Task Forces to carry out its responsibilities like
² Early Warning and Water Management Task Force:
² Safe Migration Task Force: In charge of health and migrating community members
² Micro Planning Task Force
² Linkage Task Force
SSSS believes that its efforts are being awarded when it finds VDPC is owning and taking responsibilities of preparedness and mitigation interventions in their Village Community to face drought on its own.
We have engaged ourselves in bringing relief to the communities during heavy rains and cyclonic waves that had affected many towns and villages of Gujarat in June 25th 2005 and had caused major damages. Narmada canal could not hold water. It washed away in some places, resulting in breakage of Canal causing flood. We were instrumental in providing services such as
- Distribution of food ration to 390 families
- Total 2000 families got 16000 workdays of labor.
- People constructed farm bunds and filled the pits in the fields
- Health camps were conducted in giving benefit to 1321 patients
Networking and Liaisoning
Area of Network (Districts)
|1||Catholic Relief Services (CRS)||Gandinagar, Mehsana, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha||Health, Watershed, Education (OCF, Balwadies & SMCS), Empowerment & Drought Management|
|2||Caritas India (CI)||Banaskantha, Sabarkantha & Mehsana||Integrated Watershed Development Program, CommunityCareCenter & Link Worker Scheme|
|3||CAPART||Banaskantha, Patan & Sabarkantha||Empowerment Training Programs|
|4||NABARD||Mehsana, Banaskantha & Sabarkantha||Training programs & Linkages for SHGs with Credit & Micro Enterprises.|
|5||Alboan||Banaskantha & SK||Pre-Watershed Programs|
|6||Conferenza Episcopale Italiana||Sabarkantha & Banaskantha||Empowering Communities on Health (ECOH)|