HOW WE WORK
The Anganwadi Project has worked within a range of informal settlement communities around Ahmedabad for over 10 years. The majority of these slums are well established within the urban fabric of the city. The largest, Ramapir No Tekro, comprises a population of over 100,000 people within a 1km radius, made up mostly of families who have moved from remote rural areas in search of work.
Today, through government attention some slums have access to electricity, water, sidewalks, and a gutter system. However, many slum-dwellers continue to live in the same cycle of despair and poverty due to health issues including addiction, cultural traditions and superstitions, high-interest loans and illiteracy. Incomes are derived from driving rickshaws, rag picking, cleaning homes, shining shoes, and working as potters or day labourers.
Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh
In 2018 TAP formed a new partnership with the Spanish/Indian NGO, Rural Development Trust (RDT) who wanted to use TAP’s anganwadi expertise to design and build anganwadis for rural villages in the state of Andhra Pradesh, southern India. The project is centred around the small regional city of Anantapur which has a population of approximately 400,000; the anganwadis will be constructed in surrounding villages.
Within these villages agriculture is the predominant business for families living here. There are high proportions of people from both scheduled tribes (minorities) and scheduled castes (previously ‘untouchables’) in these communities. Literacy levels are low, especially amongst women. The climate is hot and dry and the Anantapur area is regularly in drought which can make it difficult for farming communities to sustain themselves.
The community is our client. Our volunteers work closely with families and our local partner organisations to understand their education and health needs while learning the dynamics of that particular neighbourhood.
On a daily basis volunteers engage with the local families and the children within their communities. Spending several months on a project, volunteers have time to build enduring relationships and to fully understand the cultural context in which they work. This is vital for the local community to feel a sense of ownership of the project. It allows the volunteers to design a preschool that is fully responsive to the specific site context and community expectations.
Each anganwadi incorporates a main classroom space, kitchenette, toilet and washing facilities, storage and outdoor play space or garden. TAP places an emphasis on passive design solutions, durability and an innovative use of local materials and skills.
Local tradespeople are employed and our volunteers are present on site daily to administer the contract to ensure the design intent is met. Local community members are always eager to help in building, sourcing materials, painting and tiling. Local artisans also contribute to some of the final finishing work.
For our volunteers, this experience is vastly different from project experience back home as they discover new ways of communicating and juggling obstacles unique to working in India.
TAP is committed to the life of each preschool built. Ongoing evaluation, maintenance and repair of the existing preschools is allocated within our annual budget and is carried out by our volunteers every season.