1. Project Dignity
According to the latest census data, at least 636 million Indians lack toilets especially in rural areas, and this crisis contributes to disease. Project Dignity commenced in 2014 to address this need and has concentrated in building toilets in schools and other organisations in various districts of West Bengal. We acknowledge with thanks the support of SI East London to Project Dignity.
Repair of Toilets
• In the first year, SI Calcutta built /repaired toilets for Chokdighi Prathamik Vidyalaya at Sirakole, South 24 Paraganas , as well as for 2 crèches run by Women’s Co-ordinating Committee at Agra and Bhobla, Ghatal Sub Division in West Midnapore District.
• In 2015, there was a collaboration with Society for Heritage and Ecological Resources (SHER) for construction of 2 toilets for girls at the Dayapur P. C. Sen School at Gosaba, South 24 Paraganas in the Sundarbans area.
• In 2016, repair of existing toilets and construction of septic tank will be carried out at the outdoor medical facilities for the underprivileged run by Shree Sarada Asram, Goyespur , Raghunathpur Post , Nadia District.
Sanitary Awareness Programmes
In January 2016 , SI Calcutta addressed the problem of lack of awareness regarding good sanitation habits, and collaborated with Research Institute for Human and Agricultural Development (RIHAD) for a Workshop on Sanitary Awareness at Daria Jamuna Laxmi Narayan High School at Canning, South 24 Paraganas District. The target group were the School Management and 100 senior school students. RIHAD had earlier conducted a survey and found that even though several schools had adequate toilets, these were not much used as they were associated with uncleanliness and lacked basic facilities such as water , cleaning materials etc. The workshop addressed all these issues and was successful in projecting the toilet as a clean and friendly place.
Sanitary awareness programmes for women with emphasis on menstrual habits were held at the following locations:
• April 2017: Workshop for ASHA workers at Kakdwip Block , South 24 Paraganas , West Bengal, which is situated at the periphery of the Sundarban area.
• July 2017: Workshop for Self Help Groups at Canning 2 Block , South 24 Paraganas , West Bengal.
• January 2018: Workshop for senior students of Sevanagar Balika Vidyalaya ,Gotalabad,South 24 Paraganas , West Bengal.
2. Green Umbrella Project
The Green Umbrella project of NASI commenced at Sujata Devi Vidyamandir in 2015 with the planting of colourful leafy shrubs in the school compound by the schoolchildren and members of SI Calcutta. The children were made aware of the importance of a green environment.
Subsequently, the Project continued at the Alipur Women’s Correctional Home from August 2016. The project had the following objectives
a) The open spaces would be beautified with planting of trees such as deodar etc. This would obviously have a beneficial effect on the surroundings as well as the environment.
b) Vegetable patches would be created where seasonal fruits and vegetables would be grown. The inmates would be trained in basic gardening and would have the responsibility of looking after the patches.
a) The land would be productively utilised and there would be increase in greenery which is very necessary for environmental sustainability
b) Through gardening, the inmates would be occupied in an activity which was not only therapeutic, but would also help them to learn a new skill which would be useful after their release. Gardening is considered an effective therapy for mental and emotional peace, tranquillity and stability.
c) The vegetables which are grown would be used in the preparation food for inmates of the Correctional Home.
The project ran successfully in 2016-17 under the supervision of an experienced gardener appointed by SI Calcutta. 64 young Deodar saplings were planted, and vegetables such as brinjals, bhindi, tomato , cauliflower and seasonal greens were successfully grown.