KHUSHALI Remedial education, vocational skills, livelihoods and income-supplementation activities, and hygiene and sanitation.

PROJECT: KHUSHALI Remedial education, vocational skills, livelihoods and income-supplementation activities, and hygiene and sanitation.
Duration: 2012–ongoing
Location: Madanpur Khadar, NCR Delhi; and Bodh Gaya block, Gaya district, Bihar

Donor funding for the Khushali project ended in September 2018 (please see ‘Past Projects’ for a discussion of project Phase 1:2012–2015, and Phase 2: 2015–2018). Thereafter, selected aspects of the project have continued in the National Capital Region (NCR) Delhi, and in Bodh Gaya block in Gaya district of Bihar and the activities have been funded by Agragami itself.
Project activities continuein the NCR in the low-income urban settlement of Madanpur Khadar, while activities in Bihar are focused on the peri-urban and rural areas of Bodh Gaya town, and in ten adjoining villages in Gaya district.
Project inputs are based on the most pressing needs in the intervention areas:

  • Early childhood education
  • Vocational skills development
  • Livelihood and income supplementation activities
  • Hygiene and sanitation education

Early Childhood Education
The preschool, located in the low-income settlement of Madanpur Khadar, NCR Delhi was started in 2016. Children, aged between three to five, spend three hours a day [Monday to Friday]learning through play.
They also acquire social skills here, and are prepared in other ways for admission to primary school at age five. Most of the children come from homes where parents are uneducated, and are therefore in great need of the inputs that they get at the preschool.

Remedial classes for children from classes 1 to 5
Children—mostly school-going, but others too—who need to catch-up with/or acquire reading, writing, and numeracy skills (to class 5 level) attend our remedial classes.

We run two classes in the morning (9 a.m. to 12 a.m.),and two in the evening (2 p.m. to 5 p.m.). About 60 children in all, attend these classes. Most of these children are in regular primary schools, but are unable to keep up with school-work. Our aims are:

  • First, to help all of them understand the course material
  • Second, to help the school-going children catch-up to speed with their class
  • Always, to motivate all of them to not drop out of school

Vocational Skills Development
Tailoring and beauty culture

Work skills in these two areas—tailoring and beauty culture—are very useful, as they provide girls and women the opportunity to earn from home, while giving them the option to take up a part-time or full-time job if they choose to.
We found that most of the women and girls trained by the project in Madanpur Khadar, used the skills acquired to work and earn from home, while some have sought employment outside Madanpur Khadar.
The Bodhgaya Hotel School

This is aunique ‘training hotel’ for rural students from Bihar interested in gaining employment in the hospitality industry. Students who successfully complete the course are certified by EHL smile from Switzerland and are supported to ensure employment.

Livelihood and Income Supplementation Activities

In all,one hundred and ninety six poor families from the 10 intervention villages in Bodh Gaya block have taken up livelihood and income-supplementation activities such as kitchen gardening, growing mushrooms, and rearing goats and pigs.

Agragami supports these families with knowledge inputs to start these activities,and there after supports them to improve productivity. The households are helped to link-up with the government’s agricultural, horticultural and veterinary schemes for the poor. Market linkages are also developed to enable sale of produce.

Income from these activities varies from family to family, depending on how many activities are undertaken, and how much space, time and money is invested in the purchase and care of the kitchen garden/the mushroom starter bags/the goats and pigs.

The project has found that rearing goats and pigs generates more revenue, than does kitchen gardening or growing mushrooms.
In the twelve-month period ending March 2021:

  • The median annual income generated by these activities was Rs 4,679
  • The top 5 per cent of earners generated over Rs 11,703
  • The top 25 per cent,generated Rs 7,631

Hygiene and Sanitation
Municipal workers sweep up garbage in ward 15.

Fifty-five MahilaSafaiSamuh(women’s groups for sanitation) have been formed in every street in four wards of Bodh Gaya town in Bihar. Each group holds a meeting every month. These meetings are facilitated by Agragami staff, who provide the members with information and know-how.

The members learn about aspects of personal and environmental hygiene and sanitation—hand-washing with soap, purification of drinking water, use of toilets, avoidance of open defecation, and appropriate disposal of household garbage—at these meetings.

Agragami staff also teach the members how to act in concert to advocate for, and obtain, municipal sanitation services—such as garbage collection and disposal, installation and repair of drains, and the installation of a water pump in their neighbourhood for the provision of drinking-water.