What we do and Why
Our work flows directly from our objectives. We use our information from research and observation to design and implement relevant action.We strive to include women from the most deprived groups, from minorities and those with disabilities.It is heartening to see women who would not have interacted now working together; to see a young woman with a facial deformity gain confidence as she leads a group; to see another who is deaf and cannot speak laughing with her colleagues as she turns out beautiful crafts.We work as closely as possible with Government staff in health and education, believing that we will have a far greater impact through good relations and collaborative work. And we believe that we must constantly evaluate our own work for efficiency and impact; hence monitoring and impact evaluation are part of all we do.
Our work covers a range of areas, all of which address the issue of health in the broadest sense.
Following an intial review of the ICDS anganwadis (pre-school groups) and their functioning, we have been working with the community and the staff to improve services.In collaboration with Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) programme the Belaku Trust has established the Gelathi (Pre-School Assistant)Programme.It ensures that local pre-school children grow up healthy and get the best possible start in life. We train community women (called Gelathis,meaning ‘friend’ in Kannada, the local language) in child development, health and nutrition.
Smart Start Programme
Outside of pre-school hours, the Gelathis conduct home visits to pregnant woman and new mothers as part of the Smart Start Programme. They provide support and information so that mother and child can develop in good health and to their full potential.
Recognising that women’s empowerment is closely related to their economic self-sufficiency, we helped women to set up income-generating group activities.Women in the village of Kadahalli were trained to make paper and are now producing items like note-pads, writing paper, cards and bags as the Kirana group. A second project,Deepa in the village of Halasur trained women in block printing.A third women’s self help group,called Ushe, in the village of Achalu engages in quilting and embroidered products.
Their earnings are often the sole source of income for these women and their families. It is heartening that within a short period the women gained self-confidence, grew in the regard of the community, and initiated moves for change in their surroundings.
The groups are now associated with a Section 25 company, Hosa Belaku, that was set up by Ms Kameshwari Devi. Belaku staff members continue to work with the members of the groups on health and allied programmes.
We organize activities for children of various ages, and thus try to disseminate health,environment and gender justice issues through games,films,theatre,song, dance, painting and computer programmes.
Education and Medical Assistance Programmes
Scholarships are provided to enable girls to continue their schooling, and families with serious medical problems are given assistance with referrals/financial aid.
Loans for the procurement of goats and cows are given to women. The income generated from their livestock rearing supplements their existing finances and they are able to repay the loans.
Exposure to Culture
We believe that the facilities of the city should be made available to the people we work with.Women from the villages have visited The National Gallery of Modern Art, school children are taken to plays at Rangashankara and films,plays and discussions have been organized in the villages.
The Food Gardens have spread and are now in 3 villages. Most of the work has been done by the community and the produce is being used to supplement children’s meals at the local preschools.
We keep in mind the importance of anchoring our community action in research. We have conducted research into health and social issues with the support of UNICEF, the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, the WHO among others.