See an interview with Jal Daruwalla, Elaine Ghosh’s brother-in-law, after Parinaam was announced the Asia-Pacific regional winner of the FT/Citi Urban Ingenuity award.
Article on Parinaam Foundation in FT Urban Ingenuity special edition:
"The UUPP was Ghosh’s passion– an intensive combination of social projects established in 2009 that has helped about 750 severely deprived families in eight of the southern Indian city’s grimmest slums". Read More.
On the 10th of December, Parinaam Foundation was named the Asia-Pacific winner for the 2013 Financial Times and Citi Ingenuity Awards: Urban Ideas in Action programme. The Award highlights Urban Ideas in Action and was developed to recognise leaders, teams, organisations and community groups who have developed innovative solutions to urban challenges that benefit cities, citizens and urban communities. To read more on the winners and award, please click here.
Elaine believed that every human is entitled to equal opportunities. The Urban Ultra Poor Program was her brainchild. Never a woman to take the easy route, she made a decision to help the poorest of the poor, the people we all know exist but very few of us are able to help. In India, they are migrant laborers, street cleaners, garbage collectors, unemployed mothers with infants, or women whose husbands refuse to let them out of the house to work. She believed that helping them with only one intervention would not make the change they required to turn their fortune and her unique approach was tackling their issues holistically and helping every person in the household.
The challenge with this approach is that every human is different and the team has to identify their unique problems and tackle them accordingly. Very few of them have any form of identification, we work to get them the documents they require to simply prove they exist. They have little knowledge of hospitals and medical care available for them, we conduct health camps and handhold them through hospitals and doctors. They lack the confidence to get a full time job or demand basic labour rights, we mentor and teach them how. We help them understand how to save some money for a rainy day or just sign their name so they can eventually open a bank account and transact. If a husband is an alcoholic or abusive we help him understand that there is much more to life and he needs to look after his family and be the man of the household. Finally, the children, who are not going to school because their parents do not believe in education, we create an interest in learning through our tuition centers and then enroll them into school. Elaine always said the children would be the ones that will eventually move their families out of poverty and give them a home they can be proud of.
She wrote, "If you could see the smile on a well-dressed woman's face when she is able to go to an ATM machine or enter a micro finance company as a customer, you would understand the impact. She has never experienced such a day. She sits on a chair, is offered snacks and tea, receives her first micro finance loan directly into her bank account…this day she is empowered. She now looks forward, beyond her memories of a year ago when her children ran about half naked, her husband drank himself silly and beat her up at the slightest provocation, the days when she scrambled to put food in her children's mouths or they died of the slightest illness because she had no money to pay for healthcare. I feel incredibly proud of the work our Urban Ultra Poor Program team has done to change these lives."
It was unthinkable to her that this program would go into "cold storage". She taught and mentored her team well and they will never let that happen. Not only because of her, but because they have seen and understood the difference they can make in the families and most especially in the children. They know that there is only one way to go - forward.
The Parinaam Team would like to thank The Financial Times and Citi for recognizing our Program. We have worked tirelessly since 2009 to understand what is required to make a change. Every day brings us a new discovery on what more we can do and we are grateful that we will now have the support, largely thanks to this prestigious award, to be able to support more and more families and hopefully play our small part in ensuring that we no longer live in cities where people are forgotten...invisible.
Media on the award:
Elaine Ghosh speaks about change and her inspiration for Parinaam's Urban Ultra Poor Program:
Elaine Ghosh talks about Parinaam’s The Urban Poor Program at The Singapore FT/Citi Gala Dinner for Asia-Pacific nominees to further dialogue on urban challenges and solutions
Article in the Financial Times, 23 July 2013:
"Bangalore's LRDE slum sits wedged between an area of well-to-do middle-class houses and the striking, angular glass buildings of Bagmane Technology Park. Entirely hidden from the surrounding streets, even the name seems an afterthought, taken from the acronym for an Indian government research body located just down the road.
"Duck down an alleyway, however, and a mud track leads to about 300 dwellings, many little more than tarpaulin sheets strung over wooden struts. The residents are India's forgotten: "ultra-poor" families of migrant labourers, many living on less than $1.25 a day. It is, in short, a grim scene. But it was just the sort of place Elaine Ghosh was looking for..." Read More.
To Read the full issue Click here.