Swabhimaan was started in 2001 by Venkat and Vijaya Iyer upon their return to India from the middle-east. What started as an effort to house and support abandoned girls and women in the slums grew to cover the many activities. They provide services including education, healthcare, microfinance, food and clothes distribution.
On all days except Saturday, you will find Venkat in the middle of Rajendranagara interacting with residents. Today, Swabhimaan is an established voice for the people of the slums having earned their trust through hard work.
Swabhimaan started a local clinic in the heart of the slum in 2011. Swabhimaan clinic offers consultation and basic medication free of cost. Emphasis is placed on preventative care and good lifestyle choices. Resident doctor at the Swabhimaan clinic is paid from the trust’s budget.
- Lending (Zero Interest Microfinance)
In collaboration with another trust called Lifeline, Swabhimaan extends small loans at zero interest to women (and very few young men) to be repaid over several months. Even though there is no collateral required, repayment rates are over 90%. The women use these funds to start a new venture, for home improvement or to pay the kids’ tuition.
Swabhimaan helps parents financial aid to the students. To best utilize their limited resources, they conduct diagnostic tests in English, science, math and civics just before the start of each school year. Close to 1000 students turned up for these tests in 2013. Their funds allowed them to extend support the top 90 kids amongst them in the form of tuition reimbursement. These beneficiaries are further engaged on Sundays in after school activities at the local Urdu School premises. Activities are undertaken in science, English and humanities. Children are involved in constructive competitions and encouraged to pursue their unique talents. In addition to this, Swabhimaan pay for two full-time English teachers who supplement the classes at the area public schools. Quite often, the ones taken by our teachers are the only classes conducted in these schools all day.
- Food and Clothes Distribution
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