Building Collectives

A young person, be it a boy or girl, looks for a space, a safe space to explore themselves, fulfill their emotional needs and look to establish themselves claiming their basic rights. However with the family unit being unable to give the space to young people and address their needs it is important to give young people the space. The Collectives formed by Nishtha thus act as that space for exploration and uphold young people’s rights of survival, protection, development and participation. The Collectives are space for support.

Collectives known as Kishore Kishori Vahini are formed by young boys and girls in the villages that Nishtha works in.

Young women from the villages of South 24 Parganas are victims of early and child marriage. With lack of education, no life goal set as young people, they have grown up facing severe forms discrimination and violence. Domestic violence, abuse, marital rape, are situations they have to deal with every day of their life. Young women look for a space to heal and receive support.

Collectives known as the Mahila Mandals are formed by young women in the villages that Nishtha works in.

As young girls and women find their space and explore themselves in the collectives that are well positioned to play the healing and support role, they start playing the role of Changemakers. Having challenged their own situations and ensured their own rights, the Changemakers now work together to bring changes in their neighbourhood, in the lives of other young girls and women.

Young people also play the role of Watchdog as they keep a watch on children and especially girls in the community at possible risk of dropping out of school, or getting married, or trafficked.

Nishtha through their experience of forming collectives with young boys and girls and women have observed that it is important that young. Therefore work with children collectives also enables boys and girls to form Balak Balika Vahini.

All these Collectives therefore are groomed to:

  • Build team spirit within the children, young girls and women
  • Develop understanding of gender equality
  • Develop understanding of social issues such as Education, Health, Human Rights, and Environment.
  • Enable and Equip groups to transfer learning
  • Provide youth groups with advocacy skills to challenge injustice.
  • To strengthen bond with the community.
  • Build linkages between GO, NGO, CSR units for sustenance of future entrepreneurial efforts.
  • Participation and Ownership: We believe that it is essential to create a model that can be owned and managed by collectives over time. The sense of ownership and personal responsibility is of vital importance in its sustainability, and is linked with the idea of entrepreneurship.
  • Building the Neighbourhood: Young people often believe (sometimes with good reason) that real opportunities are elsewhere, and that their own community is bereft of any. They dream of eventually moving out to other “lands of plenty”. This, we feel, erodes the sense of connection with one’s own neighbourhood, and the desire to put any effort in its development. The Collectives, therefore, is conceived as a space that brings opportunities back, right into the heart of the community.