People’s Action for People in Need [PAPN] is a non-profit rural based Voluntary Organization. It was established in the year 1982 by a group of young professionals from different walks of life. It was registered under the Societies Registration Act-1860 [Act-XXI] on 16th February 1983. It is also registered under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act-1976 and the Income Tax Act of 1961. PAPN is the outcome of the idea to undertake and organise rural development, education, awareness and organisational programmes for socio-economic upliftment of the marginalised, deprived and oppressed sections of the rural and hilly communities leading to their empowerment. PAPN with initial financial support from Social Work and Research Centre [SWRC] Tilonia, Rajasthan started the interventions at the grass root level by adopting the Sangrah Development Block of Sirmour District – one of the least developed, inaccessible and remote areas of the State – for working with the local communities.
The first intervention of PAPN was aimed at understanding the needs of the people, establishing the personal contacts with the communities and knowing the problems and difficulties of the area. A socio-economic study of 500 families of the Block was conducted between July-December, 1985. This study was followed up by small field level interventions focused on educational and awareness promotion activities. The part of Shillai Development Block was included in the operational area of PAPN during the year 1989. Since then PAPN is working in 100 plus villages of both the Blocks, also known as the Trans-Giri areas of the District. Some of our present activities are the Organisation of village level women’s groups- Mahila Mandals for their empowerment, Creches for children of working women, social and economic development of women, Development of girl child programme, Organisation of self-help-groups of women and Micro credit to women for their income generation and Environmental awareness programmes etc.More…
The vision of PAPN is a society based on equality and social justice without any sort of discrimination, oppression and injustice.
The mission of PAPN is the socio-economic development/empowerment of women and the weaker sections of the rural communities including Dalits.
THE AIMS & OBJECTS:
The aims and objectives of PAPN as laid down in the Memorandum of Association and the Constitution of the Organisation are generally to promote all aspects of voluntary efforts, in evolving and developing an integrated approach, to solve the problems of developing rural communities and provide facilities for the community development of backward areas and provide adequate incentives to attract educated youths to rural development services and to undertake research work to identify the socio-economic problems and their solutions and in furtherance to the above objects;
1. to establish and maintain a Project and branches thereof for rural development in different parts as may be decided by the Governing Body of the Organisation,
2. to undertake all or any agricultural, medical, educational and other developmental and social welfare services conducive to the aims and objects of the Organisation on ‘no-profit-no-loss’ basis,
3. to undertake socio-economic programmes for the weaker sections of the community with special emphasis on women and child development,
4. to supplement the government programmes and services and seek effective public participation in planning and implementation of various developmental activities related to the aims of the Organisation,
5. to encourage university graduates and students to become aware of rural problems and to utilise their knowledge and services and thereby lessen the gap between the intelligentsia and rural communities,
6. to disseminate information regarding the aims, objectives and other activities of the Organisation, to edit, print, publish, exhibit books and pamphlets and maintain libraries etc., organise seminars bearing upon the aims of the Organisation,
7. to undertake the management and execution of all or any of the objectives of the Organisation,
8. to assist and to take assistance from and collaboration with institutions/agencies with similar activities in India or elsewhere,
9. to employ persons for carrying out the functions of the Organisation, * to acquire and dispose off property in furtherance of the aims of the Organisation and
10. to do all other lawful things as may be incidental to or conducive to the attainment of the objectives of the Organisation.
THE LOCATION & PHYSIOGRAPHY:
Sangrah Development Block is one of the six Development Blocks of Sirmour District of the northern Indian State of Himachal Pradesh. The Sirmour District lies in outer Himalayan ranges, also known as the Shivaliks Hills. The District may be divided into two parts; the Cis-Giri and the Trans-Giri. The Trans-Giri area is comparatively least developed, inaccessible with the poor socio-economic status of the inhabitants. Sangrah Development Block was emerged as Rainuka -1 on the 2nd October 1956 with headquarters at village Dadahu and in March 1960 it was shifted to Sangrah – its present headquarter. It lies in bare, brown and barren outer western Himalayans region with varying elevations rising from 2,105 feet above mean sea level at Renukaji to 12,363 feet in Choordhaar Peak. On the north Chopal Development Block of Shimla District, Rajgarh and Pachhad Development Blocks bound it in the west and Shillai Development Block with their lofty ranges falls in the east. On the south lies the Nahan and Paunta-Sahib Development Blocks of Sirmour District.
Sangrah Development Block’s crow fly length is just over 20 miles but the actual traveling in distance enhanced by various bends and curves on an area of 48,635 hectares. There are 122 villages in the Block served by 40 Gram Panchayats. The total numbers of the families in the Block are 8,653 with a population of 61,158 persons out of which over 40% population belongs to the Scheduled Castes â€“ traditionally considered as the untouchable. The entire population of the Block is inhabited in rural areas.
PROFILE OF THE PROJECT AREA:
PAPN is concentrating its programmes and activities in Sangrah and Shillai Development Blocks of the Trans-Giri region of Sirmour District [HP]. Geographically the District may be divided into two parts; The Cis-Giri & the Trans- Giri -locally known as the Giri-Vaar and Giri-Paar. Giri is the name of a river that divides the District into two parts. The most parts of the Trans-Giri are much more backward, remote, inaccessible due to difficult terrain and subsequently least developed and most exploited in terms of the general socio-economic conditions of the people in general and women and girls on particulars. The Project area of PAPN lies in bare, brown and barren outer Western Himalayan region. The whole Project area is hilly and rural with its eastern border with the tribal belt of Jaunsar-Bawar of Uttranchal State. The socio-economic status or rather conditions of the people living in this part of the State are rather pathetic and very poor. The wide spread poverty encircled by the selective continuance of so called social & cultural customs governed by the feudal and gender biased system of decision making at the community level are still very much there in practice. The practice of the polyandry [plurality of husband] and polyandry [plurality of wife] are still in practice especially in the remote areas of the Trans-Giri. Different and very informal forms of child marriage are still being practiced in the area. The divorce is by Reet system – according to which a sum of amount is paid to husband before the wife becomes the consort of the person who has paid the Reet amount. Drinking occupies very important place in the social life of the people. They lack many of the basic amenities of life and thus drinking becomes their main source of recreation and relaxation. Renukaji, Diwali and Budhi Diwali, Maghi-Tyohar, Bishu and Haryali are the major community fairs and festivals of the locals. The Maghi-Tyohar is a unique annual celebration of each and every family of the Trans-Giri areas. On the festival day – which starts during the 2nd week of January – each family, irrespective of its economic conditions slaughters goats and sheep. By tradition and custom every household has to kill at least one animal. The festival is celebrated for over two months and the flesh/meat is stored up to six months. The people also indulge in drinking Sur, a sort of liquor locally distilled by them and freely perform dance etc.
The major source of livelihood is agriculture. Maize and Wheat are the only grain crops of the area. Potato and Sweet Potato are the only cash crops, which are cultivated in very small scale. Ginger is no longer a cash crop as it used to be previously. There are no irrigation facilities; therefore the agriculture is not economically a viable and productive occupation for a full year. Due to topography being sloppy, average land holding being very small and lack of irrigation facilities, the agricultural production is too meager to meet the family’s annual requirements. More importantly the petty moneylenders and middlemen, usually the Shopkeepers or village leaders control the agricultural/village economy. The villagers buy their daily needs from them on credit and in order to repay the loan they have to sell their produce such as potato and sweet potato to the moneylenders at a price fixed by the latter. Each family has had its traditional moneylender for the generations. Generally they charge a very exploitative rate of interest, which is over 120% per annum. Therefore, at least one member of each family has to work as casual laborer on roads or in far off towns to support their family’s minimum needs of food and clothing. There are very few persons employed in organized sectors but they do not represent the common people.
The Environmental degradation through quarrying in the hills and forests and its subsequent effects are one of the leading environmental hazards facing the area. This has been supplemented by deforestation, soil erosion as well as the shortage of the fodder and fuel wood, thus adversely affecting the already poor economy of the area and its people. The twin problem of the safe drinking water and the sanitation in the villages can also be clubbed under the ecological problems of the region. In brief, the followings are the widely felt problems and major issues of the people of the area;
1. Comparative low rate of literacy, especially among women and girls affecting their social status within the family and the community.
2. Physical/Sexual exploitation of women and girls due to the prevailing socio-economic-cultural customs/status within the community.
3. Prevalence of social evils such as the child marriage, drinking, rigid caste divisions and the superstitions etc.
4. Inadequate, ineffective, neglected and the gender biased health care facilities in the area.
5. Unproductive agriculture – the primary source of livelihood – resulting in poor socio-economic status of the community.
6. The existence and the continuance of highly exploitative credit and marketing system at the grass root level.
7. Poor communications facilities, especially the goods as well as the passengers’ transportation facilities for off the roads villages.
8. Degradation of agricultural and pastoral land due to the mining activities and its socio-economic impact on the lives of the locals.
9. The shortage of the safe drinking water, the fodder and the fuel wood.
10. Inadequate and unhygienic housing facilities and unsatisfactory sanitation.
A GLIMPSE OF THE PRESENT PROGRAMMES:
The following programmes and activities were organised by the Organisation during the year 2005-06;
1. Development of Girl Child Project – Empowering with Awareness Building and Income Generation Projects and Organisation of Mahila Mandals
2. Creches for the Children of Working and Ailing Women
3. Social and Economic Development of Women through Self-Help-Groups
4. Study on Impact of Government Programmes and Schemes for women’s empowerment
5. Environmental Awareness Programmes through Schools and CBOs
6. Health Promotion through Health Promoters
7. Pre-Election Voters’ Awareness Campaign for Local-Self-Governance/Panchayati Raj Institutions
People’s Action for People in Need [PAPN]
Andheri – 173 023, Via Sangrah, District Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh [HP]
The Sirmour District lays in outer Himalayan ranges, also known as the Shivaliks Hills, between 77-01′-12″ and 77-49′-40″ east longitude and 30-22′-30″ and 31-01′-20″ north latitude. Andheri is well connected by road and is approximately 350 kilometers north of Delhi on Delhi – Ambala/Chandigarh – Kala-Amb – Nahan – Renukaji – Haripurdhar Road.
Email: [email protected]
Contact: Kuldeep C Verma