Prayas JAC Society: Prayas Started with 25 children in 1988, today Prayas caters to the needs of 50,000 neglected, street and marginalized children, youth & women in Delhi, Gujarat, Bihar, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Andman & Nicobar islands, Haryana, Jharkhand.
Bawana and Prayas Story Amod K. Kanth
General Secretary, Prayas JAC Society


Years 2002-2004, I was on a sabbatical from my police work conducting an action-basedstudy on the issues related to the Homeless in the city of Delhi. Among the shelterlessdestitutes, beggars, lepers, unorganized workers of the city, there was a huge number ofrickhsaw and cart-pullars - majority of them being migrants and the dis-located segments ofpopulation. They happened to be extremely poor daily wage-earners, women without homes& hearths and children having no facility foreducation, recreation or the basic health carethat constitute their childhood. While working with nine NGOs including Prayas and with theSlums and Re-settlement Wing of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) besides the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to understandthe phenomenon of homeless and to providethem shelters, suddenly, I found several lakh more slum-dwellers being up-rooted fromvarious locations in Delhi. It was not a simplechance that our own Prayas communities,including couple of thousand women andchildren for whom our erstwhile slum-based centres used to be lifeline, found themselves onthe roads with all their belongings and lives devastated.In first half of 2004, these Prayas slum-dwellers from Yamuna Pusta, Lal-khet, Jahangirpuriand Bhatti Mines were found in disarray joining hordes of other dis-located slums-dwellersfrom Kanchan Puri, Indira Colony, Minto Road, Dhapa Colony etc. All of them, hit or threatened by demolition squads, were being pushed towards a completely unprepared,massive re-settlement colony of Bawana on the outer peripheries of north-west Delhi. Someof them from Bhatti mines travelled 75 kms. to Bawana while others had to come nearer, yet very far from their actual life, livelihood,children’s education and women’s day-today occupations, like, daily domestic chores in the neighbouring households.About 50,000 of them, to start with at Bawana did not have proper roads, drains & sanitation, or even temporary shelters, let alone toilets, education, health and other facilities. There were three community centres under construction, which were yet to be offered to the community, NGOs, or to the govt. depts. for the common services. The dislocated slum-dwellers with the ‘Parchis’ (allotment slips of 12 yards, which had been progressively reduced from the 25 yards in the previous resettlement plans), were suffering worst-ever vagaries of man-maid and natural crisis. With no livelihood opportunities and economic activities around, the entire men-folk had to travel about 25 to 50 km. to ply a rickshaw, carry loads on construction sites or to do just anything to keep their body and soul together.

In such a period of extreme trauma to the dislocated slum-dwellers arriving in Bawana, there was nothing much that the govt., the civic services and the DDA could offer. For us, in Prayas, it was a major challenge since our own children and families in communities from different locations within the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi, left us with no option but to migrate with them. To my pleasant surprise, when I went to Bawana in early 2004 I met with many known faces, the women & children arriving from Lal Khet, Yamuna Pusta and other places. A gallant team of Prayas managers, workers and volunteers not only escorted, conducted and settled them, they also looked after them day-to-day, gave them company in rain and heat, facilitated their lives in routine and in successive fire-disasters.Starting with a shoe-string budget, today, nearly four years later with three prestigious projects, namely, Raina-Prayas supported by Robin-Raina Foundation, Gender Resource Centre (GRC) supported by Govt. of Delhi and Intervida project supported by the famed Spanish International Organization,the Prayas team has become the most dependable partner of the community.Thanks to Mr. Robin Raina an out-standing NRI charity-entrepreneur, we have been able to set-up a model project for children in Bawana. Thanks to Govt. of Delhi, we have created a really useful community-based project for the women to cover their health needs and to give them economic selfreliance.Thanks to Intervida partners, weare able to create a comprehensive project to transform and empower this deprived community. And, thanks to Slum & Re-settlement Department, we have got a space to accommodate and coordinate our major activities of Bawana. Decidedly, none of these was possible in the absence of the courageous women & men, the frolicsome children, a vibrant community and truly supportive leaders of Bawana.Starting from 25 neglected children of Jahangirpuri slum-resettlement colony in 1988,arriving at a stage when we are able to directly serve over 50,000 hapless and marginalized children, youth & women in eight states of India through 227 community-based centres, we have come a long-way. Somehow, when I visited Bawana during early 2004, I had a strong desire and premonition that this project was going to be a landmark in the journey of Prayas. We are fully convinced that a voluntary organization has no business to be a fence-sitter in these most challenging times of socio-economic churning when our country is witnessing the extremes of poverty and riches. While we stand by the poorest of the poor, like those who live in Bawana, we have to provide them education, health, shelter, livelihood and protect their lives from multiple assaults launched through their deprivation.We are not going to stop here, since, we have acquired a precious piece of land in village Pooth-khurd, very close to Bawana, where we propose to set-up yet another powerful community-based organization, ‘Prayas Institute of Integrated Development’.

News & Events

  • 14Nov
    25th Foundation Day of Prayas coinciding with Children's day celebrated with 'Run for Children 2012' where 3,000 weaker section children ran for rights.
  • 15Oct
    PRAYAS’s initiative for skill development and empowerment of youth in Naxal affected areas

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