The Community Development Program (CDP) provides comprehensive support to an entire community mired in extreme poverty. Comprehensive support can include basic needs, education and skills training, healthcare, and employment or income generation opportunities. It is an ambitious endeavour, but SAF International believes providing comprehensive and long-term support for an entire community ensures development is sufficient, inclusive, and long lasting. Moreover, involving an entire community helps create a healthy economic and social ecosystem which is conducive to social change.
To help communities get support SAF International coordinates its services with other local NGOs. For every community the SAF team identities local NGOs that understand the region and can provide useful services. Together we identify community assets and strengths that can help address community needs. For instance, farmland being underutilized or a skilled labourer using inadequate equipment
SAF International’s target for Community Development Projects is often, but not limited to, Sikligar communities. Sikligars were ironsmiths and blacksmiths in great demand centuries ago. These skilled weapon makers were chosen to develop Sikh Armoury and Guru Gobind Singh gave them the name Sikligars. However, with modern technology the skills of Sikligar became irrelevant and these communities fell into extreme poverty.
Today, they comprise of the most most marginalized communities in India. Many live on the outskirts of cities or are nomadic travelling to where ever they can find menial work. Illiteracy and child marriage are also common in current Sikligar communities.
Various Indian and international non-profits have been raising awareness of the plight of Sikligar communities and providing support to lift them out of their deprived conditions. SAF International is the only Canadian based non-profit involved in providing support to SIkligar communities.
Community Development Project: Madhya Pradesh
Community name: Pachori
Population: 1000 total people
The village of Pachori is located in the hills, with limited road access, and the closest city to Pachori is 25km away. The village population is well over 900, and approximately 40% are children. The families of Pachori have limited electricity, no clean water, and not toilets and sanitation. Due to a lack of safe drinking water most families must walk up to 2km to a water well every morning to get supply of clean water for the day. Early child marriage is common in this society with girls as young as 14 being married off.
Description of Activities:
SAF International has committed to a 10 year project, which commenced on January 2018. This project is in collaboration with the Sikh Council of Scotland and Khalis International. SAF International and the Sikh Council of Scotland are assuming responsibility enrolling all the children into school and supporting them until grade 12 completion. To reduce any hardship SAF is providing transportation to and from school. In addition, SAF will survey homes to identify water sanitation and toilet facility needs. Khalis International is providing job skills training and seminars in sewing, embroidery and other such activities to raise the skills women, according to their interests. Khalis is also job training to connect members of Pachori with employment opportunities with local employers. This project also includes providing female hygiene products, health education, and seminars to end child marriage practices. You can support Sikligars, Click here to Donate.
Community Development Project: Gujarat
Community name: Guru Nanak Nagar
Population: 30 Families
Description of Activities:
In Vadodara, Gujarat we are helping a marginalized community of Sikligar Sikhs. This community lives in extremely poor conditions and many children receive very poor education. In fact, many children up to the age of 10 cannot even spell their own name. To change their life path SAF has opened a tuition center that includes three teachers and operates seven days a week. Currently, the centre is providing basic education to 60 children and 10 women. In addition to the Tuition Center, SAF has established a Gurmat Center to help the community reconnect with their rich and historical heritage.