give financial support and this is called
Jan Uhagi which , in Hindi, means "Peoples Realisation"
Margoa, Goa's commercial capital has seen the mushrooming of a number of shanty settlements (slums) The founder Trustees of Jan Ugahi, a committed
professional team who have had years of experience in socio-economic developement work and empowerment programs, began sharing concerns and working in the projct area since 2nd January 1995. In 1997 the organisation was
constituted a a Public Charitabkle Trust under the name of Jan Uhagi and registered in Margoa.(no.512)
The project caters to the poor and marginalised backward classes and in particular women and children from among
the slum dwellers, rural and urban labourers, domestic workers, sex workers, etc and their families, irrepective of caste, creed, religion or colour.
Jan Uhagi is committed to the cause of the poor and marginalised,
especially women and children, as they strive for empowerment and the realisation of their dignity and space in society, through integrated and sustainable developement.
From an office in the centre of Margoa the
directors, Greg and Bernie, lead a dedicated team of workers who move around constantly in the community giving classes to children, mainly in open air street locations, support and empowerment sessions for women,
investigation and intervention on child abuse and issues of peodophilia and trafficking.
They aim promote awareness of the social problems through informal sessions, street plays, newletter and provide counselling and
shelter in crisis situations.
These are just a few of the services that this small band aim to provide and they are constantly facing bureaucratic problems and predudice. In the two weeks that I have been
involved have travelled with the social workers to follow up some of the cases they have on their books. This has highlighted the drastic conditions under which a great many of the population live, specially the migrant
workers. Also, to reach many of these people the social workers have to travel long distances by public transport, which is far from comfortable.
I have also been involved in childrens sessions both in the
centre and in the shanty towns, using music and drama to teach a little English and communicate, hopefully to inform the children and their parents that not all foreigners are here as tourists, some really want to help.
Without being able to speak Hindi my involvement has been limited but I have tried to talk to foreign tourists I have met on the beach to raise awareness and feel that interaction with the Jan Uhagi team has
benefited both parties. It has certainly been a very worthwhile, learning experience for me. Also, as the only old white woman riding a big bike around here, I'm fairly well noticed so I have used this to promote the
project with the media.
Greg has indicated that other volunteers are welcome so if anyone would like to give some of their time or money to either of these projects please contact Sue Howard in UK who will give you