Over the years, accumulated learning and understanding on the complex issues of the NT -DNTs has made VSSM strongly recognize the fact that if these communities had to be pulled out of the perpetual cycles of poverty and marginalization, it is pertinent to get them to settle down and have a place of their own. A fact, easy to imagine but very hard accomplishing!! Having a livable and comfortable house is everyone’s dream. Once a house comes into existence, a sense on stability sets in and the family starts working towards leading a more settled and stable life. With centuries old occupations that require wandering lifestyles, these communities have never been able to settle down and with progressing times their desire to lead settled lives is becoming increasingly conflicting and challenging.
Dreams of having a decent roof over the head turn into nightmares once the actual process of building house is set rolling for these communities. The exhaustive process is best understood when one goes through the thresholds to be crossed. With the ever-changing government strategies it becomes impossible to keep track of the changes in policies and procedure and hence the dream does not always become a reality. Once the plot (after theexhaustive process mentioned earlier in the document) for construction of house is allotted, the process of applying for funds for the construction of house is initiated. The NT- DNTs are eligible for funds for construction of houses under the government’s PanditDindayalAwasYojna. The scheme entitles them Rs. 45,000/- for the construction of the house.
A reality check would reveal that with the current construction rates, it is almost impossible to construct a livable house in Rs. 45,000. Of course, the families are expected to pitch inthe balance amount required to complete the construction but that is not possible most of the times, as these family are hardly able to meet and sustain their basic needs. When the balance amount is not brought-in, government does not disburse the sanctioned funds. In majority of cases the construction is left incomplete due to lack of funds.
The role of VSSM in such circumstances is to provide the matching balance funds to supportthe completion of house. In given times and with the marginalization of these communities it is difficult to distinguish and decide as to who should get the priority. But the approach VSSM has adopted is that of ‘UNTO THE LAST’- supporting the most marginalized and vulnerable amongst the marginalized.
Thus VSSM supports:
Families that beg for surviving, widows, Dafer families, women engaged in flesh trade, daily wage earners whose economic conditions are extremely weak, families engaged in making cane baskets.
During the year 2011-12 government approved funds for 26 families to whom VSSM also supported with balance fund requirement. Apart from this VSSM also facilitated completion of 137 houses for those families who were unable to save enough to complete the construction of their homes. VSSM has also fully constructed homes for 12 families who lived under extreme poverty and yet did not even feature on the government’s BPL list. Thus far, VSSM has supported construction and completion of a total of 175 homes.
The year 2013 saw us accomplish a major struggle, when after persistent and untiring efforts of about 5 years almost 468 families were allotted residential plots. 155 Vadee-Madaree families from Surendranagar’s Dhangadhra town, 96 families from Rajkot’s Parevda and Rampara Beti villages have been allotted plots to construct homes whereas 217 Bajaniya, Saraniyaa, Vansfoda, Nat and Raval families of Deesa in Banaskantha have been allotted residential plots.