PGS has been working to towards achievement of Poorna Swaraj, as envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi or sustainable freedom, of bonded laborers amongst the stonebreakers, agricultural laborers, migrant labourers, child labourers and victims of sexualexploitation. Such communities of people living under conditions of intergenerational debt bondage resulting in conditions of cyclical episodes of lack of livelihood resulting in deepening poverty conditions further degenerated by severing health conditions, social deprivation and near absence of education and relieve.
Such communities are organized into Self Help Groups (SHGs) to strike the prevailingintergenerational bondage and development of social capital to overcome the challenges and fears of acquittal from the bondage. The program strategy is based on promotion of survivor ledcommunity based organization.At each step, the freed are actively involved in designing the strategy for sustainable freedom plans. This also provides an opportunity to recognize and raise their voice againstdebt-bondage, atrocities and harassments. The needs, feedbacks and community basedmonitoring are an integral part of the program strategy.
The community based freedom plan has been instrumental in identifying various dimensions as indicators for sustainable freedom of each bonded laborer and thereby planning to strategically work towards attaining freedom from the fear of freedom. On August 11, 2019, the PGS model for sustainable freedom will declare its first village as Bondage Free Village. Essentially, as part of the event, it is the bonded labourers themselves who will be declaring themselves free of slavery. One of its kind, this event is expected to witness participation from approximately hundred freed bonded laborers declaring their freedom. Other community members attending the function will attest their declaration of freedom. This event also marks the celebration of 10th Freedom Convention of Pragati Vahini, thereby declaring the village Pragati Gram Chappar as a village free of bonded labour and slavery.
The model of PGS for sustainable freedom which incorporates a holistic approach, collectively works towards sustainable livelihood of bonded labour families. Additionally, as a result of Jal
Yatra the community members of Chappar collectively developed a pond to take up the responsibility of water conservation in their neighborhood. It was a method to collect rainwater in a pond and also deepen the old source of water in their villages without taking help from the administration. This has not only empowered community members’ self-reliance to face water crisis but has also made them aware of the technical knowhow of water conservation, rainwater harvesting, preparing a drainage map for the pond. In addition, microenterprise development and organic farming remains the pivot for all subsidiary activities that will be incorporating the community members in the model for sustainable livelihood development.
These microenterprises will incorporate poultry, goat farming, cattle rearing, vegetable and fruits vendor, organic pesticides development, setting up of nursery, repair shops, eatable shops and others as a part of the sustainable livelihood development plan, a subset of freedom plan. The freed bonded labourers themselves, act as change agents who are collectively working towardsthe development of their village. Collectively owned microenterprises, collective farming, and undertaking health and education initiatives together aim at uplifting individualsand the community to achieve sustainable freedom.