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Centre for Freedom, Citizenship and Democracy, (CFCD)

Three components that CFCD focuses on - Engaged and Empowered Communities | Legal support through Legal Aid Centres | Advocacy, Stakeholder Engagement and Coordination

We provide technical and managerial support to 410 SHGs of bonded stonebreakers and thier federation named 'Pragati Vahini'. The federation has been formed with the aim to achiece the vision and mission of the organisation i.e. to obtain "Freedom from the fear of freedom". We train the associated SHGs to rotate their leadership on yearly basis.

- How do we Work -

Engaged and Empowered Communities - 

Samooh Addas | Teras Chaura | Teras Panchayat | Orientation-training program | Health and Nutrition Education Camps | Training on Right to Food and Nutritional Security | Training on Systems Change

Legal Support through Legal Aid Centres -

Legal Literacy program | Training on Mining Act and Environmental Law and Rules | Training on Follow-up of Mining Renewal Application | Training on Collective Complaints Lodging | Training on Fictitious Case Removals | Workshop-cum-Training for Police and AHTU officials | Workshop-cum-training for Labor Department Officials | Labor Card Registration Camps | Workshop-cum-training for Forest Department Officials | Training on Participatory Model of Responsible Mining | Support to lawyers and paralegals

Advocacy, Stakeholder Engagement and Coordination - 

Communication workshop | National Level seminar on stone-breakers and marginalized communities | Empirical Research Study | Organizing School Competitions | Academic Research | Newsletter for Stakeholders

- Impact -

These components impact on three levels:

First, Collective Community Leadership with shared vision will emerge which will be capable of leading the SHG federation from the front to achieve sustainable freedom from debt-bondage. Second, Participatory Model of Responsible Mining will be pursued for managing the allotted quarry sites by SHGs. Third, The pro-active actions and evidence based reports from different civil society organizations which include- advocates, media person, human rights organization, panchayats leaders, police officials, labor department officials, women organization, youth organization, school teachers, and research scholars will help in advocacy over the issues of debt bondage, child labour, migrant labour, trafficking and illegal mining.

 CFCD works in:

  • Educating for Up-scaling of SHGs to cluster/federation.
  • Bonded Labout Rehabilitation
  • Educating for Legal Entitlments
  • Support to SHGs for acquirng new mining leases
  • Partiipation in grassroots governance
  • Allotment of Residential sites 

Engaged and Empowered Communities

Community level SHGs: We are working with 410 SHGs, with an average size of 12 members, across the distrt of Allahabad. These SHGs are encouraged to run group savings scheme to meet their emergency needs. It helps reducing dependency on illegal debts, which lead thereby lead to bondage situations. The SHGs will then be organized into a three tier organizational structure under the leadership of SHG federation. At each level community leadership will be promoted. We work at three levels with the community: 

Cluster Level – Samooh Addas | Block Level - Teras Chaura | District Level - Teras Panchayat  

Cluster Level – Samooh Addas:  It is an interactive platform where group members share their issues related to different forms of harassments and atrocities which arise due to bondage conditions. The Samooh Adddas provide opportunity to voice the needs of communities that are heard nowhere. It takes place at Cluster level in different blocks on monthly basis. Representatives from 15-20 groups participate in each Samooh Adda. These recommendations are later forwarded to a higher level organisational structure known as Teras Chaura.  

Block Level - Teras Chaura: Teras Chaura, Representatives from 30-35 SHGs participate in each Teras Chaura. This year, we aim at conducting Teras Chauras at 11 locations by rotation on month basis. The need for alternative structures like Teras Chaura arose because the existing organizational structures like political parties, trade unions, village panchayats, and other interest groups did not often pay heed to the complaints from bonded, at-risk laborers or other vulnerable communities. Teras Chaura is an interest association exclusively of bonded laborers, freed bonded laborers and migrant laborers. It has 12 departments, Mining, Forest, Police, Labor, Revenue, Development, Health, Education, Women & Child Development, Judiciary, Skill Training, Agriculture & Animal Husbandry that work in integrated manner. The issues raised at Teras Chaura will properly be documented as feedback to update the group Freedom Plans. 

For more information, follow the link: Teras Chaura 

District Level - Teras Panchayat: During 2018-19, we aim at holding the Teras Panchayat at the district headquarter to track the overall progress towards collective resistance against debt-bondage system and movement to sustainable freedom and to review innovative interventions during the year once in a year. 

Orientation-training program: SHG members from 35 new communities from neighboring districts, 47 communities from partner organization and 60 communities recently joined the program will participate in the orientation-training program organized by PGS. The training will focus on understanding the prevailing system of debt-bondage and PGS’s comprehensive strategy to achieve sustainable freedom. We aim at covering nearly 1800 families, on an average of 12 families per community. The training program will be organized at 30 locations on monthly basis at community level. In each training about 50-60 members belonging to 5-6 SHGs will participate. The objective is to change their status from bondage to freedom. 

Health and Nutrition Education Camps: During the year 2018-19, we aim at organizing camps at 10 locations on bi-monthly basis with the help of public and private hospitals. This will mobilise the participation of members from 40-50 SHGs. In addition, training will also be imparted on how to access facilities under various public health schemes at different levels. We also aim at developing modules to educate about nutritional value of locally available fruits and vegetables and mobilize SHG members to start using them in their dietary schedule. This will help in reducing the health risks and expenses on treatment of ailments.  

Training on Right to Food and Nutritional Security: During 2018-19, we aim at mobilizing SHG members to participate in training on entitlements under various food security schemes. In addition, we aim at mobilizing the SHG members to start fighting for entitlements under PDS and other food security schemes. 

Training on Systems Change: We aim at providing training on monthly basis to the leaders of SHG Federation (Teras Chaura and Teras Panchayat) to educate them about the functioning of modern institutional system so that they could pursue the issues with a vision to systemic change. 

This Benefits - SHG federation, Community leaders, SHG members, govt. deptt. like revenue, police, mining, social welfare, health, education, village panchayat, women and child welfare, skill development, banks & forest, journalists, producer company will be benefitted.  About 25000 people related to 50-100 SHG members will be benefitted. The activities will take place at three levels- Samooh Addas will be held at village level, Teras Chaura will also take place in selected villages and Annual Teras Chaura will be held at district headquarter. 

Legal Support through Legal Aid Centres

During 2018-19, we aim at organising Forty Legal Literacy programs in collaboration with respective DLSAs, Law Faculty of University of Allahabad, Law degree colleges and human rights organisations at 40 locations to educate SHG members on the labor rights as per the law. There will be one program at each LAC (seven existing and three new) in each quarter. District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) and empanelled lawyers impart training to LAC paralegals and SHG representatives about laws, policies and procedures on abolition of bonded labour system. LACs are the Legal Aid centers where the SHG members file complaints and claim for their rights to different departments. These LACs are established by PGS. At present there are 7 LAC and we aim at opening three more LACs during this year. These LACs are managed by the paralegals from PGS in lodging the complaints and moving the applications to further level.

Read about LACs:

Legal Aid Centres

In order to overcome the legal vulnerability and filling the existing gaps in the legal support system in relation to the bonded stonebreakers/agriculture laborers, PGS has come up with Legal Aid Centers (LACs) since 2012. LACs are managed by para-legals who are from the bonded labor community. Our paralegals have understanding of judicial system at tehsil/district level and past experience in the preparing applications and statements for legal proceedings are desirable qualification. 

Why LACs? 

In our country the Constitution and various laws strongly mandate for freedom from all types of bondages. However, enforcement remains extremely weak particularly for those who are trapped into bondage situations. Besides other vulnerabilities, the legal vulnerabilities make the situation worse for the bonded laborers. In our target area we have found that despite the existence of laws, these are rarely being enforced.

A large number of the bonded stonebreakers/agricultural labourers are still in complete control of the contractors in lieu of advances paid to them. Such laborers often do not have fair terms of employment, wage payments, access to other entitlements and risk coverage. The legal vulnerability compounds further when the bonded finds him unable to understand technical language of law books and entirely unfamiliar culture at courtrooms and premises.

The legal vulnerabilities are visible in different forms like the bonded stonebreakers/agricultural laborers are not aware of their legal rights and entitlements, they don’t have the strength to move out of the contractor’s site, they don’t know how to get good legal advice, not aware how to lodge FIR or complaints with the police or other enforcement agencies, unable to meet follow-up expenses, face harassments by falsely implicating in fake cases, unable to produce documentary evidences on bondage, unable to sustain against intimidation and threats by the accused during the case pendency, succumbing to the threats of social humiliation or public remarks against the victim, particularly women and unable to access benefits from various development schemes for which they are eligible.

Training on Mining Act and Environmental Law and Rules: LAC in collaboration with mining committee organizes training for members on the rules framed by the Environment and the Mining Departments and relevant GOs for running the renewed leases. We aim at organizing these trainings twice a year which will be participated by30 members of mining committee.

Training on Follow-up of Mining Renewal Application: With the support of HLN and empanelled lawyers, LAC will organize training for Mining committees for follow-ups and pressurize the mining officials at appropriate levels to finalize in the ongoing renewal process of the two mining leases and three fresh applications. We also provide technical support to the mining committees in this process. 
Training on Collective Complaints Lodging:  Through Legal Aid Centres (LACs) the SHG members will collectively make complaints against harassments. We aim at organizing these trainings on bi-monthly basis at 10 locations based on LAC proximity. It will be participated by members from 40-50 SHGs.
Training on Fictitious Case Removals: The empanelled lawyers aim at training LAC paralegals on initiating the process of vacating fictitious criminal cases against SHG members pending in different courts. We train paralegals to register complaints at LAC and prepare case files for lawyers. This year we aim at organizing these trainings at district level twice in a year and which will be participated by 20 para-legals and 4-5 advocates per training. 
Workshop-cum-Training for Police and AHTU officials: In collaboration with HLN partners LAC will organize training for Police, AHTU officials and enforcement agencies to take pro-active actions against perpetrators of debt-bondage. This year, we aim at organizing these trainings twice a year at district/sub-district headquarter in which 30-40 officials will participate.
Workshop-cum-training for Labor Department Officials: In collaboration with HLN partners LAC will organize training for the Labor department officials at district level twice in a year to take actions for identification of bonded labor and child labor and take pro-active role for their rescue and rehabilitation. In each training about 30-35 labour department officials and senior advocates along with paralegals will participate. 
Labor Card Registration Camps: LAC will organize labor camps with the help of Labor Department for SHG representatives for new registration and renewal of new labor cards for becoming eligible to get benefits under various labour welfare schemes. Such camps will be organized once in a year at 10 locations in which 8-100 SHG members will participate. 
Workshop-cum-training for Forest Department Officials: In collaboration with HLN partners LAC will organize training for the Forest department officials at district level once in a year to take actions to issue permits to SHG members to collect tendu leaf and minor forest produce that will augment their family income. In each training program 30-40 forest department officials and SHG federation leaders will participate. 
Training on Participatory Model of Responsible Mining: PGS will organize training on Participatory Model for Responsible Mining at district headquarter to present the model as the answer for sustainable livelihood of stonebreakers and protection of environment as well as check on illegal mining. The training will be organized twice a year in which mining department officials and mining committee members will participate. In each training 30-40 persons will participate.
Support to lawyers and paralegals: PGS will provide support to empaneled advocates at district and sub-district courts for stationery cost involved in filing petitions and follow-ups of cases of SHG members. PGS will continue its support to para-legals originating from the target communities to obtain university law degrees and enable their registration with the Uttar Pradesh Bar Council. These individuals will work with PGS to eradicate slavery and trafficking, leveraging the 10 legal aid   centres located in different parts of target area to support PGS self-help group members.
This Benefits - Those who are under illegal debt burden, bondage situations, child labour, migrant labour, left-behind women, eligible for claim making for entitlements, lodging FIR/e-FIR facing atrocities, trapped into fake legal cases, stone quarry workers, homeless families making claim for residential leases, members facing encroachments on allotted agricultural land, invisible communities members applying for aadhar card, ration card, job card, voter id, caste certificate, health insurance, land patta documents, members applying for certificates for caste, income, residence, birth/death, ration cards, PAN card. 
This benefits around 4000 persons belonging to SHG member families.

Advocacy, Stakeholder Engagement and Coordination

We organise Communication workshop once a year for the preparation of IEC Information, education and communication materials. 8-10 expert consultants participate in this weeklong workshop. A two-days national level seminar on stone breakers and marginalized communities will be organized on the issue of incidence of debt bondage among stonebreakers and other marginalized communities jointly by HLN and research institute once in a year. Lawyers and human rights organizations will be invited to make presentations to bring forth the debt-bondage system as violation of law and basic human right. About 80-100 participants will participate in the seminar. 

We organized an empirical research study to assess the impact of its strategy towards achieving the goal of sustainable freedom. The study focuses on prevalence of emerging forms of modern day slavery and the factors responsible for it in the intervention area. The purpose of the study is to highlight the emerging forms of modern day slavery in front of academia, jurists and policy-making bodies. 
School Competitions: School teachers and youth organisations are trained to organize essay, debate, quiz and elocution competitions in schools in the target areas to make the younger generation aware about various forms of debt-bondage. Such competitions are organized once a year and prizes are distributed to encourage for wider participation. 
Academic Research: In conjunction with its own project monitoring activities, the Organization participates in rigorous research evaluation facilitated by an external academic institution. This includes participation in a collection of causal accounts of slavery and human trafficking in working communities, a prevalence study, and implementing participatory action research focused on targeted thematic areas. Additionally, the Organization will participate in workshops and meetings that will focus on research planning, coordination, and dissemination. 
This Benefits - Advocates, media persons, human rights organisations, panchayat leaders, police officials, labour department officials, women organizations, youth organizations, school teachers and research scholars. 
Around 2000 civil society people and approximately 5000 community members are benefitted from these activities 
Our Achievements: Jan - June, 2018
Exposure visit by South India Host Spot partners on February 20, 2018 to observe the interventions being done by the organization under comprehensive freedom plan strategy to achieve Sustainable Freedom by the bonded communites
- Exposure visit by Manav Sansadhan evam Mahila Vikas Sansthan, Varanasi on May 30, 2018 to PGS Legal Aid Centres to undertand our strategies and practices to address the issues of legal vulnerabilities.
- 4 Trainings on Participatory Action Research on idendity the bondedness with 30 youths from the target community Purwa Awsansing (Mirzapur), Haridha, Meja Khas, Suhas, Bisri (Meja) Amiliya Pal, Baithkawa (Koaon), Newadiya-42 (Manda) Malwa Bujurg (Bahadurpur) to conducting participatory action research in target area.
- Workshop-cum-Training for Police and AHTU officials. Read more
- Workshop-cum-training for Forest Department Officials - For collecting the Tendu Leaf by Self Help Groups
- Training on Collective Complaints Lodging
- Legal Literacy program : 
        - Training on “Understanding the prevailing system of debt-bondage” at our recently established Legal Aid Centre, Sahson. Mr. B K Rai, Secretary, District Legal Service Authority (DLSA), Phulpur was the key speaker.
        - 3 Trainings on filing complaints and claiming for their rights and entitlements to different departments through Integrated Grievance Redressal System (IGRS) at our Legal Aid Centres, Koran, Devghat & Newadiya-42
        - Support to lawyers and paralegals - We provide support to empaneled advocates at district and sub-district courts for stationery cost involved in filing petitions and follow-ups of cases of SHG members. 3 new youth from among the target community joined as paralegals by PGS. During the reporting period, 21 complaints were lodged in front of complainant present in the cluster and block level meetings; 18 complaints were lodged by individual SHG members independently after the meetings.