From 2015-18 Hariharananda Vocational Training Center, Cuttack (HVTC), was a child care home institution (CCI) and residential vocational training center, licensed by the State of Odisha. In January 2018, the State of Odisha Women & Child Development and Child Protection Officer, Cuttack issued Grassroots India the first Aftercare license in Odisha. The government Aftercare program has recently been developed to mainstream institutionalized children who have turned 18 years and are residing in CCI’s throughout the state. Applications are also taken through private referrals and student qualification is confirmed through interviews, documentation, and case studies. Classes and workshops are provided free of charge.

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The WISH Network consists of an eclectic mix of mentors, community leaders, teachers, alumni, students, social workers and volunteers who work for the upliftment of poor and marginalized women. Grassroots India’s WISH Network provides scholarships for housing, food, vocational training, education, medical aid, legal aid, and counseling. Its vision is to build individual and group capacity for self-sufficiency, self-governance and service to others. The WISH Network approach to personal growth is multi-faceted and holistic, encouraging positive development of body, mind & spirit.

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Each year the WISH girls attend the Foundation Day Reunion on February 10. Senior WISH alumni, new students and staff have an opportunity to offer encouragement and support to each other. Girls share aspects of their lives, the challenges and successes, and have an opportunity to plan together for the coming year. Achievement awards are distributed for various accomplishments. In 2016 and 2017, over 300 women’s self-help group (SHG) leaders, doctors, lawyers, students, housewives, government agencies, and social workers attended. Popular guest speakers presented topics on women empowerment. In 2018, the event was a private workshop for all WISH girls who participated in group counseling and life planning exercises.

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Grassroots India continues to help students link with various educational and training opportunities and find suitable employment. Girls enhance their soft skills and are given help with college & ITI admission procedures, creating CV’s and establishing identities. Those who graduate from First Aid and Home Health Aid courses are offered internships and job placement at hospitals & nursing homes. Tailors easily find self-employment in the villages and are offered jobs in shops in the town centers. Computer and small business students receive placement in offices and shops.  Advanced students may apply for educational scholarships to study at colleges and ITI’s.

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In addition to training at Hariharananda Vocational Training Center, Grassroots India also grants full and partial scholarships to colleges and industrial training institutes (ITI). A strong emphasis is placed on girls continuing their academic education through +2. It is common in rural Odisha for parents to educate their sons but claim a lack of funds when it comes to educating their daughters. After qualifying the applicants, educational scholarships are available for college admission, exam fees and textbooks. 

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During 2015-18, Grassroots India gradually increased its budget for medical aid due to the overwhelming need of so many neglected women without financial support. Whether you were a resident WISH member, an alumni, or a mother requiring OB/GYN care, Grassroots India was there to help with hospital admission, home cooked meals, transportation, and housing. Several village women came to our center because of inadequate medical facilities in their village. Often they had to borrow money for the bus fare to come to Cuttack because they did not have access to money.

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Grassroots India has a cooperative relationship with several lawyers and advocates, including CLAP (Coalition for the Legal Aid to the Poor), a
consortium of lawyers who provide free services and are dedicated to justice for the poor. We routinely are referred cases involving domestic violence, sexual abuse, land dispute, abandoned women and baby girls, and various other womens’ rights violations. Due to our professional mental health counseling program, we rarely need to pursue legal action. Resolution often can be achieved through diplomacy, but in cases where resolution is not possible, a strong legal team is essential.  All legal services and case management are provided free of charge.

Grassroots India offers emergency services (housing, food, medical aid) to those in urgent need. Emergency medical care has now been enhanced through a joint initiative with Swiss Heidi Foundation (NGO) who has provided us with an ambulance. In 2016 we provided the funds for cooking utensils and building materials to construct a one room shelter for an old man who lost his house in a fire.

Grassroots India’s administrative headquarters and vocational training institute is located in a rented house at Plot No. 1289/5C, CDA Sector 10, Cuttack, Odisha. We hold a long term, renewable lease. During the 2015-18 period, several additions were made to infrastructure and equipment. We expanded from the ground floor to the 1st and 2nd floors and can now accommodate 25 residents and hold workshops for 100 students. The HVTC has two kitchens, four dormitories, a computer lab, two tailoring classrooms, an embroidery room, spice-making room, WISH Shop, office room, counseling room, dining hall, seven bathrooms, a veranda, garage and garden patio. The rooftop can be tented for special events up to 300 people. The house is securely gated with CCTV cameras throughout. A dormitory mother remains in residence at all times and social workers, with transportation, are available 24/7/365. New equipment purchases were made for various household items and vocational training equipment, and regular repair and maintenance is on-going.