In 2014 Hariharananda Vocational Training Center (HVTC) was licensed by the State of Odisha as a CCI (Child Care Institution) and in January 2018 was selected as the first Aftercare Services organization in Odisha for girls ages 18-21. The Odisha Aftercare Services program was initiated by the government to mainstream institutionalized children residing at state CCI’s. Both in-house and off-site training is utilized, depending on the students “wishes”. Applications to HVTC are also taken through private referrals. 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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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 under-privileged students who want to continue their education at high schools, 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 2016-19, 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.

Odisha is plagued by continuous natural disasters such as cyclones and flooding. Inadequate drainage for water and sanitation leads to lost homes and various medical emergencies. In addition to frequent natural disasters inadequate medical facilities in the villages and a lack of education about healthcare leads to various emergency medical needs. Grassroots India routinely provides training, logistics, and aid to those suffering in times of emergency. In 2018 our responsiveness to emergency care was enhanced through a joint initiative with Swiss Heidi Foundation who donated the use of their ambulance.

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 2016-19 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.