Meeting with Sanjay Nagar Miraj beneficiaries at the transition camp

In mid December 2011 a Shelter Associates Community Worker, Mrs. Noorjahan Kaladagi, conducted a meeting with the beneficiaries of the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP) who had recently left their slum and moved to a transition camp (please refer to the flyer in the ‘Download’ section of this website called ‘Peaceful relocation of Sanjaynagar, Miraj to a transit camp’).  These meetings are part of an on going process of social mobilisation and provide forums for the details of the IHSDP to be discussed with the beneficiares.

Demarcation at Indira Nagar Gharkul begins

Shelter Associates were on site at Indira Nagar Gharkul on 10th January 2012 with the City Engineer of Sangli, Miraj & Kupwad Municipal Corporation (SMKMC) and the contractor to check the dimensions of the land, and demarcate the 6 buildings that are to be built there as part of the Government of Indias’ Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP) in Sangli and Miraj.

It was found during this exercise that the area of land was slightly smaller than the survey information held by the SMKMC, which meant that the sanctioned layout would not fit on the site.  Shelter Associates immediately investigated options to redesign the layout to accommodate all of the 6 buildings on the smaller plot of land.   A revised layout was rapidly realised and submitted to the SMKMC Town Planning Department as an amendment to the previously sanctioned site layout.

Diwali Art in Sangli

As the people will be moving into multi-storied buildings, the traditional way of cooking on the wood stove will no longer be feasible. Pratima Joshi articulated this concern, taking into consideration the wish of the women to continue to cook traditional cuisine in their new housing settings. Using smokeless chullahs makes this possible, while drastically improving the health of the women and their families. Clearly, the time for smokeless chullahs is now, as traditions must be thoughtfully adapted to accommodate modern changes.

1 2 3


Chullahs and Workshops

Volunteer Miles Phillips has made two new videos about our recent work, which are now available on the Shelter Associates’ YouTube channel.

These give a brief introduction to two of our current projects in Sangli:

Smokeless Cooking Stoves (Chullahs), developed by the Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI), have been provided free of charge by Shelter Associates to some of the poorest families.

Children’s Workshops to teach slum children about environmental responsibility, have been taking place since March 2010. Take a look at our previous posts for a more information.


Children’s Workshops Continue in Sangli

Shelter Associates has been running a series of workshops for children in the slums of Sangli. They are targeted at 10 and 12 year-olds, whose families will soon be relocated under the Government of India’s JNNURMscheme. The workshops take place in a fun and informal atmosphere, where the children have the chance to get to know their new neighbours and learn about their role as future caretakers of their environment.
Following a series of six introductory ‘ice-breaking’ workshops, there will be further sessions on Health & Nutrition, Water, and Sanitation & Waste.

Workshop for Community Children of Sangli

In collaboration with NiBo, Shelter Associates & nbsp conducted a two-day workshop for children on August 21st and August 22nd. The workshop covered 8 slums in the cities of Sangli, Miraj, Kupwad (all three of which form a municipal corporation). 80 children between the ages of 10 and 12 participated.

This workshop is the first in a series that is being planned for the slum kids of Sangli and the surrounding areas who are part of the IHSDP (Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme) portion of the JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) program of the Government of India. There are 29 slums covering almost 3800 families that will be relocated as part of this project.

Shelter Associates believes that these children are the future caretakers of their new environment. Any efforts made at this tender and impressionable age to teach them about environmental issues will help in building a sense of responsibility towards the upkeep of their new homes and environment. The workshops aim to impart learning through fun and games in an informal atmosphere. The themes will tackle health and hygiene and other environmental related issues. Each group will be taken through 6 workshops over the next 5 months.

Smokeless Chullahs in Sangli 09/06/2011

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), three billion people – or half of the world’s population – cook their meals indoors over biomass-fueled open fires. Not only is the majority of this heat wasted, 20% of it is converted into toxic substances like carbon monoxide, benzene, and formaldehyde. In India alone, 500,000 people die annually as a result of indoor air pollution (IAP). Disproportionately, the majority of these victims are women and young children, as they spend the most time around indoor fires. These deaths are brought on by IAP-related diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. (Information from

In order to combat this health hazard, Shelter Associates has taken on the task of raising awareness about and making available smokeless chullahs (stoves) to families in slums throughout Sangli. These chullahs, acquired through ARTI (Appropriate Rural Technology Institute), are incredibly durable, practical, and greatly reduce toxic emissions and fuel use – directly benefiting the health of women and children. Costing approximately $15, Shelter Associates has developed a mechanism in which the people can pay for their chullahs in installments.

Abha Dhotre is an area in Sangli that first took the initiative of ordering smokeless chullahs in bulk. These chullahs were presented in the community on 16 July 2009. The meeting was attended by the self-help group on savings, Pratima Joshi (Executive Director of Shelter Associates), Lata Shrikhande (Associate Executive Director of Shelter Associates), Mr. Pravin More, Mr. Vivek Raman, Mr. Ravi (with WSP from the World Bank in Delhi), Sharda Kamble (president of the savings groups Shivan and Omkar), and Sunita Patil (the local corporator). In addition, the meeting was attended by more than fifteen women of Abha Dhotre and their children, along with Shelter Associates’ members from Pune and Sangli. The meeting was held at the Urdu Madarsa primary school that serves as a community center during the off-hours. While the women were happily receiving their new chullahs along with lemongrass bulbs gifted by Shelter Associates in homemade recycled paper bags, tea was prepared outside on one of the smokeless chullahs! 

Smokeless Chullah being distributed in the community
Smokeless Chullah being distributed in the community

During the distribution, Lata Shrikhande addressed the future success of these chullahs: “Shelter Associates had interacted with the women regarding vermicomposting before, which was a new idea to them at that time. I am confident that as they accepted vermicomposting as a new idea, similarly they will be able to make a transition and adapt to the smokeless chullahs in their own interest. Even the savings group we started and supported by economic activities has been successful due to people’s participation.”





Pravin More recalled his own childhood in a small village in Maharashtra where a smoke-filled kitchen was a common sight. He remembered his grandmother coughing away as she worked over her smoke-filled stove in the kitchen for the lack of a better alternative. Things just got worse in the rainy season as the wood would be damp. He appreciated Shelter Associates’ work as they are in tuned to the needs of the people. Mr. More has traveled all across the country meeting non-profits, local government bodies, CBOs, and NGOs. He has visited Shelter’s work in Sangli that was initiated nine years ago and is still in great working condition. He believes that when all stakeholders (i.e. the community, the NGO, and the local governance) work together to reach a common vision, there is no limit as to what can be achieved.

Community members were happy to receive their chullahs
Community members were happy to receive their chullahs


Sharda Kamble expressed full faith in Shelter Associates’ social workers and their work with the community. Drawing classes, embroidery lessons, and savings groups have all brought the community members closer to one another. She recalled a public demonstration of the smokeless chullahs done by Shelter last month. One of her neighbors, Vidhya, has already bought a smokeless chullah and is happy to be cooking her family’s food on it. All the local cuisine such as bhakri can be cooked in this way. She mentioned that we tend to stick to our traditional ways regarding cooking, but technology and changing times can shift this tendency. She gave an example of Maghde, a middle-aged housewife, whose health has greatly suffered from the indoor air pollution of smoke-filled kitchens. She also reminded the women how often they get burned from operating a traditional chullah, suggesting that they be prepared for this change to smokeless chullahs. Sharda concluded by stating that whether she is around or not, the women can always count on Shelter Associates for giving good advice!

As the people will be moving into multi-storied buildings, the traditional way of cooking on the wood stove will no longer be feasible. Pratima Joshi articulated this concern, taking into consideration the wish of the women to continue to cook traditional cuisine in their new housing settings. Using smokeless chullahs makes this possible, while drastically improving the health of the women and their families. Clearly, the time for smokeless chullahs is now, as traditions must be thoughtfully adapted to accommodate modern changes.

Citizen’s Forum Launched in Sangli

On 18th November, Shelter Associates facilitated the launch of a citizen’s forum in Sangli. Earlier this year, the Government of India approved a project for the rehabilitation of 29 slums covering 3800 families (which is almost 50% of Sangli’s poor) and sanctioned a special amount of Rs. 95 crores under the IHSDP (Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme) of the JNNURM (Jawahalal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission).

SA decided to facilitate a citizen’s forum in Sangli so that residents could play a more active role in the rehabilitation of Sangli slums. Often times, citizens want to contribute to their city’s development but are not quite sure how to get involved. This problem is especially acute in small cities like Sangli, which are already handicapped by lack of sufficient staff, expertise and funds. SA’s citizen’s forum remedies this problem by creating a platform through which citizens can work with the local government and NGOs to state their opinions and voice their concerns.

There were several stakeholder representatives who attended the meeting and these included:
• Municipal corporation officers and elected members
• Local NGOs,
• Local media representatives
• Interested citizens
• Beneficiaries of the project

At the end of the meeting a core committee was formed. Below is the local press coverage of this event.



Shelter Associates is a ‘Google Earth Hero’

Google Earth has featured Shelter Associate’s work under the Heroes of Google Earth campaign.  Shelter Associates was chosen for it’s innovative use of Google Earth as a urban planning and development tool to help the urban poor gain access to housing and essential services (water and sanitation).
Shelter Associates is the only organisation in India to be named as a ‘Google Earth Hero’ and shares the accolade with only 8 other organiations internationally.
A short (3 minute) film has been made by Google to explain Shelter Associates use of Google Earth and is viewable via the Google Earth web page:
IHSDP from above:

Children’s Day Celebration

On Wednesday 12 November, Shelter Associates conducted an art workshop in the Sangli office for children from the slums. The children came after school, and were asked to draw pictures of their “dream house” – the results were colorful, creative, and unique.


Below, see some of the creations.




Happy Children’s Day from Shelter Associates!