Transition Camp Kitchen Gardens

The residents of the Sanjay Nagar slum, in Miraj, moved to a transition camp in October 2011 to allow the slum to be demolished (please refer to ‘Peaceful relocation of Sanjaynagar Miraj to a transit camp’ within the ‘Downloads’ section of this website for more detail).  Once the slum was cleared the Sangli, Miraj & Kupwad Municipal Corporation (SMKMC) was able to hand the site over to a contractor whose services had been engaged to carry out the construction of 14 buildings, which will accommodate a total of 434 residential units, on the site as part of the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP).

In addition to the essential service provided for the transition camp by the SMKMC (potable water, toilets, electricity and public lighting) the residents have established their own social services to suit their own specific requirements; the beneficiaries have established their own school (for the small children of the camp) and two shops.  The beneficiaries have also started to use much of the land immediately outside of their transit house and land around the transition camp for producing their own vegetables.  This local production of food reduces the beneficiaries’ expenses and reduces the requirement to bring vegetables into the community from outside.

Another ‘Smokeless Chullah’ delivered

On 13th May 2012 Shelter Associates delivered the last of the 23 ‘Smokeless Chullahs’ that had been given, free of charge, to the 23 poorest families of the Sanjay Nagar community (who are currently all residing within the Sanjay Nagar transition camp).

‘Smokeless Chullahs’ are a method of cooking (and heating water) which produce less noxious gases than traditional chullahs and open stoves; this means that they are better for the health of the cook, and the people (especially children) in the proximity.  The ‘Smokeless Chullahs’ also make cooking quicker, as they burn bio fuel more efficiently, and cheaper, as less bio fuel is required (please refer to ‘Shelter Associates: Smokeless Chullahs’ within the ‘Videos’ section of this website for more detail).

Le Monde covers the IHSDP in Sangli & Miraj

On 22nd March 2012 Le Monde, a leading French newspaper, published an article and an infographe (photo story) of the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program (IHSDP) in Sangli and Miraj.

Links to the article and photo story are below:

Original Le Monde article (French)…

Le Monde infographe (French)…

Wordcrunch translation into English (dated 28th March 2012)…

Times World (dated 28th March 2012),8599,2110387,00.html


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.

Shelter Associates are featured on Times Now ‘Amazing Indians’ series

In November 2011 Pratima Joshi, the Executive Director of Shelter Associates, was featured on the Times of Indias national news channel ‘Times Now’ as part of their ‘Amazing Indians: India on the rise’ series.  You can watch the video on, click on the link below to be taken to the short film.  The name of the short film is ‘Sheltering the urban poor – 1 and Sheltering the urban poor – 2’.

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.

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.

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: