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.

24th World Congress of Architecture 2011 at Tokyo

On 26th & 27th September 2011 the Executive Director of Shelter Associates gave a presentation at the 24th World Congress of Architecture in Tokyo.  The subject of the session intended to be on the growth of cities generally but was re-titled, by the organisers of the event after the earthquake in Japan on 11th March 2011, to “How to regenerate hope of living after a disaster”.

The presentation first established a common problem associated with both natural disasters and neglectful planning:

There many people who live in locations without adequate infrastructure for safe, healthy, dignified and comfortable living that have not experienced extreme weather or earthquakes; they are victims of a different agent of change; the economy.  Prosperity and employment opportunities are not democratically distributed; they are focused in particular geographical locations.  This situation leads to an exodus of people from poorer areas and an influx of people into areas with greater economic activity.  As the public sector and the private sector has failed to increase their housing stock to match the growth of their population, citizens have no choice but to establish themselves in unofficial communities commonly known as ‘slums’.  This type of disaster is a social disaster not a natural disaster but the result is similar; there is a discrepancy between what is needed and what is available, in terms of housing and basic services.”

The Executive Director then suggested that Shelter Associates approach to slum rehabilitation should be adopted when designing new housing for people who have been cast into poverty by natural disasters:

“While Shelter Associates has no experience in working on aid projects in relation to international humanitarian missions, we have 18 years experience of working with the urban poor in Maharashtra and believe that the principle which guides our approach could serve as an important principle that could guide relief projects.  It is important to understand the situation which you are addressing; it is of vital importance to understand the culture and needs of the people who you are trying to help (as well as having their input and support).  Data must be collected, organized geographically, and analyzed to generate an effective rehabilitation strategy.

A poorly designed slum rehabilitation housing scheme was presented to highlight the responsibility of city officials and construction professionals:

“Hope exists in vast quantities in even the most bleak of environments, it is not hope which requires our regeneration but the fairness and morally equality of our planning policies.  Even though the problem of inadequate housing requires immediate attention and immediate action there is no justification for inadequate thought and insensitive design.  As construction professionals will still have a duty-of-care to the people who reside within our designs, even when we are designing in response to emergency situations.  We should apply the same professional rigor when designing transition camps, transitional shelters and new housing for the poor as we do when we are designing commercial centers, hospitals, offices and airports.

The Executive Director then concluded:

“2000 years ago the Romans believed that you should judge a civilization by what it does with its waste; perhaps today in the 21st Century, in addition to waste management, we should be judging our civilization on how we treat our fellow citizens who live in poverty, including those people who are cast into impoverished conditions due to extreme environmental events and/or extreme neglect.

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’.

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.

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Shivrai Nagar in the News

On 17th January, Shelter Associates gave a presentation in the community of Shivrai Nagar to tell residents more about their work, and celebrate the completion of 105 individual toilets in the settlement.

Shivrai Nagar is one of a number of unregistered slums in the Bibewadi area of Pune, where residents lack access to basic facilities such as clean water, waste disposal and sanitation. Lack of toilet provision was a pressing problem, with over 2000 people forced to defecate in open space prior to Shelter Associates’ involvement.


The presentation was well attended by community members, along with representatives from our partners SwadharFriends of Shelter Associates (FSA); and the Municipal Corporation. Sunil Bhatia, the founder of FSA, had travelled to Pune from the US to visit. His charity raised 40,000 USD towards the individual toilet project, in which toilets were provided to families on a cost-sharing basis.

The presentation began with an introduction from Angali Bapat, of the NGO Swardhar, who first invited Shelter Associates into the settlement. Then it was the turn of Shelter Associates community workers, who explained the project in more detail. They used aerial photographs and coloured plans to display their survey information in a way that was easy for everyone to understand. They also showed photographs of the terrible garbage situation in the settlement before the clean up – accompanied by peals of laughter from those who had forgotten how shocking the situation had been only a short time ago.

The most memorable moment of the day was when community members stood up to tell their own stories. These personal responses to the project were not scripted and gave a powerful illustration of the difference a toilet had made for individual families.

Despite the celebrations, work in Shivrai Nagar is far from over. Shelter Associates is working to extend individual toilet provision within the settlement and to the surrounding areas, where the sanitation situation is acute. Survey work is currently underway in some of these neighbouring communities.

Visit the press section of our website to read articles about the event from Indian Express, Sakal and Lokamat.

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.

Miraj recent events

Reshma always thought of earning money own her own but as she does not have proper education to take up a job she couldn’t. But she has an interest in stitching and hence she took the training from Shelter Associates for stitching cloth bags. Now she stitches at her own house and gets a monthly income out of this.