Association for Voluntary Action and Services (AVAS)
- Parent Category: ECCD
AVAS was registered as a trust by a group of professionals and social activists in 1980 to address the deprivations of the city’s poor, especially the slum dwellers. While its work is directed towards improving the physical, economic and social conditions of the urban poor, its strength has been in developing various models for the rehousing of Bangalore’s slum communities with community participation.
Since urban poverty and slum development cannot be treated in isolation, AVAS has adopted a holistic approach for sustainable human settlement. One of its efforts in this direction has been in the field of ECCD.
Instead of running its own centers, AVAS believes that strengthening the ICDS centers already present in the slum communities will help in empowering the community. It therefore adopted 13 ICDS centers and 2 run by the KSCCW in the constituencies of Koramangala, Jayamahal, Bharatinagar, Basavangudi, Malleswaram, Varthur and the Hosakerehalli slum; covering between 750-1000 children, 2-6 years.
AVAS ensures that these centres provide quality care. It provides the teachers with supplementary income and has mobilised funds for building of community centers (centers used by all for meetings) and developing their interiors suitably. The teachers, in addition to taking care of the children, participate in the community meeting once a month and also discuss women’s issues of empowerment, health, environment and gender.
The focus in ECCD is pre-primary education through creative activities and nutrition. To help build their creativity, it has sent ICDS staff for training programmes conducted by the Promise Foundation.
Funds for the ECCD programme come from the Dwaraknath Reddy Institute for Knowledge (DRIK), an initiative of the Ramanarpanam Trust; and other private donors such as the Rotary Foundation. AVAS has a staff of 19, and supports about 45 people who work in the community with an honararium.
AVAS’s strong point has been its ability to network with different organisations. It has always worked in tandem with Women’s Voice and the Karnataka Kolageri Nivasigala Samayukta Sanghatana (KKNSS). Women’s Voice is a city-based movement of women from the poor and unorganized sector of labour, while the KKNSS is a state-level slum-dweller federation. AVAS plans to assist in the running of the three outreach centres (which include pre-primary sections) run by these two organizations.
AVAS welcomes any kind of help from the public.