Swechha, a NGO based in Delhi is a multifaceted organization working for environmental conservation, waste management, underprivileged children and volunteer placements. Each wing has its own role to play in spreading awareness about sustainable living and social service.
Some of the environmental issues intensive wings include Green-The-Gap, INFLUENCE and Bridge-The-Gap. INFLUENCE conducts internship and volunteer campaigns dealing with various social issues. I volunteered for the “Spotted Stop It” campaign dealing with waste generation and its global impact in the future. The campaign used the method of street theatre and mobile junk art exhibitions to spread awareness and the team performed in various college fests and market places with the simple message of ‘Use Less, Generate Less’.
Green-The-Gap converts non-biodegradable waste into wallets, jholas, coasters and more. Swechha hires its own tailors and workers who are ensured fair conditions and salaries, thus setting an example for workshops in Delhi. Green-The-Gap also gives its team the opportunity to design and create “branded merchandise” from tetra packs, milk packing and bits of cloth. Bridge-The-Gap works with schools, creating awareness about environment related issues with field trips, interactive sessions and training. It helps children understand environmental problems by giving a new angle to textbook teaching.
Vedika Jiandani is one of the co-coordinators of Swechha. She started working for Swechha as an intern before becoming a full time member of the team. She is a postgraduate from NIFT.
Me – What inspires you to work with Swechha on its environment conscious campaigns?
Vedika Jiandani -The most inspiring thing is the enthusiasm, commitment and energy of the volunteers. The second is the constant support of the Swechha staff. Also, the satisfaction of doing my bit for the environment and society.
Me-Tell us about the environment related projects and campaigns you have been a part of at Swechha.
Vedika – I co-coordinated the April 2011 Yamuna Yatra. We, along with 60 students from Vacant Valley school travelled to the Yamunotri and back. The purpose was to educate those class 11th students about the condition of the river and the change in the water from the origin to Vrindavan.
Me- Tell us more about volunteer mobilization. How does Swechha inspire people to participate in its campaigns?
Vedika – We do a lot of activities with volunteers at the college level under our ‘INFLUENCE’ program. We visit colleges across Delhi and interact with students, explain the different opportunities we can provide and understand their interests. We also conduct rural exposure camps on an annual basis where we take large groups of volunteers to villages where they get to see and interact with tribals.
Me- Swechha works a lot with school children. What is your prime focus?
Vedika – With school children, our focus is not only to make them aware of the present environmental condition but also to make them think and act in the best possible way. We regularly conduct workshops where they learn to use waste and create usable products. We take them on Yamuna walks and landfill walks as we believe in a more practical and action-based approach. When they understand the situation, children automatically start spreading awareness among their family and friends.
Me- Which campaign or project do you think s most successful and why?
Vedika-That’s really difficult to answer! However, I would say Yamuna Yatra. It is a 12-day journey to Yamunotri and back. Swechha has been organizing tem for 8 years now and has received the most amazing responses from participants. The stress is on importance of saving the river that provides drinking water to more than 70% households in Delhi. After seeing, touching and tasting the pure water of Yamunotri, the sight of the choking drain in Delhi leaves a deep impression.
Me- As an NGO, where do you think Swechha stands? What are the grey areas?
Vedika- Swechha is still a young organization and has a lot to accomplish. At the same time, I am happy to say that even as a fresher, Swechha gave me immense leadership opportunities. It is constantly growing and so are the projects. The only grey area I can think of is changing the mindset of our population, which refuses to come out of its comfort zone to take action. However, I am certain that if we remain determined, there is nothing we cannot achieve.
Me- How is Swechha’s contribution different from other NGOs?
Vedika- I believe that every active NGO holds the same importance as another. Swechha has always believed in building efficient networks and collaborations which has always been our strong point.