At the heart of the work done by the Society for Rural, Urban and Tribal Initiative (SRUTI), is the idea of ‘people for change’. Through its fellowship programme, this Delhi-based organization encourages dedicated individuals and small groups, also known as SRUTI Fellows, to work at the grassroots level and bring about social change, particularly in the lives of some of India’s most marginalized groups.
SRUTI aims to identify and invest in dynamic individuals who work towards the ideals of a more equitable society. Another aim is to empower oppressed and vulnerable communities to access equality and justice, and to find solutions to problems through a sangathan or collective.
Since its inception in 1983, the organization has supported the work of more than 129 Fellows across 18 states. SRUTI Fellows and their sangathans have dealt with some of the following issues: access to and ownership of natural resources; land and forest conservation; right to food; in-situ livelihood; panchayati raj institutions and governance; education; right to information; caste and gender, etc. Today, SRUTI supports 30 Fellows, karyakartas (volunteers/activists) and their groups in 13 states, and reaches 3.2 million people.
Among other achievements, in May 2013, after a 17-year-long struggle led by a SRUTI Fellow, the Government of Maharashtra announced a relief package of Rs 1,200 crore for those affected by the Gosikhurd Dam Project. In Jharkhand, 52 villages were saved from dam submergence in 2010. In 25 villages of Chhattisgarh’s Surguja district, 3,000 hectares of land were secured under the Forest Rights Act due to the efforts of another SRUTI Fellow, and an additional 315 hectares of land were sanctioned for common land use.
What SRUTI has achieved over the years shows that it is imperative, and possible, for vulnerable communities to be able to claim a more equitable future.
To watch a few short films about the work of SRUTI Fellows, click here.
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