Savda Ghevra is a resettlement colony located on the western peripheries of Delhi. Around 50,000 families were initially resettled here from slums in Delhi that were cleared for the construction of a new Airport and infrastructure for the spectacle of Commonwealth games in Delhi in 2008. The resettled residents of this neighborhood suffered not only a loss of habitat but also a loss of livelihoods.
The Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE) has been working on the issues of sanitation and water supply in the neighborhood. In collaboration with CURE, I offered to start a local livelihoods program around that would introduce and consolidate carpentry and furniture building skills within the community.
This approach was inspired by CUCULA, a migrant furniture company that I had a chance to visit during the urbanxchanger workshop in Berlin. We partnered with another NGO operating in this area SEEDS.
After establishing and operating a carpentry space in the community, we started training a batch of 14 locals with the help of a trained carpenter to build DIY flat-pack furniture.
After the initial reluctance of the women in the community to join furniture workshops, we introduced a parallel toy making workshop which incited interest from them.
After the conclusion of the training, we offered the trained carpenters with loans to start their businesses and setup their personal workspaces.
Since then, the program has taken its own life and many of the carpenters trained through the program are now producing other products that are not flat-pack or DIY for the local economy, especially new homeowners moving into the area.