MP Sikligar Development
Helping Sikligars in the village of Pachori and Indore in Madhya Pradesh
Who are Sikligars?
This is a project very close to our heart, its for Sikligar Sikhs, a neglected community, located in the village of Pachori, which is located in the outskirts from the city of Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh. Originally named Sikligar by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, they were known to be blacksmiths and had an incredible craft of weapon making, having armed the Khalsa Army in the 17th century. In the present era they are far from education, development and health facilities, and have lead a poverty-ridden life living on the edges of towns and cities of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Agra and beyond. Though historically the Sikligars made weapons for the Khalsa Panth, today many are engaged in small scale metal work; making keys, welding and tool repair. They are desperately poor, generally illiterate and lacking basic social services.
What is SAF Doing?
UPDATE | Pachori Community:- May 2018
UPDATE | Akash Nagar Community:- October 2018 (NEW COMMUNITY)
In November 2018 SAF International committed to a 5 year Community Development Project to support highly marginalized Sikh community in Madhya Pradesh. Akash Nagar, Indore is the second community from Madhya Pradesh SAF International is supporting.
The community living in Akash Nagar is comprised of under privileged children and families ridden with poverty. As a result, they face many challenges, particularly inaccessibility to clean water. Furthermore, this community is located in a rural area which is essentially isolated from the city. Certain amenities are not accessible since the road to this basti is not paved, making it difficult to transport food and household items. Additionally, majority of the children in this community did not attend school. The few which were enrolled in school, attended a government school, which does not provide a quality education. Unfortunately, teachers have no accountability to be present during school hours and often times the school remains closed altogether.
SAF’s Contribution and Collaborations
SAF has taken on the responsibility of developing this community which consists of families from various backgrounds. There are both Hindu and Sikligar families residing in Akash Nagar. The general mainstream Sikhs of this area are similar in demographic to those living in Gujarat. SAF will be collaborating with other organizations to further develop this community.
SAF will be working alongside another charity which has been supporting this community. That charity established an after school tuition center in April 2018. They began with 15 students and they now have 65 students attending. SAF is planning on developing a Gurmat centre within this tuition centre.
Also, SAF will be working in partnership with MB Khalsa College, which is the school children from Akash Nagar are now attending. This school has generously agreed to waive all tuition fees for children. There are currently 55 children attending this school and SAF is hoping to enrol more children throughout the 5 year community development project. SAF is responsible for transporting children to the school. The school is approximately 10 kilometers from Akash Nagar and therefore the transportation fees are costly. Furthermore, since this basti is located in a remote area, it is expensive to hire buses.
Moving forward with the 5 year development project, SAF is planning on starting a pre-school for children in this community. This would allow children to begin obtaining an education at a young age and consequently they would be better prepared for elementary school. Also, SAF will begin preparing the Gurmat centre within the tuition centre.
Additionally, SAF will be providing water filters to this community since they do have adequate water supply. Currently, the municipal government regularly fills tanks for people in this community. However, these tanks have not been cleaned and they are not sanitized. As a result, the water provided is not drinkable. With the water filters SAF will be providing, this community will have access to clean drinking water.
SAF has committed to renovating 3 classrooms for nursery, grade 1 and grade 2 – where children are currently attending – renovate, furnish rooms and also make them digital.