Start of project House of Smile. All Community-centric projects under one roof.
A book named Samarpita was released on Prof. Apte’s first death anniversary.
Prof. Meenakshi Apte, the founder of Swadhar and the cornerstone of its strength, inspiration, motivation and passion, passed away on March 14. She was a born social worker and had a deep understanding of societal needs and their underlying problems, and always strived to find ways of dealing with them. Besides being a successful professional, she was a loving and friendly individual, a very considerate teacher and above all a mother figure for all at Swadhar - staff and beneficiaries, alike.
Swadhar as an organization was a recipient of R M Lala Endowment Support since Late Russi M Lala donated a share of his property as an Endowment to the organisation through his will.
The Vikasdeep initiative was started in Akshardeep project, during this year. It was developed in order to address problems faced by expecting mothers, caregivers and their community. It aims at promoting holistic development - physical, cognitive, social, and emotional - in children between 0-3 years of age who are born and raised in the urban slums.
The Reading Class project was established this year, in the Pimpri Chinchwad area. This initiative was designed especially for children studying in grades 1 to 4 of local municipal schools. It was realized that after students from non-formal education classes were mainstreamed into formal schools, their dropout rate could be reduced considerably, if their reading skills were strengthened. The Reading Class project was developed as a solution to this problem.
Project Phulora was started this year in Pimpri-Chinchwad area.'Phulora' is a life-skill education proram for addescent irls and young woman.
The Rays of Hope project was started this year with help from Save the Children, Canada. With this project Swadhar aimed at providing support to HIV/AIDS affected children in the form of nutrition, medicines, foster care, educational sponsorship and counseling. This year also saw the beginning of Asha Community Centers for consolidation of all projects.
The Community Library project was initiated during this year. With a growing demand for Abhyasikas or Study Centers, it was decided to begin a Community Library, which would serve not only to inculcate a reading habit but would also provide an additional opportunity and support for the learning and education of children. The community library is accessible to all the members of a community and has proven to be a very successful initiative.
This year saw the transformation of Swadhar into becoming Swadhar IDWC (Institute for Development of Women and Children). Prof. Apte realized that working for women alone is only half the work done. Working towards making women self-reliant and empowered, works hand-in-hand with an affirmation that their children would have more promising futures. She therefore decided to broaden the scope of Swadhar’s work, now to extensively include the welfare and development of underprivileged children thus transforming Swadhar into its new avatar.
Special focus on education of girls. It started as a One-Donor-One-Student project and aimed at providing financial support, material support, career guidance and counseling to girls and young women who want to pursue education sincerely. 40 girls benefitted from this project in the first year itself.
Work in the field of children education was started this year. With support from Dorabjee Tata Trust the Alternate School Project came into being, which later developed into the Akshardeep project. Children from under privileged families often drop out of school due to reasons like distance of school, migration of parents, responsibility of younger siblings or non-conducive environment. Akshardeep project was aimed at providing these children with access to school. Swadhar also received support from Unicef for its work towards children’s education. .
Project Mohor came into being this year and started functioning in the Budhwar Peth area of Pune. It was aimed at providing proper care, protection, good nutrition and an overall-development-conducive environment to the children of commercial sex workers. This was all done in a day care center established in an old Municipal Corporation school.
Prof. Meenakshi Apte moved to Pune in 1994 after completing her tenure as Head of Department of Family and Child Welfare in Tata Institute of Social Sciences. In 1995, she along with Mrs. Sulabha Joshi and Mrs. Suchitra Date started the Pune chapter of Swadhar. Family counseling and Jagar Manavtecha form the first initiatives of the Pune chapter.
Swadhar was founded by Prof. Meenakshi Apte and Mrs. Mrinal Gore in Goregaon, a suburb in Mumbai, to extend any required support and guidance to women in distress. It’s very first initiative was a counseling center that continues to function even now.