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July 2012
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The Strengths Project in Shiriti Slum, Kolkata, India

Posted by: Avirupa Bhaduri & Alex Linley


As regular readers of The Capp Blog may remember, for a number of years Capp has been supporting strengths-based community development through a Women’s Sewing Co-operative in the Shiriti slum in Kolkata, India.


Avirupa Bhaduri is our Strengths Consultant, based in Kolkata, who leads this work, and who will bring us regular updates on how the project is progressing.


In this post, Avirupa explains what happened when we first visited Shiriti and how we came to decide to work with Shiriti slum in particular:


“We reached Shiriti at about mid morning. Though I have visited quite a few slums in the course of my work, I found Shiriti to be remarkably well organised. To start with Shiriti is a registered slum, has somewhat permanent structures, electricity is available in most houses, however admittedly, some connections were not quite legally obtained. The slum has a community square, even a govt. aided primary school can be found in the premise.


Shiriti is home for about 300 families comprising 5 members each on an average. We were greeted by a group of kids, cheering loudly. Their parents and community elders held back, hesitantly. We then decided to split into two groups to understand, communicate and connect better with the neighbourhood.


At the end of the day we met to share and discuss about our respective experience. Among the diverse people that we met, one factor was common, the residents of Shiriti had a sense of pride about their community, and a surprising bond of fellow feeling. For e.g. when Alex asked a middle aged man about his ideal dream, he answered that he would like to take his whole neighbourhood to a better and cleaner more posh place.


This got Alex to reflect if we can explore the possibilities of community strengths, and the idea for our work with strengths-based community development in Shiriti was born.”


In future posts, we will tell you more about the story of how our work with Shiriti evolves, and also give you updates on the issues, challenges and opportunities faced by the people living in this remarkable community.

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