Institute for Initiatives in Education (IFIE)


How IFIE began…

In 1992, India witnessed a violent upheaval in the form of conflicts between the upper castes and the lower castes and between the Hindus and the Muslims, the former over special privileges in jobs and education to the members of socially and economically backward classes and the latter over the demolition of a 15th century Mosque. These conflicts endangered the secular foundations of the Indian society. After a series of consultations with the civil society, in which over 5,000 people participated, we were convinced that education can bring a change to this situation. Hence, Sanchetana founded the Institute for Initiative in Education (IFIE) in 1993.

We could reach out to thousands of children from marginalized communities spreading the message of peace through our educational classes, which continued for more than 15 years. The coaching and tutorial classes for high school children were for both Muslims and Hindus. There were almost an equal number of Muslim and Hindu students in all the classes. Sitting side by side and attending classes together has helped remove mutual suspicion and misgivings among the Hindu and Muslim youths. We also organized programs like Celebrating inter-communal festivals, Leadership development camps for youths of both the communities, Cultural programs in which youth from different communities participate jointly, workshops and seminars for promoting inter-faith understanding. IFIE started its first coaching class in 1994-95. But within the next two years it inspired local groups to start similar classes in different places in Gujarat.

At present…

At present different capacity building programs are conducted for adolescent girls under IFIE. Personality development workshops, self defense training, training programs on social issues like child marriage, female feticide, sexual harassment, domestic violence, exposures to other organizations working on similar issues, outing etc are very important components of IFIE.

IFIE secondary education assistance program

We intervene with adolescent girls and their parents at personal as well as collective level to take girls towards higher education. We experience that each girl has a unique problem and hence we keep in touch with each of them. Also as we see there are many common problems prevalent which affect all the girls. So there is a need for general awareness and path showing so we reach out to hundreds of girls through collective approach. IFIE scholarship is an important component of this program in which scholarship (in terms of money or educational material) is given to adolescent girls and boys in our working areas whose financial condition is not good. Apart from scholarship personal counseling, career guidance workshops, personality development workshops etc are organized for these students. There are also many girls who leave education for various other reasons like parents are not allowing them to continue study, community pressure for their marriage, lack of motivation to study, sense of insecurity to go to schools far from their areas, lack of infrastructure at school etc. We intervene with these girls and their parents through personal meetings, community meetings, counseling etc. We follow these girls personally and see how we can take them towards higher education. We also try to make them understand relevance of education to their lives and the windows education opens up.

IFIE vocational training

Vocational training centre is given to adolescent girls at two centres- Behrampura - Danilimda and Bombay Hotel area. Bombay hotel area is a cluster of slums. The cluster came into existence after 2002 carnage in Gujarat. People (from minority community) from different areas of Ahmedabad have moved to this cluster. Population of the cluster is more than 1 lakh. The entire cluster is next to a mountain of solid waste (where the authority empties solid waste of Ahmedabad city to this place). Industries within the area worsen the situation. One can feel the smell and heaviness once enters the areas. Sanchetana has stood by the people since 2002 and we have made efforts to improve their standard of life, with of course, certain impacts. But still a lot need to be done. Vocational training centre for adolescent girls in the area has come with a ray of hope for the people. We have started computer, henna, English Speaking and Life skill courses in the centre. It would be interesting to note that the trainers of the classes are the girls who have participated in Adolescent Health Program of Sanchetana a few years ago. So their attachment with Sanchetana and the girls in the areas is really admirable.

At Behrampura centre we are collaborating with Dr. Reddy Foundation and started a “bedside patient assistance course” for our girls.