Who we are
Ragpickers Education & Development Scheme (REDS) is working for the socio-economic development of ragpickers, coal-pickers, domestic-helpers, child-labourers, neglected children of daily labourers and migrated families (of Schedule Cast and Schedule Tribe) in Bengaluru (Karnataka), Ranchi (Jharkhand), Hosur (Tamil-Nadu) and Patna (Bihar), who are in need of help to sustain and would like to use the available resources properly by collaborating actively for their prosperity.
REDS’s programs -street contacts, medical aid, literacy, recreational activities, formal education, vocational skill training, computer literacy, family visits, sensitization, income generation and financial assistance through self-help groups- had been formulated to eliminate ignorance, to prevent victimization and to promote holistic development for the needy children and their families in urban and rural areas. Seasonal and motivational camps are organized, by networking with expertise and professionals to emphasize the educational development of girl-children, to create self-employment opportunities, to promote healthy motherhood and to educate on civic responsibility.
The field-staff and the street-educators identify the beneficiaries, initiate a working relationship, discuss with the children’s guardians and refer them to the REDS-contact centers. The centers-in-charge and the professionals analyze their needs and respond favourably through the concerned authorities. The illiterate and the school drop-outs are tutored and assisted to enroll at the nearby formal schools. Their entire educational needs like school fee, uniform, text-books and stationeries are provided. To monitor their academic-progress continuously, these students are invited to the centers after the school-hours, for extra coaching and for nutrition.
REDS-staff maintain a working-relationship with the school authorities and continue to organize motivational camps for the beneficiaries and their guardians. A few of the former beneficiaries have joined the staff-team. Some of them assist during special programs and others introduce REDS to their friends and to the needy.
How REDS began!
REDS activities were initiated by an Inter-religious Dialogue Group and the Catholic Workers Movement in April 1979, as they had seen the sufferings of the migrated poor and their exploitation. This noble mission got a new shape in 1984 through the support of BMSSS- Bangalore Multi-purpose Social Service Society. With the support of local and international agencies, a shelter was built at the Sacred Heart Church campus for these poor children. Volunteers and well-wishers from the neighborhoods, pious associations, social clubs, institutions, and companies donated food and clothing to observe their family anniversaries and to celebrate seasonal festivals at the shelter. Some institutions had taken these children to their homes to celebrate with them. Youth groups and college students and trainees shared their skills, values and taught them literacy. How did the Marianist-Trust become involved in REDS: During the initial formation period, the Marianists receive multiple pieces of training, to serve the rural and urban poor, exposed to assisting the sick, the physically challenged, the destitute, and the socially marginalized. In line with the Marianist heritage, the seasoned educationists, professionals, and social workers help the Marianists practice cardinal virtues and eliminate ignorance, vices, and prejudices.
In 1988, the pioneering Marianists- scholastics and the aspirants in Bengaluru-visited the ragpickers- contact center as part of their educational activities. The following year they had socialized and entertained these underprivileged children at the Marianists’ residence. That hospitality evening enlightened the Marianists to get associated with REDS.
Since then, we gladly share our resources with them. REDS office, REDS – Skill training programs- and the contact centers are located within the Marianist campus! Participants visit us cheerfully with their siblings, friends, and relatives and with pets!
From 1992 onwards, the Marianist Trust supports and sponsors all the activities of REDS. In 1995, the Marianists-novices had initiated the survey in Ranchi to work for the welfare of the ragpickers. In July 1996, the Marianists sponsored the observation survey officially, with permission from the Ranchi archdiocese. The report was submitted to Chapter 1996 and REDS Ranchi was inaugurated in 1997 and REDS Skill Training Center (STC) was initiated in Deepahalli Bengaluru in 1998. Earlier, the Patna Archdiocese invited the Marianists in Digha-Ghat, Patna, to study the plight of the Musahar ragpickers of the Maha-Dalit communities extending the services of REDS Ranchi, among the other outreach programs. From October 2012, the Marianists in Patna continues to maintain regular contact with the rag-picking children and their families to initiate REDS-Patna. The ragpickers and their friends come to the Marianists’ residences on Saturdays for recreational activities and refreshments. The neighbors have joined hands to help these friendly visitors.
In 2004, the Marianists and the REDS- Bengaluru staff were asked to initiate a survey in House, the bordering city of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, to extend the REDS program which would prevent migration. Based on the results, the Marianist Trust permitted opening two playschools and two tailoring units in Parvathi Nagar and Ram Nagar, Hosur. There are four teachers and two support staff to run the programs. At present, there are 75 children in two playschools and 65 trainees in the two tailoring units. The local councilors and the neighbors continue to support these programs. The REDS-STC (Skill Training Center) provides residential training programs for boys in carpentry, welding, tailoring, computer, plumbing, and basic-electrical course besides educating them on mental health, healthy recreational activities, sports & games, personal hygiene, social-life skills, communication skills, and value education. The eligible trainees appear for the SSLC exams. The primary school-aged children are enrolled in the nearby formal school. REDS Ranchi had introduced traditional knitting, creative embroidery, and marketable soft-skill training. Different
income generation activities are introduced to the trainees and their families. They participate actively for their prosperity. The well-experienced REDS staff team and the support staff compassionately provide multiple opportunities to the underprivileged to live a dignified life through the kind resources of the Marianist Trust, benefactors, friends, institutions, agencies, companies, well-wishers, associations, and enthusiastic volunteers from all walks of life!
REDS also trains youth to create awareness among the public. REDS gladly welcomes the like-minded to create a bright future for the disadvantaged. If you are willing, please contact the nearby office, thank you!
Message from our Director
Dear Friends and well wishers of REDS,
As I look back with gratitude, I admit that your kind sharing has made a great difference in our beneficiaries, who come from a ‘hand to mouth’ family environment. Educating the illiterate: Today, illiterate guardians, relatives, and parents are convinced to educate their children, who used to obtain extra cash for the family by ‘hook or crook’ in an unhealthy risky environment. What a significant paradigm shift the REDS staff team had created!
Initially, the beneficiaries had expressed their inability to create a better future for their siblings and their offspring due to the limited earning from the unsecured and underpaid odd jobs elsewhere. All shared to clear the family debts and realized the importance of additional income to survive. They blamed their destiny and the past generation for their misery. They were convinced of the practicality to survive using their hands. They admitted their ignorance of the procedures to complete the administrational requirements. They were occupied and often on the move. Due to this, their children weren’t registered even to utilize the government benefits.
REDS staff assisted in their needs and had obtained their cooperation to create an educational environment in the family. By this, REDS has produced several literates of first-generations. Many children have completed their secondary and higher secondary education and a few are in the process of completing their Degree. Several beneficiaries are earning a better salary and their living standard has improved. They have utilized their professional skills to leap forward and are shining! When REDS was initiated in Bengaluru, REDS gave loans to rent rooms and houses in the Vivek Nagar area and introduced them to different business establishments and residential areas to collect dry and wet wastes.
ID cards were issued to the regular street contacts to protect them from misunderstanding and to prevent unnecessary harassment. They had repaid the loans through daily savings. Some of them have obtained their own residence from the government schemes and with the help of kind benefactors. REDS walked with them to monitor their progress, to motivate, to assist in their needs, and joined them in their gatherings. They became like an extended family, to be counted on. Many of them turned out to be responsible citizens in social life, gentle fathers, and caring mothers. I would like to highlight a few developmental histories.
Blessing In Christ’s Peace
Fr. Sudhir Kujur, S.M Executive Director-REDS