In India, rickshaw pullers come from poor backgrounds and are essentially falling through the gap in HIV prevention education.
We spoke to project leaders Abhinav Singh and Mohita Keshari who have been a SAF grantee since December 2010, about targeting this group in a bid to decrease HIV prevalence and increase safe sex practices.
1. Why is there a need to target rickshaw pullers in your project?
A rickshaw puller is a person who is from a very low socio economic background and is living on less than a dollar a day. The government considers them a homogeneous group so their strategy to combat HIV prevention amongst this group is irrelevant. This gave us the idea of the project which is exclusively for rickshaw pullers.
2. How has your SAF grant helped you achieve your project goals?
Our SAF grant gave us the initial funding to start the project, and until that time it wasn’t possible to put our ideas into practise. In India if you are a young organisation you can’t have any government funding unless you’re three years old. There’s a lack of trust for youth-led NGOs in India.
The support and trust from SAF actually turned this idea into a reality.
3. How important is it then that youth-led organisations work with young people in India?
If we are doing something for ourselves we are the best person to do that. Even in our rickshaw puller project we have included this component. We train them in HIV prevention followed by a workshop which they design their messaging after the training. So they right the same messages in their local language.