This project is new and innovative of its’ kind as globally the use of solar energy is being replacing traditional energy to protect globe from warming and especially in India this is now a days quite new still;

    however, this type of collaboration from the companies and assistance from their CSR fund can go long way to bring impact

    on the lives of downtrodden people as well as the society and earth.

    This project brought light to six families covering 36 lives including children who are studying and now can continue uninterruptedly. The homemakers now can take hygienic care of their kitchen and household cleanliness by using this device.

    The other side of this project is empowerment of local key people whom training and technical knowhow is being given on the usage of the device

    and in case of issues with the device they can attain for servicing with nominal service charge. This is very tiny effort but in the long run they can start their service centre/unit to provide service to solar related devices.

    On the whole, this small emphasis opened up a new era of these people and they are happy and delighted with this support extended to them to live a better tomorrow in one part of the Globe from S&P Global Foundation through COSMOS.

    We look forward for continous surrport for reaching more people living with darkness and minimum means of facilities.

    • 1. Portable Solar System Support Project - This project includes implementation of innovative and commercially affordable solar based lighting solutions. The device called “Suryadeep” will be provided to families living in distress in remote villages where there is no electricity.
    • 2. Rights and Protection of Children on and around platform - 600 children and their families addressed to established their rights and protection. Sensitization of District Administration, Corporation, Police and host community.
    • 3. Awareness Generation on Rights of Women Labour – 500 women are addressed and 15 camps are organized to aware their rights. District Administration, Panchayat, Employer are sensitized.
    • 4. Organised workshop on networking - CBOs, NGO in the district of Jalpaiguri in collaboration of District Administration. Follow-up meetings were held in four parts of the district for capacity building and address of the issues.
    • 5. Awareness on Workers’ Rights – 10 camps organized in collaboration with Central Workers’ Education Board (Min. of Labour, GOI) to educate workers on their rights.
    • 6. Workshop on Education for All – Organised in collaboration with District Administration, Corporation, Municipalities, NGOs and Unicef to protect and establish rights for not going school children.
    • 7. Consumer Awareness – Organized seminar, street corner, meeting with Bazar Samities to protect consumer on their rights.
    • 8. I. C. T. – Organised four centers in collaboration with UNESCO and NF Railway to extend benefit to the poorest of the poor in the Darjeeling District.
    • 9. Protection Child Labour – 250 children are withdrawn from their workplace and alternative vocational training with basic education is continuing.
    • 10. Protection of Children on and around railway platform/yard – Continuing with 550 children on their education and protection by withdrawing them from free access of railway and other places.
    • 11. Vocational Training Centre – Open for computer literacy for the children from railway platform and yard. Sewing and knitting for the mother and adolescence girls in the community.
    • 12. S. S. A. – Organising 300 centres at Jalpaiguri district (Rural) for out of school children; while urban is still waiting to be started like Siliguri and Darjeeling district.
    • 13. Community Medicine Centre – Low cost medicine center for the poorer section started at the Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital complex in collaboration with Handicapped Rights Group of Jalpaiguri.
    • 14. CHAI project – Collaboration for Hope and Advancement in India is a programme targeted to take 12 villages in every year for four years to establish rights and protection in Darjeeling communities. The components are Open Initiatives, which includes road construction, pony path, latrines, and water system by involving local groups. Youth Component to develop youth skills and vocational training enable youths to identify and capitalize on potential village opportunities. Health highlights on Watsan and stress on kitchen gardening, hygiene, sanitation, composting pits, village cleaning.
    • 15. Care N Support – A counseling platform for AIDS positive in five districts of North Bengal in collaboration with local NGOs and VCT centers, Hospitals.
  • SAMARPAN - A project supported by UNICEF

     1. Theme:
    The SAMARPAN project is an extension of the basic agenda of UNICEF to work with local and grass root development organizations towards a equitable and justifiable social order. According to Article 28 of the Conventions on the Rights of the Child,- “the state recognizes the rights of the child to education and they shall make primary education compulsory and free for all”. SAMARPAN project has divulged the CRC convention into reality through the involvement of local stakeholders and the partner agency, COSMOS, to secure the child rights to primary education, access to health and emotional support to those children who do not get the access to health. COSMOS has bred the responsibility of extending the program to the target communities with the support from UNICEF and the State Social Welfare Department and District primary Education Council through SSA). Hence looking at the program one could see that the program was one-dimensional in nature. In fact the thematic approach had consolidated the developments needs of the children as its primordial focus. The gradual metamorphosis of childhood into adulthood and responsible citizenship had been taken up through exposure to education along with co-curricular activities and initiation into child development eventuality for the children and as well as their family members and community.

    2. Goal of the Project:

    The attainment of complete development for the child depends on the socio-economic conditions prevailing as well as the congenial atmosphere of growth and development promoted and sustained by the family, group, community and the stakeholders like the state. The child being the focus of the project had endeavored to bring into focus the stakeholders responsibility to help the child grow. Hence SAMARPAN, as the name etymologically refers in Bengal- ‘ Commitment’, involves the service and demand generation for services pertaining to development of the child and also linking and bring about responsible stakeholders involvement in the development of the child. Considering the above one can state that SAMARPAN project aims at not only providing primary education but also the necessary inputs for a child’s mental and physical health through various co-curricular activities. The ultimate goal of the project was to ensure that each child would grow into  a healthy, educated and self-reliant adult.


    Narrative Summary

    Measurable indicators

    Means of verification

    Important assumptions/risks

    Time frame






    • To protect children from moving on/around platform/railway yards and nearby slums, involvement of child labour/trafficking with single or no parents.
    • To provide proper quality education, to mainstream into government schools.
    • Involved community to undertake the program on its own.
    • 500 children involved in moving around in the project area will be reduced
    • Health and nutritional status of children
    • Participation of Government agencies and SSA
    • Community participation
    • Linkages with mainstreamed school
    • Records of routine reviews by Samurnata staff by project coordinator.
    • Secondary information local administration and SSA
    • School enrollment and rate of drop out
    • Process evaluation by Cosmos and Railway Children
    • Political will - from all sectors of the society
    • Acceptance by parents and community of the need to eliminate child labour and child abuse
    • Long term donor support for activities which will address to overcome the root causes
    • Fear of eviction
    • Migration of families from time to time for livelihood

    Three years


     1. Theme:
    Introduction:Our perception of various developments Issues relating to North Bengal evolves from hard facts experienced in the area. They are depicted in the following:

    – Very low literacy rate. Almost 16000 deprived urban children identified so far. Education for students are generally restricted up to Class VI or VIII. High dropout rates (nearly 62%), from primary to middle school lervel. Abnormally high students-teacher ratio at primary level schools which occassionally touches 150:1. There are large numbers (approximately 36%) of out of school children in the three districts, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar. In Coochbehar particularly, the out of school boys comprises 16.25% of school age (5 – 9 years) boys population matched by 19.92% of girls. (source Child register North Bengal)

    – Most of the health centers are dysfunctional. There is hardly any staff available and scanty arrangement for medicines. Immunization suffers greatly affecting both expectant mothers and new born.

    Poor communication facilities and inaccessible areas: Networks of kutcha and seasonally operational roads connect almost 75% of the area. In spite of the fact that both types of rail and road arterial links with Northeast to rest of the country passes through the districts, yet, the majority poor from hinterlands remain inaccessible to such services and thereby, market opportunity and overall economic growth.

    Flood prone area: The areas are affected perpetually by floods due to receding carrying capacity of the tributaries of Bramhaputra and Ganges caused by rapid deforestation in Bhutan and Nepal and from dams controlling water flow.

    Concentration of minorities and refugees and problems of unemployment: Being geographically sandwiched among three sovereign states of Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, and the area blessed with parenially stagnant or dying agriculture tea industry still beacons daily labour from across the border. Its unofficial rate stands around 3000 daily, of whom, nearly 2 to 3 percent actually settle down in ever spreading slums of the local cities and along the banks of rivers flowing through the municipalities of Siliguiri, Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar. It results in an obvious fall-out in flesh trade, poised to bloom into STD/HIV/AIDS epidemic in future affecting whole of the country. As the passing transport operators turn-out to the biggest clientele to the trade from all over India.   

    Lack of human resource development: There crippled in terms of development in infrastructure and services, suffers from lack of diversification in trade, commerce and industry. With agriculture becoming uncertain, the available training facilities are too small to cope with growing over-dependence on land and out break of social strife. The area suffers from absence of appropriate training facilities and above all civil society organizations to compliment deliveries to families, youth and children, especially girl child, to divert them from immoral practices of drug peddling, sexual-works and other related abuses.

    Low investment from the government as well as Donor NGOs in this region.: This is simply evident from the fact that there is only one university and one medical college. To cater for almost third of state’s population, where as nearly five medical colleges and five universities exist in South Bengal, shows the discriminatory character of development.

    Very few voluntary organizations working in North Bengal and No networking effort.
    No NGO support organization here.
    NGOs are not focused to work for the people.

    Special attention is to be paid to the protection of children who are particularly vulnerable. Focus is to be given to the area of juvenile justice and raising capacities to care for neglected or abandoned children, child laborers, and children with disabilities. The ideology of the Government of West Bengal (GOWB) has translated itself into the creation of a strong and active self-government system both in urban and rural settings, with planning and implementation of development programs taking places at the grassroots. Recently concluded elections of local rural bodies (Panchayats) elected over 60,000 leaders of whom one third are women. The presence of such a mass of women leaders provides an ideal channel for gender and child focused interventions and policy advocacy development, effective service delivery and community empowerment. 


     Executive Summary

    The CHAI Project’s fifth quarter showed real momentum towards improving the living standard of Darjeeling’s communities.  Highlights included the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Cosmos, which availed funding for Open Initiative activities that included the construction of a road, a pony path, seventeen latrines and three water systems.  All twelve Community Initiative Groups (CIG) were formed and assessed their current ability to identify resources, plan, manage finances, advocate for community needs, and resolve conflicts. 

    The Youth Component also made headway.  The first ever Inter-Village Youth Camp was held which enabled forty-eight village youth to build valuable skills and expand upon their knowledge, while sharing experiences about their lives, villages and chosen vocations.  Market surveys enabled youth to identify, evaluate profitability and capitalize on potential village opportunities.   Baseline data collection, including a capacity building assessment of village youth, set an impact gauge for these activities. 

    Health highlights included completing the “Watsan Competitions” in the last four communities to stress the importance of hygiene, sanitation, kitchen gardens, composting pits, latrine maintenance and village cleaning.   Additionally, a visit from Judiann McNulty, MC Health Director, served instrumental in improving staff knowledge about causes of gastro-intestinal illnesses, implementing community-based monitoring systems, summarizing Year One Village baseline information, and identifying villages for Year Two.  

    In April 2004, the CHAI Project was fortunate to receive visits from Steve Smith, Tazo Founder, Rich Read, Oregonian Reporter and Tony Tellin, Tazo Senior Tea Specialist.   The guests, visiting six out of the twelve communities during their four day stay, saw four on-going construction projects, talked with villagers about CHAI activities and impact, and viewed cultural shows performed by members from several villages.   The CHAI partnership also received coverage at the January Starbucks Annual Leadership Conference, where Tazo and Mercy Corps staff jointly shared success stories.

    Additional milestones included developing a Year Two Workplan, establishing guidelines for the Year Two Village selection process and drafting of the CHAI Relief Component.

    Administratively, CHAI office staff was busy this quarter.   The new Cosmos partnership required the transfer of all but one national staff person to Cosmos (Anup, Finance Manager, remained with Mercy Corps) and the opening of two new positions: an Accountant and Administrative Assistant.  Establishing Cosmos CHAI finances in accordance with Indian and Cosmos regulations was also executed.  Visits from several Cosmos representatives helped to facilitate the smooth and efficient turnover.   

    CHAI staff are looking forward to next quarter’s events, including completion of at least four OI Projects and commencement of OI Projects in the rest of Year One Villages; commencement of youth vocational trainings in all twelve Year One Villages; final selection of Year Two Villages; commencement of PRA work in Year Two villages; and the execution of the CHAI Relief Component. 

    This report covers the period from the January 1, 2004 to March 31, 2004 and comes in three sections. The first section contains reports on general progress to date, challenges, and special stories; the second section contains information on future plans; while the final section is the appendix and contains supporting details.

    Leslie Jones
    Project Director


    The Collaboration for Hope and Advancement in India (CHAI) is a project that aims to improve the quality of life in the rural communities in and around Darjeeling, a town high in the hills in the north of West Bengal, India. The CHAI project has its roots in several years of acts of charity undertaken by representatives of Tazo, a beverage company based in Portland, Oregon, USA. Tazo buys a considerable amount of tea from the area and during commercial field visits was exposed to the living conditions of the villages on and around the famous tea gardens of Darjeeling District. It is Tazo that now funds the CHAI project, with generous contributions from its business partners in India and the USA – notably Starbucks, the coffee company.

    The project was researched, designed and is now supervised in Darjeeling by Mercy Corps, a non-profit international relief and development agency that is also based in Portland, Oregon as well as in Edinburgh, Scotland. Mercy Corps has been working since 1979 to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. The agency now operates in over thirty countries worldwide, where more than two thousand employees work in a wide range of humanitarian projects. In India, however, the CHAI project is the only staffed project, and so the Darjeeling office both represents the agency nationally as well as being the base for CHAI.  In order to comply with Indian Law the project recently joined with COSMOS, a Calcutta based non-profit organization focusing on improving the lives of marginalized children.  COSMOS is now responsible for implementing the CHAI Project and Mercy Corps oversees the operations, monitoring and evaluation.  Together Tazo, Mercy Corps and COSMOS are working to make a profound and long-term difference in the lives of thousands of people living across rural Darjeeling.