The Alliance :
Today, we see the closure of a decade of work which began very slowly through explorations, and which has gradually become a very vitally emotive and strong feature of the work of the alliance. SPARC Mahila Milan and NSDF clearly seek to continue their association with the street children and their federation who they see as their junior partners and who are unquestionably a part of our "clan".
SPARC was registered in 1984 by its founders - social workers, researchers, students, doctors and other professionals who wished to participate in the creation of an institution which would explore new forms of partnerships with the poor in their quest for equity and social justice. The acronym SPARC stands for "Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres". It attempts to fulfil a vision of our beliefs, strategies and roles. We believe that the poor must be organised, and in order to sustain this, it is they who need to develop skills. Hence it becomes essential to create a physical, emotional and social space for people to pool their human resources and facilitate learning. An Area Resource Centre (ARC) is the term which we have coined to describe that space. We, at SPARC would attempt to create, strengthen and develop such ARCs.
National Slum Dwellers Federation was started in the mid 1970s by slum leaders from several cities who wished to participate in all policy discussions affecting the poor. On observing SPARC and the MM they sought to align themselves with this partnership.
Mahila Milan which means "women together" was what the 600 women from pavement settlements called themselves. These women were strong, confident and articulate as a result of their training and while they sought to strengthen their own work, they also began to link up and share experiences with other settlements.
Homeless International, UK has been a long standing partner of the alliance and one which has assisted us to explore many new and "risky" ventures which seemed "strange" to be funded because the outcomes did not look so good sitting in the UK.
But on every occasion the outcome in real terms has been terrific in a subjective sense of enablement and empowerment and has assisted thousands of communities to pursue their processes.
We are participating in a vibrant and innovative process in which we assist as support and strengthen what young people are trying to do through the federation. their lives and their evolution is the manifestation of this journey.
In the next part of this journey we look for those who seek to strengthen and support this journey as a process. not partners who force us to look at projects and deliver goods and services.
We will design a strategy for the next three years starting from where we are, and we will try and assist all those who want to help us achieve that to understand this better and feel enthused by it.
We hope that a wide spectrum of people will join this process.