Kriti - working with the urban poor  
Vaaradhi – ultra poor initiative
Kriti was started with the mission to help alleviate urban poverty. Over a period of time we have realized that poverty has many dimensions. Its economic aspects include low income, poor consumption including of food, few assets such as land and household goods and low-paid, uncertain and casual livelihoods. But it also manifests in poor access to public services like clean drinking water, sanitation, healthcare and education.

Our work started with a project to identify the poorest households within a particular slum area and work with them over a period of a year on supplementing income, providing access to health care, improving children’s education, and creating linkages with the formal financial system. This project called the Vaaradhi project concluded in April 2011 and project details are given below. The project was funded by Unitus Labs. The program elements were as follows:
Livelihoods – Helping individuals establish sustainable livelihoods was the most important aspect of the program. Kriti provided skills training to its beneficiaries and then supported income generation by providing supply chain linkages and market access.
  • Preventive healthcare – The goal of this component of the program was to ensure that beneficiaries understood the importance of preventive healthcare and became educated about diet and nutrition.

  • Primary healthcare - Through the Vaaradhi pilot, Kriti wanted to give its beneficiaries access to affordable and quality healthcare. To accomplish this, the program established a primary healthcare clinic in the target area of Film Nagar. A qualified doctor visited the clinic every day and medicines were also dispensed.
Financial inclusion – Another important aspect of the program was to foster a culture of long-term, voluntary saving. In order to facilitate this, the Kriti team helped beneficiaries open savings accounts in large banks, which introduced them to the mainstream banking system. The program also offered a financial literacy training, which focused on financial planning, borrowing, and saving. Under this program, Kriti surveyed over 1200 households and selected 200 households for the pilot. Over a period of one year we have implemented the above initiatives with these households and are now continuing to support the households on the livelihoods initiatives.
Under this program, Kriti surveyed over 1200 households and selected 200 households for the pilot. Over a period of one year we have implemented the above initiatives with these households and are now continuing to support the households on the livelihoods initiatives.
Libraries & Activity Centers

At Kriti, we wanted to help children in the slums to enjoy the process of learning. Towards this we set up libraries and an activity center in the bastis. In all these libraries, children’s reading levels are assessed and reading and comprehension skills developed by providing them with appropriate books. The activity center (run from April 2010 – July 2011) provided a place for children to learn through activities such as crafts, painting, singing, science experiments etc.
Pre-school Centers
Kriti opened two pre-school centers in two bastis in the Film Nagar slums. The preschools are close to the child’s house, in a clean and homely environment. Parents are paying Rs 50 per month as fees and are very happy with the quality of education their children are getting close to their homes. The preschools have now been integrated with a larger early child care program being run by Naandi Foundation.
Go-to-School Project
Every child has a right to be in school. Unfortunately, even today in India there are a number of children who are not enrolled in schools and even more who drop out of schools because of various reasons. We undertook an intensive project in three bastis to identify every child that who have either never been to school or have dropped out of school at some stage, and to try to send them back to a suitable school.
After intensive surveys, we identified 105 children. For each of these cases, we had detailed discussions with the child and the family, and trying to figure ways to mainstream each of them. While we are still in the process of motivating and counseling some of them, we have so far ensured that over 50 children have enrolled in regular schools and 1 child has been enrolled in a residential bridge school. Also, for 40 children in regular schools, we are running remedial education centers to give them after-school support to catch up with the academics in school. These centers are being run with support from Naandi Foundation.
Kriti Clinics:
From April 2011 to December 2012 we set up a pilot program to establish five primary health care centers in different slums. These health care centers, known as Kriti Clinics, provided good quality primary health care services including doctor consultation, medicines and diagnostics to the people at an affordable price.
The Clinics were located in the slum and hence accessible to the target population. Treatment was provided by qualified doctors who were available at fixed times morning and evening every day thus providing quality and reliability. The Pharmacy stocked over 300 drugs that were sold at an average of 40% discount on MRP thus providing significant cost saving to the patients. There were tie ups with leading diagnostic centers and referral hospitals to ensure that the service was comprehensive and any price discounts we negotiated were passed on to the patients. The clinics were set up in Moosapet (April 2011), Yellamabanda (July 2011), Hafeezpet (Mar 2012), Jagadgirigutta (Apr 2012) and Borabanda (July 2012). The Pilot was completed by December 2012 and all clinics were closed. For any information about the clinics and the project, please drop an email to