community toilets, apart from soak pits, drains, and dustbins. ACF also promoted school sanitation through 69 trained swachhata doots in Darlaghat. An anti-tobacco drive covering 60 villages is being implemented at Chandrapur, in partnership with the Salaam Bombay Foundation. We have been able to make four villages and 10 schools tobacco free. ACF has also joined hands with various SACS (State AIDS Control Societies) to implement 10 targeted intervention projects on HIV/ AIDS in Punjab, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Gujarat. ACF also runs five HCCs (Health Care Centres) in collaboration with Apollo Tyres for STI (Sexually Transmitted Infections) management for truckers. ACF is regularly strengthening village level institutions, and health systems like ASHAs, anganwadis, and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to promote village self-reliance.

Women Empowerment

Women’s Empowerment is deeply embedded into ACF’s DNA and is interwoven into all its programmes. Assured access to water, developing a cadre of women to ensure health & education, and relevant skills training provide an opportunity for women to showcase their leadership. Access to finance and knowledge of running small businesses has also boosted the confidence of many women. In Kodinar, Chandrapur, and Darlaghat, women have grown from small Self Help Groups (SHGs) of 15-20 members, to form a federation consisting of 2,000-3,000 women. The Sorath Mahila Sahkari Mandali in Kodinar, Gujarat, has opened a retail outlet and promotes entrepreneurship by running a stitching course for its members. The group got its much needed recognition when the Government reached out to it with its insurance scheme. The federation extends its support to members in times of emergencies. These initiatives have played a critical role in elevating the status of women. Since the process has been
participatory, the changes brought about are irreversible and have become a permanent feature. The women’s federation has also joined hand with the Swachhata Mission by promoting sanitation in the villages. The federation undertakes sanitation awareness programmes and provides revolving fund support to purchase material for the construction of toilet blocks for the needy families.

Promoting Education

ACF promotes education through varied programmes across its locations. Innovative teaching and learning methodologies introduced in schools coupled with teacher training, make subjects interesting & easier to understand. ACF-trained balmitras (friends of children) support children in math & science. ACF also provides infrastructural support like establishment of science centres, libraries etc. to schools. Locations like Bathinda, Roorkee, and Nalagarh have a large population of children who are out of school. The NFEs (Non-formal Education Centres) cater to their needs by providing basic literacy and encouraging them to be a part of the mainstream education system. The Ambuja Manovikas Kendra (AMK) is a special school for mentally challenged children in Ropar. Through a range of activities and programmes like therapies, sports, cultural activities, etc., AMK helps them grow as independent & productive individuals. The children have been winning awards at the State Level Olympics Championship and at the World Special Olympics for the last nine years. AMK also extends its services to children who cannot travel to school, through its Home-based Rehabilitation Programme. ACF-supported village knowledge centres (VKCs) are frequented by youth to learn computer-use and English. Other community members also visit the centre to get agriculture-related information through the magazines & journals in the library.