Locations: Bihar, Delhi & Maharashtra

Sponsor: Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives, Tata Education Trust, Individual Supporters.

Koshish Objectives:

Koshish was started as TISS Field Action Project in August 2006 with the primary objective of repealing the draconian beggary prevention law, which fails to recognize the circumstances that force people towards destitution and criminalizes poverty and acknowledge the historical and contextual realities like resistance and exclusion faced by de-notified communities, transgender community, persons with mental illness, those affected by leprosy, etc. Koshish aims to humanise existing institutions under the beggary prevention law and work towards the rehabilitation of custodialised populations living in beggars’ homes. It also works towards creation of policies and programmes for homeless populations and those who live at the margins of society in urban areas.

Koshish Programmes:

Koshish, started as student initiative, has developed to be a comprehensive intervention influencing critical policy decisions. Project is at the crucial stage where it has successfully advocated with the state as well as central governments for the repeal of the current legislation and formulation of central legislation that will be community based with non-custodial framework.  Some of the key programmes are:

  1. My Space: Experimental process facilitating 'free and secure environment' within custodial institutions. 
  2. Counselling, Life Skills Training and Capacity Building of clients by building their skills. 
  3. Mental Health Intervention with residents through individual and group sessions and referral to psychiatric care facilities.
  4. Medical Intervention to provide timely medical support through an ambulance service and referral to hospitals. 
  5. Calling Home programme to contact and trace families and help them reunite with inmates in beggars’ homes.
  6. Institutional Placement programme to facilitate social and vocational skill building process.
  7. Recreational Activities inside institutions to create a positive environment conducive to rehabilitation. 
  8. Protection of Legal Rights for persons arrested under the beggary prevention law.
  9. Employers' Collective to help released clients find employment. 
  10. Advocacy towards repeal of the anti-poor beggary law and rehabilitation of destitute populations. 
  11. Alliance Building and Networking with multiple stakeholders towards creation of a lobby of organisations working with homeless and destitute populations.
  12. Action Research on various aspects relating to beggary, implementation of law and situation of homeless and destitute populations. 
  13. Training of police, superintendents, probation officers and other institutional staff. 
  14. Youth Engagement Programme with college youth to develop their spirit of volunteerism and positive engagement towards responsible citizenship.
  15. Community based intervention, linking the clients with existing government schemes while enhancing their capacities through range of interventions to exit destitution. Impact: Koshish today has grown to occupy very significant position in the policy space, in the context of homelessness and destitution.

Some of the important developments are:

  1. Member, Special Committee, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. Of India, to review and prepare the draft for central legislation.
  2. Was taken as member, Working Group ( vulnerable groups), National Urban Health Mission, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India. Through this forum, we raised the issue of 'Access to Health Facilities' for custodial populations. 
  3. Member, Law Drafting Committee, constituted by Delhi Government to prepare the draft of Alternative law to replace the current Beggary legislation. 
  4. Member, ' Law Reform Committee', constituted by Government of Maharashtra to prepare the draft for alternative Legislation.
  5. Member, 'Sub-committee on Institutional Reforms', Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Maharashtra.
  6. Member, 'Home Management Committee', Social Welfare Department, Government of Bihar.
  7. Member, 'Selection Committee', Social Welfare Department, Government of Bihar.
  8. Member, Advisory Committee, constituted by Government of Delhi for Monitoring and Guiding the functioning of Custodial Institutions in the State established under the Beggary Prevention Law.
  9. Member (co-opted), Planning Commission Sub Committee on ‘Strengthening of Youth's Engagement in Community Work in Institutions of Higher Education’. ( Through this Committee, we brought up the role that youth can play in developing meaningful interventions for community engagement. Koshish was eventually included as one of the model interventions led by youth, that should be replicated at university level).
  10. Member, Task Force constituted by Delhi Government for the pilot program aiming for rehabilitation of Snake Charmers' Community.
  11. Member, Steering Committee, Survey  for  Delhi's Homeless, constituted by Delhi State.