In 2012, Aajeevika Bureau helped incubate Basic Healthcare Services (BHS). BHS is an organization of repute with focus on providing high-quality, low-cost primary healthcare services in rural areas affected by distress migration.
Tribal communities in remote, rural areas of south Rajasthan carry a high burden of illness and malnutrition. Distress migration, hazardous work and poor incomes combine to keep the health status of communities poor and compromised. Public health systems and services are deficient. So, when faced with an illness, many resort to informal treatment providers or seek care at an advanced stage of the disease. Often when the disease is advanced, they are pushed into seeking care from private hospitals, leading to high expenditure, and consequent slide into deeper debt.
BHS runs 6 AMRIT Clinics that provide easy access to primary health care services to an otherwise unserved population of over 90000. In addition, BHS manages a government Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC), thus demonstrating highest standards of quality and care in a public health setting. It also runs day-care centres for children under 5 (Phulwaris) in remote hamlets, that ensure proper nutrition and adequate care for children whose parents are deprived of these resources. The operations of BHS and Aajeevika are co-located.
In 2007, we helped establish Shram Sarathi, a pioneering non-profit company which works on financial inclusion of labour migrants and their families. The first dedicated financial services institution in the country for migrants, Shram Sarathi offers innovative financial services specially designed for low-income migrants. These include affordable credit, savings, insurance, old-age pensions, remittances and payments and a significant financial literacy program.
Low income migrant workers face serious exclusion from formal financial services due to their uncertain incomes and constant movement between villages and cities. In the absence of access to finance, they are unable to save and often get trapped in conditions of debt-bondage and over-indebtedness. Most migrant families are thus unable to increase their wealth despite years of migration.
Shram Sarathi’s work has resulted in the direct inclusion of nearly 50,000 previously unbanked migrant families. Workers report having gained a sense of dignity, reduction in borrowing distress, increased optimism about attaining future financial goals, entrepreneurial confidence, and improved participation of women in the family’s financial decisions