Changing lives: Socially Smart project of Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited gets leadership in slum girls to the forefront

Bhubaneswar: The Socially Smart Bhubaneswar Project of Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL), launched in collaboration with Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and implemented by Humara Bachpan Trust (HBT) has made many lives of the girls and community leaders successful as they are showing exemplary leadership quality through their dedication and work.
While Jasmin Nissa, a Plus Three first year student of Biju Patnaik College from Science Park Basti has become an SPO (Special Police Officer) by the Commissionerate of Police recently, Lipsa Nayak, a community leader and a field coordinator of the Socially Smart Bhubaneswar Project has been nominated as a member to the six-member Biodiversity Management Committee of BMC. Lipsa hails from Niladrivihar Riskshaw Colony Basti (B) and will work with other members for the biodiversity protection and conservation within the civic body area.
Likewise, Deepanjali Swain currently a student of Lab Technician Course at Centurion University from Jagannath Basti, Press Colony of Kharvel Nagar attended the ICPD-25 Meet at Nairobi recently and represented India, Many peer leaders from the Socially Smart Bhubaneswar Project have played crucial role while developing child friendly spaces, an initiative of Bhubaneswar Urban Knowledge Centre (BUKC) in Bapuji Nagar Government UGME School and open space of Shanti Nagar FCI Colony.
It would be pertinent to mention here that while the coordination of the Peer Leaders from Laxminarayan Basti near Bayababa Math area with BMC had resulted in fixing of 20 street lights for better safety and security in their area, in Kargil Basti their counterparts have got four street lights implemented through their persuasion with the civic body.
Peer Leaders or “Pragati Sathis’’ as they are commonly referred to, are the young boys and girls from slums of Bhubaneswar who have been trained in various life skills and are taking leadership to address issues and challenges of their community and neighborhoods.
These Peer Leaders had received nine days of intensive training on life skill education where after they started forming groups of young boys and girls at community level and started taking up issues and challenges of community with relevant stakeholders. It would be worth mentioning here that one of the initiatives of the project has been to bring different stakeholders and officials on one platform wherein community can directly interact with the official and represent their issues. The process has resulted in creating open defecation free (ODF) slums, cleaning of drains, regular removal of garbage, installation of dustbins, bringing children back to schools, stopping open sale of liquors etc.
In most of the cases it is these young children under the guidance of partner NGO Humara Bachpan Trust, which is playing pivotal role to create a safe and better living environment at community-level across the city. The project, which started with only eight slums within the Smart District area has now included 100 slums within its fold making more girls, women and youth in particular to the inclusive perimeter of the Smart City Proposal of the Temple City, which came on the Top among 100 participating cities in India.

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