Nayagram is an assisted community living programme.

Many women in Sarbari shelter surpass the limitations of the shelter programme. They desire for a more community/ family integrated living set-up, with greater self-dependence. Often, there is no trace of the family, or either the women refuse to go back to their families or the families reject them. In such a scenario, moving towards inclusion can be only fostered through community reintegration where the focus is on interdependent living.

The principle belief underlying this programme is that persons recover best, and truly experience inclusion when they return to the environment, they are accustomed to. Hence, Nayagram is situated in the rural village of Uttar Kashipur in South 24 Parganas West Bengal- about 2 hours from the city.

The multidisciplinary team alongside with the women help identify women who desire to move out of the shelter, into a rural, assisted living set up.

Nayagram is discussed with the women, and consent is taken for going for a short residential visit. This visit helps them get a glimpse into the life at Nayagram, the different agricultural and animal husbandry work options available, and the community amidst which the home stands. It also helps the woman to connect with the other residents of Nayagram.

Post this, a discussion is ensued for the shift to Nayagram, and necessary preparations are made for the same by the team and the said woman.

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Pranati entered into the care circle of Iswar Sankalpa in 2013 after being identified through a street survey. She narrated that she had come to Kolkata with her relatives in search of work but had fallen prey to mental illness and been left behind. She was restless, unkempt and failed to make eye contact with anyone. Long years of abuse had made her guarded. Slowly, through trust building interventions, she started responding to the team.

She started her journey at Nayagram in February 2018. Initially, she started with agricultural work along with other residents. After a few months, she started working in the kitchen too – grinding spices, washing utensils and cutting vegetables. Occasionally, she would feel like walking away and looking for her family; having no news of them created an underlying restlessness in her.

However, intensive work with her in developing interpersonal skills, learning to negotiate with the feeling of restlessness and frustration led to an increasing sense of calm in her, and strengthened her bond with other residents.

She loves dressing up and takes good care of herself. Most importantly she carries a smile on her face.

Standing in the veranda, she looks up at the sky and sings a rendition of Rabindra Sangeet, ‘Pagla hawa badol dine, pagol amar mon nechhe othe”. It is an appropriate expression of her inner world.

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