Amidst last decade of the 20th century, the lives of women and children in and around the district were in grave situation. Women belonging to the marginalized, the destitute and the deprived communities had worst condition. Their status was marked with high level of subjugation, drudgery and submissiveness. A say in the family decisions was negligible, mobility outside the four walls of the house was next to impossible. Absence of access to resources and high prevalence of social customs like child marriage, child labour and domestic violence were some other features that added to their all-round vulnerability. People were divided and discriminated on caste, culture, race and religion.
Purposely, it began taking small steps with right earnest implementing varieties of developmental programmes one after the other and began uniting women at SHG platform, from where they have the liberty to acquire knowledge, skill, expertise and tools, they need to generate income, accelerate business, get health services, prevent women violence, protect bio-diversity, conserve natural resources, mitigate calamities, strengthen local governance, have access to government schemes, financial control, encourage and strengthen gender and social equity and dialogue with stakeholders, policy makers making them accountable for pro poor policies. Year by year it extended its working area and for over 10 years, it is in the seven districts viz. Muzaffarpur, Sitamarhi, East Champaran, West Champaran, Darbhanga, Madhubani and Vaishali.
As a consequence, NIRDESH is progressing towards its Goal to build the nation a safe place for each individual and ‘Women’ an Empowered lot. And in the 17th years of its establishment, it could bring significant improvement in thousands of women lives through developmental projects. In the process of women empowerment, it nurtures 10183 vibrant Self Help Groups (SHGs) with 1,37,401 members has been formed, nurtured with a cumulative savings Rs. 15,90,43,754/-, Bank loan of Rs. 23,92,00,200/-, 3754 SHGs Passed 1st Grading, 1368 SHGs Passed 2nd Grading, 36 Cooperatives formed and 48,736 women members are involved in different Income Generating Activities such as animal husbandry, poultry, bee-keeping, agriculture and allied subject, food processing, dairy and milk processing, makhana production, badi-papad and pickle production, spices production, vermin compost production, candle and incense stick industry, art & handcrafts, artificial Jewelry, interior decoration, hand embroidery, tailoring and dress designing, bag production, rope and mat production, lac bangle production, bindi production, soft toys and flower production, appliqué and patch work, sujuni work, Mithila paintings etc. Many of such women are active agents of Change while many others vibrated the Local Governance. Many women are successfully running business enterprises of variety of trades keeping financial control with them. Then there are women cadres who are devoted to controlling of human trafficking and violence against women, building protective environment for them.
NIRDESH being women focused institution dared to reduce the gap and ensure gender justice & gender equity through women run institution like SHGs. NIRDESH sensibly cashed the opportunity (73rd constitutional amendment guaranteed women reservation seats in Panchayati Raj Institution) and started building capacity of the SHGs & insisted them to contest election. Hundreds of them got elected. Thereafter, it brought programmes for strengthening elected women representatives. The revolutionary change that is conspicuous is the participation of SHG members in Local Self Governance (Panchayati Raj System) as Mukhiya, Sarpanch, Ward members and Panch enabling women lot get gender justice as well gender equity. 2395 Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) are constructing balance of power between men & women in the family, the unit of society through mutual consent resulting into consensus.
Acknowledging that, "All children have the Right to live in safety and dignity in a protective environment that ensures that children are in school, laws are in place to punish those who abuse and exploit children and communities are aware of the risks which children face and the government, the elected Panchayat members, grass root level functionaries and civil society address children’s 'protection' issues to reduce their vulnerabilities" it introduced children focus projects which cover Survival, Education, Health, Protection and Participation Rights.
- Promotion of Right to Education through Pre-Schooling
- Promotion of Health through mainstreaming with health services
- Protection, Care and Rehabilitation through CHILDLINE 1098 services
- Promotion of Right to Participation through Childline Advisory Board
Health scenario of most of the districts of Bihar has ever been very poor and pathetic which contributed to lots of diseases leading life at risk. Women community was particularly at high risk on account of poverty, less awareness & conscious to health, negligence from male dominated society etc. Some common diseases that have been risking their lives are Malaria, Diarrhea, Kala-zar, anemia, malnutrition, STI/STD, HIV/AIDS and reproductive health etc. To reduce health risk NIRDESH has been implementing Health concern projects to ensure access to health services and has made all possible effort improving the health of thousands of women and is constantly engaging stakeholders and community towards mobilization, management and accountability.