Haiyya: Our Story in a Capsule

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Haiyya is inspired from an iconic youth workers cry, Zor lagaa ke..Haiyya! It is an audio effect to any forceful action we take, like beginning to play tug of war or row a boat, symbolising that societal change can only take place collectively but the voice and action of one leader is needed in order to spark the change.

Haiyya believes that community organizing can not only solve civic and social issues touching public lives, but even add to the wealthy repository of values and lessons to achieve a self sustainable means of existence. We are assembled by our supporters’ collective significance, we capitalise on each other’s strength and the most important resource we organise is time and resources. With an aim to strengthen participatory democracy in urban neighbourhoods in India, we engage with the community and steer its efforts to transform them from an aware and deliberative state of mind into a more constructively active, participative and organized citizenry.

Haiyya, founded in 2013 and led by Aprajita Pandey is based on the Marshall Ganz’s principles and framework of community organising which like many organisations globally, adapt and extend Marshall’s practiced work and ideas in a localised context. Dr. Ganz puts it rightly:

“Stories not only teach us how to act – they inspire us to act. Stories communicate our values through the language of the heart, our emotions. And it is what we feel –our hopes, our cares, our obligations – not simply what we know, that can inspire us with the courage to act.”

Pursuing the tools and techniques that Ganz has developed with great emphasis on the ‘Story of self, us and now’, Haiyya is developing its own story through inspiring the story of others in India. We are talking of ‘others’, who are willing to find that direction and accept responsibility to be leaders in their communities towards a common purpose.

As the regular urban citizen makes a ‘decent’ quality of life for themselves, we often find less to no time for paying attention towards the state of waste management, open drain, the failing public transport systems, to understand our locality’s elect or even attend a neighbour’s funeral! We are not to entirely take the blame when efforts made have been seen to fail and corruption is well soaked in a sponge of a community. For Haiyya, this itself becomes the reason to try out different methods and take that risk just once more in order to reaffirm the potential of people’s power.  At Haiyya, we are holding on to the age old concept of community organisation, though contextualizing it to suit the various urban settings we live in today, cognisant of their peculiar culture, composition and miscellaneous norms. Since a model that works in one place cannot be entirely duplicated at another, Haiyya capitalises on personal relationships, which is the currency of the work that we do; time commitments; and we envision what the community wishes to achieve.

For change and its sustainability, Haiyya chooses to enable citizens to lead, so we can together demonstrate that a different story CAN exist. With them, we share community organising strategies which hold both our government and the citizens accountable for solving civic issues. We build and provide training and toolkit to recruit and structure teams that to create a positive and solution specific environment for shared neighbourhood identity.

What inspires us is the bravery of those who speak up when something is wrong and the leaders who make others more powerful. On this premise, we at Haiyya are for power in the neighbourhood and we BELIEVE that individual potential is what channels public action.

Our campaigns in Mumbai and Delhi have had a dominoes effect and our sole intention is to expand them and their word deeper and wider. The weather, terrain and situations change the entire ball game and so do Haiyya’s methods in different scenarios without compromising on its values. Our aim to transcend into a value based organisation will serve as a platform to foster faith in each other and for communities to grow – till you keep true to the commitment of time and energy these efforts will demand.

Unless the average citizen puts their value and voice at the forefront of community, the issue will remain as it is, business-as-usual will persist, status quo be maintained, our stories will not grow and time will simply slide. Leadership can successfully be nurtured and so can the feeling of concern and the practice of action. Haiyya is focussed towards a better neighbourhood and a better society and if you are, then it’s time to take a lead and start your campaign. Join us and amplify this idea.

Vote for Haiyya as a Leader in Volunteer Engagement at http://bit.ly/1dvo88E and support us! Provide your comments and feedback to us at act@haiyya.in For more information about organisations all over the world, who are following Marshall Ganz’s framework of community organizing please visit http://leadingchangenetwork.org/


Author’s Bio 

Ana, Communications Expert

Ana is a development practitioner based in Delhi with experience and focus on pragmatic approach to research which she has applied on numerous  studies that look at the implementation status of government initiatives in various parts of India. She happily puts into practice reduction, reuse and recycling of materials in her daily life and travels whenever she finds the time and resources to! You can contact her at ana.abbas11@gmail.com


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