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In search of a better world – making a difference…

In remote villages in southern and eastern Gujarat, poor families struggle against limited access to health care and schools. Complex political and economic forces threaten residents’ rights to their land. ARCH is dedicated to improving the lives of the tribal population through grassroots action and community-level research in health, education and development.

 

Where poverty invites disease and no doctor can be found, ARCH provides accessible, low-cost care to the poorest of the poor and trains village paramedics to promote healthy communities. In the midst of a struggling primary school situation, ARCH uses innovative tools to promote quality education, and to inspire a love for learning in students and teachers. Since the Narmada Dam project in the 1980s, ARCH has been tirelessly organizing communities and advocating for the property rights of tribal people for forest land and resources. In our quest to strengthen rural communities, ARCH empowers people at the grassroots level. We tackle issues like soil and water conservation, as well as savings and health.

 

ARCH was never conceived as a pure charity program. Behind our extensive services for poor tribals, we have always envisioned ARCH as an actor in a process of social change. Change always comes in pieces. At the time of our conception in the 1980s, the idea of “social change” often meant total, sweeping transformation of the social order, violent if necessary. We rejected the powerful notion that the liberation of the poor can occur only through a revolutionary overhaul of the social order. Peaceful, democratic and peacemeal social action was our task and method. Thus, we began by setting up a dispensary in Mangrol and organizing villages threatened by the prospect of the Narmada Dam. Our early activism led to just resettlement policies, and gave roots to our present community organizing and mass action efforts for tribal land rights. Our constructive activities to better the lives of poor people in rural Gujarat have flourished into a tangible piece of social change, but we never lose sight of our final goal – the well-being of individuals. A non-compromising individualism is at the core of action. For us, man is a measure of all things.