Work with Brick Firemen Families in ten Blocks of Raebareli and Pratapgargh has led to emergence Bhhatta Karigar Takniki Samiti as registered organization that is growing its ability and linkages to engage with Kiln Owners in various states of North India.
An opportunity to engage with a deprived section of migrant workers and its families came in 2001, that was found an appropriate way of engendering development. Thus Lokmitra initiated its engagement with families of brick workers (called Jalaiwala) involved in firing of bricks in Kilns spread all over north India. Effort initiated with a few villages in partnership with TERI-SDC, spread to 265 villages in 10 Blocks of Pratapgargh & Raebareli by 2006. Meanwhile engagement of Lokmitra in ensuring the right of children to quality education grew considerably to become the main programme. Still there was learning exchange between two programs and idea of local knowledge (of brick firing with FM community) became relevant for its education program.
Work with Brick Firemen community was part of Social Component of ‘India Brick Project’ in which Development Alternative & Gram Vikas were also a partner. IBP got initiated after a study taken up by TERI on behalf of SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) in 1993 on energy consumption patterns in 1993. Following recommendation emerged out of this exercise in regard to the brick industry:
- The demand for bricks in India far exceeded supply, and the demand–supply gap was rapidly growing. Meeting this gap through existing brick-making technologies would place enormous additional demands on India’s coal and biomass resources. There was hence an urgent need to improve the energy efficiency of the existing kilns.
- The VSBK (vertical shaft brick kiln), that had been developed and proven in China, should be explored as one of the technological options for brick-making in India.
Following the Screening Workshop, SDC initiated a project aimed at transferring the VSBK from China to India, and adapting it to local conditions for dissemination in different regions of the country. The action research phase of the brick project ran from 1995 to 2000.