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Intiating Knowledge & Capacity Building among Rickshaw Pullers in India : Project Aarambh

Project of Aarambh inaugurated on World AIDS Day (1 dec. 2010) by Dr James Maddirala,
Executive Director of Global HIV /AIDS Alliance ,Dr Mario Azevedo,School of Public Health, JSU, Mississippi,Prof. Maitreyi Kollegal , Director IIHMR ,India :-)

Project 'Aarambh' is dedicated towards building the knowledge and capacity on HIV/AIDS & Reproductive Health of highly marginalized and socially excluded community of bi-cycle rickshaw pullers in India. It is estimated that there are around 8 million rickshaw pullers are in India. Presently there is no National or State level program which is focusing on the HIV and Reproductive health of rickshaw pullers in India.

Around 90 % RPs at any place are migrants and possess some common characteristics like risky sexual behaviour, multiple sex partners, homo sex, substance abuse, illicit substances , use (Cannabis), lack of family
planning etc. A major group of these RPs comprise of young population group between age of 14 – 32 years. The RPs are also acting as a bridging population for HIV.

Aarambh will be focusing on creating and spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS &Reproductive Health through use of mid-media and other BCC material.
The awareness created by the project would result into demand generation by the community for the services like condoms, contraception, HIV Testing, STDs/STIs clinical facilities etc.

In spite of such a potential importance of this population in the context of the HIV epidemic and population
growth in India, there is little intervention activities toward this population; even the correlates of the HIV-related risk behaviors which are critical for a focused intervention program have never been identified .


The major beneficiaries of this project will be the RPs in the state of Uttar Pradesh . U.P. is one of the

highly populated states in India. It is estimated that there are around 4million RPs in U.P. The project will be run in the districts which are big urban centers & attract big number of migrant population of RPs.

As per our study conducted 'Aarambh' will be implemented in following districts:

Lucknow,Varanasi,Allahabad,Kanpur,Agra,Ghaziabad and Gorakhpur . These cities are big urban centers and attract huge migrant population. These cities are having biggest Urban Slums of U.P. and are also having female sex workers operating through street, brothel and dhaba based.

Committed to END HIV/AIDS !!

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Comment by Laurence Gilliot on December 5, 2010 at 11:13pm
Hi Abhinav,

Interesting to focus on rickshaw pullers. Which approach will you use to build their capacity to respond?
You might want to consider the AIDS Competence Process as an interesting option. It is a strengths-based approach where facilitators help communities (like rickshaws for instance) to recognize their own strengths and to take ownership of the response to HIV. They take action using their own resources. If you are interested, please visit the Constellation website

Which strengths do you see in the community of ricksaws that they can build on to respond to HIV?

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on December 4, 2010 at 4:51am
Dear Abhinav,

Congratulations on this great initiative. Rafique, Emphasis Project, CARE India with is team is working with migrants in UP, Delhi NCT and West Bengal. You may contact him to learn from his experience.

Best regards,


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