Our Story

The challenge:
(Nothing will change in this country)

In 2012, Deepti Doshi and Rajesh Jain met and had a conversation about the notion of public apathy in India.They had heard the age old saying – India kaKuchnahihosakta – a number of times, but what they saw around them…..

As the Anti Corruption Movement progressed and they saw a country in uproar around injustice and the lack of accountability of institutional power, Deepti took to the streets to deeply explore the fabric of citizen power. She explored houses of worship, and then went the High Court to see how citizen interests played in the institutions of power. What she saw reflected what she saw in the news: India was passionate about social change and justice.

But why wasn’t enough change happening? The outcome of early explorations and research was the conclusion that there was a need for a true neighbourhood identity. Without local power, people can’t truly begin to solve problems. Power starts and progresses in the neighbourhood over shared local interests and strong, long lasting relationships, and only then can people start to develop a relationship with their authorities based on accountability.

As the country exploded around the public protests after Nirbhaya in December of 2012, Haiyya was launched with seven fellows. Their public safety campaign, the first of many Haiyya campaigns, harnessed both the private and collective anger in the Mumbai neighbourhood of Bandra around.

As the campaign concluded with a stronger relationship between community members and the police authorities, Haiyya hired a team of organizers and professionals from India and the United States. Though their background and experiences varied, they were united around the shared vision of an India where people build power on a local level and worked toward long lasting positive relationships with the government.

As our organization has grown, adding more organizers and volunteers and staff, we’ve proceeded with a number of campaigns as our method for developing neighbourhoods. With each campaign, we have learned and tweaked, and have made each campaign stronger and more effective at strengthening ties in neighborhoods and building social capital through leadership development.