Bastu Rege

Ashoka Fellow
Pune, MM, India
Fellow Since 2010


This profile was prepared when Bastu Rege was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Bastu’s organization, Santulan, uses a broad schools intervention through the Pashan Shala system of non-formal education in stone quarries as an entry point to improve the living conditions of the workers in this sector. After creating a climate of trust and acceptance in an extremely difficult environment, Bastu has been able to mobilize the community and bring them together to demand their rights.

The children of stone quarry workers are mostly found breaking stones in the quarries alongside their parents, some starting as young as four-years-old. At the first layer of intervention, his aim is to take these children out of the stone quarry work and to empower, enable, and support them through easy access to education.

As a direct consequence, changes are taking place in the world of stone-quarry workers. Bastu has created a strategic window through which he infuses the process of change at multiple points. These changes are the most basic amenities which have been denied to workers for decades, including ration cards, access to public food distribution systems, health care services, insurance protection, voting registration, labor identity, housing, and sanitation, clean water, educational support and the dignity of life.

The stone quarry sector falls under the minor mining category and quarry ownership is dominated by those with strong links to political muscle power. Corruption is rampant, records are absent, (even in relevant government departments) and the administration has traditionally not shown the will to affect any positive changes in this sector. At the macro level of law and policy, advocacy and judicial action have been critical components of Santulan’s work, resulting in visible change. Bastu is currently engaging the government on the issue of changing the legal status of stone quarries.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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