Our first MoM is: TALKINGTECH Foundation.











Eye clinic arranged by Street Parliament. Photo: Arul Sahayam


In March 2018, Gus Row, Manager for the TALKINGTECH Foundation dropped into the CID offices and we had a chat about their Street Parliament Authority Network (SPAN) in India.

Street Parliaments empower families living in informal neighbourhoods (slums) to take ownership of solving the problems they face. Groups of 30 families volunteer one person each, to collectively tackle challenges including health care, education, sanitation, crime and employment. In a true expression of “including everyone” SPAN has had a 13 year old Minister of Sanitation and a 60 year old Minister of Education, working together.

Together, Street Parliaments have established children's tuition sessions, trained women in tailoring, and held self-defence classes for young women.


Between 2013-17, SPAN’s founder, Arul Sahayam established 13 street parliaments in the Ekamparampillai slum in Chennai. Once the network was established, specialised roles from each group came together: a summit meeting of all of the Ministers for Children enabled a community playground to be established.


The parliaments don’t only focus on development needs: during the devastating floods of November 2015, Chennai local authorities used the SPANs as frontline contacts for assessing the needs of affected people and for delivering aid, attesting to the effectiveness of the network.

Arul has now moved to the Kalvaikarai slum to repeat the model.

For more information about the TALKINGTECH Foundation, see here.