The NGO sector in itself is very less publicized that networking is not significant in the field. Tangible amount of work done is not known to Indian population. This article I write is something that I have learnt for myself and feel immensely fortunate and grateful for having been a part of it.
I went on an exposure visit to place called Kalghatagi which is in Dharwad- Hubli district of Karnataka during 2009. We wanted an exposure of the projects of an organization called”Vimochana development society” . The director is Fr.Jacob P.J. who has also been an MLA for the area.
We stayed at a school called St.Mary’s high school which has been built for the sole purpose of educating the marginalized n downtrodden children of the society. The school provides free “English – medium” education and also has a hostel for the students.
The building’s design was captivating. It is a self – sustainable design with lot of income generation activities. The school is covered on all the four sides with fields. They rear their own poultry n cattle for supplying the children with milk and eggs and other dairy products.
They make benches out of mango trees. They have their own meals. They also generate bio gas for the kitchen. And also manure for their gardens. To irrigate the fields , Fr.Jacob has done an amazing job.Around 10 – 15 kms away from the school , deep inside a mountainous forest …he found an area which could be converted as a reservoir for rain water preservation (i.e.) watershed development project.
He worked four years to get the permission from the government and another four years to finish the project. There is a huge motor which collects the water to irrigate the fields, that are located 10 to 15kms away. The water is brought all the way to Kalghatagi .Fr. Jacob also had to undergo a hunger protest so as to keep the project going as the government officials ceased the project mid-way. After the completion, the reservoir is irrigating many fields in the area of Kalghatagi where water is a main problem for agriculture .The reservoir was very huge and had amazing scenery.
We also had the opportunity to meet the villagers and the children who entertained us with various performances. We also got the opportunity to witness a tribal dance by the women of a nearby tribal village! The villagers are highly skilled and have amazing agricultural tactics. The amount of hard work they put in, is just plain evident.
Fr.Jacob has organized, participated and supported a lot of peace protests for the welfare of Kalghatagi and especially for the women and their exploitation issues. He has worked with 87 villages in the surrounding areas and has projects in these areas.
I was truly inspired by the fact that this one person has worked for more than forty years and has achieved immensely, risking his life at various times. His will power to protest against the government, to build the reservoir, is something which I still speculate if any other human can ever have.
Education for the poor is one practical base or the foundation for changing the entire chaotic reservation, and discrimination based on caste and class in India. And Vimochana has realized just that and has started to build the base.
The organization could grow at a faster rate, if it gets better sponsors. It’s developing with a self-sustainable design which is the striking feature.Since it’s independent and functional in a village in the interiors of Karnataka, there aren’t many tie-ups or significant networking that is happening.The publicity of the organization is remarkable but not appealing enough to gain consistent sponsors. Sadly, only the project areas are a standing witness to talk of its credibility.
The NGOs in the urban sector to the contrary, attract a lot of crowd. Rural India as always is not given considerable amount of concern. The work done stays only within the villages. The villages, to reach the urban population and the Government have to take pain staking protests or have to suffer considerably and endure massive losses to grab attention sometimes. They stay “to be” neglected! They are the sources for our survival! We take everything from them each day and yet they are being “forgotten”!!!
So I would like to shift the focus of our citizens to one of the best Ngos, which has done very significant and CREATIVE work in rural India as much as work done in the urban sector or internationally by some popular NGOs.There is only one difference…PUBLICITY.The voices of the rural are not being heard.
Let’s learn from them!