“India lives in the villages.” - Mahatma Gandhi
Nearly 70% of India’s 1.1 billion-plus population still lives in 600,000 villages. If India is to be truly understood, it is the lives of these people that really count. So the true growth of India can only happen if the villages grow.
Urban India has seen significant
development in the last three decades with improved standard of living, technology and education. India’s desire to become the world’s next big economic power is as real as the enormous challenges it faces in raising its rural populations’ social and economic well-being. This is a tale of two Indias. Rural areas still face poverty, low literacy rates, and a lack of basic infrastructures like schools and hospitals. The frustrations linked to poverty increase the social issues in these areas such as domestic violence, substance abuse and alcoholism. The youth is migrating to urban areas in search of new opportunities.
Profile of a Rural Village
A typical Indian village has a resident population of around one thousand. While the layout of one village is different from another, the following description might represent a vast majority.
Most villages are small and dense, with huts on either side of narrow lanes. Open drainage usually runs along those lanes, clogged and infested with mosquitoes. Except for those belonging to “upper castes,” homes are typically placed close to each other — four to five feet apart — especially when the government builds housing for the poor. Most villages have an open well or a bore-well, and separate times are set for upper and lower castes to fetch water.
Paved or unpaved narrow roads connect one village to another, usually separated by a few kilometres. One paved road (often not well maintained) connects several villages to a rural town nearby, where the government has set up a primary health centre to serve 25,000 people or more. These towns have many shops that cater to the daily needs of people living in the villages nearby.
The major problems that have been identified in many rural areas are poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, homelessness, crime, social evils, lower living standards, lack of facilities, services, and health. Over the past 20 years in India, there has been rapid growth and development in cities and urban but not in rural areas. This is the main factor for out-migration from rural areas to urban areas. For India’s economy to be strong, the rural economy needs to grow (World Bank). Still, rural areas are plagued with numerous problems like illiteracy, unemployment, and lack of basic infrastructure like schools, colleges, hospitals, sanitation, etc.. Government organisations with the major objective implement many policies and programs to promote the well-being of rural communities, but some of these problems directly or indirectly responsible for the mismanagement of policies, schemes, and programs. If these problems are not addressed properly, they further increase and completely affect the rural system and negatively impact the complete balance of the country’s development.
Adopting a Village
This project titled Siragu (Wing), will work on adopting one village at a time to work with the local community to identify their most pressing issues and taking each one of them up as a sub-project till we have a village that is self-reliant, with sustainable growth and most importantly the women are empowered and the children have the right environment for education.
Some of the most common issues that we see across the villages are:
Lack of sanitation. Many villages still practice open defecation.
Lack of toilets and water supply to cater to them in schools
Lack of teaching staff in schools
Lack of proper classrooms
No help to bridge the 2 year gap of education lost during the pandemic
No transport available for girls to travel other villages to pursue higher education
Lack of health education
Issues related to menstrual education and hygiene
Alcoholism in the men of the village due to frustration because of lack of jobs
Women lack the confidence to go out to work
Lack of job opportunities in the villages.
This is our first adopted village and we have started on our first sub-project here to rebuild the toilets in the school. These toilets where now in disrepair due to the lack of use and blockages. The main reason for this was the lack of water supply to keep the toilets clean. NaariSamata has agreed to work with the local Panchayat and the school to rebuild the toilets, source water from the closest water supply and pump the water to tank which will be procured for the school use. A major part of this project will be to educate the children and their families on hygiene and get a commitment to keep the toilets clean and in working order.
You, as a donor, can help such villages with marginalised communities get the help they need to build themselves a better life. They are not looking for handouts, they just need a bit of help to make a start.
Just £4000 can ensure the village school has working toilets with proper water supply to provide the children the privacy and dignity they deserve. £200 a month will get them tutors who can get them up to speed with 2 years worth of education they lost.
This can be achieved if we all work together to make this possible.