Utale gives employment to 3 villages

Our animator Chintaman Utale,  from a tribal village Chawand, has initiated a cooperative milk dairy project , giving employment to the farmers from his village and two neighbouring villages. 

Chintaman Utale, a V.C.D.M animator, resident of a tribal mountainous village called Chawand, has initiated a creation of society of farmers with aim to produce and sell milk in a cooperative structure. 80 farmers in the village and areas around earn approximately 200000 rupees every 1 months and half as a result of this initiative. Before this project it was economically not feasible for the farmers to transport milk to the dairy. This initiative has made farmers economically independent.

Ubhe and Kamble, the construction of a bridge, a way for citizen to connect with the world

In kolawade village an underprivilaged hamlet was cut off from world in monsoon. The children risked their life to go to school, crossing a river. Even to the funeral grounds one needed to go from a neck deep water. Animators Ubhe Bai and Kamble Bai fought a fourteen year battle for a bridge and succeeded.

Four months per year, during monsoon season, backward caste hamlet of the Kolawade village was cut from the world due to flooding waters. One could not visit the hospital without, risking one’s life, funeral processions needed to pass from chest deep water, no school for children due to very high risk of drowning. During 14 years, along with Tarabai Ubhe and Leelabai Kambale, two VCDM animators, the citizens of the village, fought to build a bridge over the river. The power class which controlled the village did everything in their power to deny this life line. This fight was fundamental for the citizens. They could understand the importance of collective action, raising the awareness, education, discussion, and its impact. Slowly, their awareness and confidence increased. They tackled together the challenges skillfully and succeeded in building the bridge.

Waghire’s water management project

Our animator Waman Wghire, from tribal village Kohor, initiated a water management project to tackle the problems of depleting groundwater levels and rampant soil erosion. As a result groundwater levels increased substantially resolving the issue of drinking and farming water.The soil is restored making farms far more productive than before.  

For years, villagers of Kohor noticed soil erosion and diminishing of water levels of wells and rivers, which caused drought like conditions. Water supply plays an important role, in an agricultural economy. To counter this issue, Waghire, a V.C.D.M animator, initiated a project to build small dams, barrages, and dig ditches along the mountainous slopes in the entire village and surrounding areas  He managed to motivate 700 villagers for the said project. All the aforementioned problems were resolved. The water level in the wells and streams increased dramatically, underground water level increased, soil erosion was reversed, water storage got facilitated through small dams. Mobilization of villagers was the main concern, as the success of this project was dependent on it. For months, Waghire, initiated an open and democratic dialogue, animation and awareness building, which included the extensive use of one on one meetings and group meetings. After experiencing inaction and false promises by the local leaders, there was a serious trust deficit which needed to be bridged. 5000 villagers have benefited by the said project. 700 peoples worked on this project, along with 8 animators formed by Waghire.

Mukti’ the economic emancipation of rural women

Mukti project is giving tailoring skills to village women and giving them access to national and international market.

Women in the rural areas have mostly no other option of employment except farming. The farming season lasts around 3 to 4 months in rural areas of western Maharashtra. The women can find sufficient free time from their daily chores after the farming season is finished. Despite their necessity and desire to have an additional income, they can not  find a source of employment or entrepreneurship as they do not have access to efficient transport, market places, skill development, business training and relevant information etc. Also, as they can’t devote a full day like male workers, due to their family responsibilities, it suits them to have a job that they can do from their homes.

V.C.D.M decided to take this issue head on. Animators gathered the women from Mulshi Mawal areas of western maharashtra. In the meetings with them, it was decided democratically that the women will like to participate in the business related to tailoring.

V.C.D.M started tailoring and designing classes in the village Nandgaon. This falls under our long standing policy of initiating women empowerment and skill development in rural areas.

V.C.D.M is imparting the tailoring skills to women in creating bags, pouches and womens’ clothing.

V.C.D.M is facilitating to them the access to the national and international markets.

An exhibition had been organized in France showcasing and selling the products made by these rural women in summer of 2020. It was a big success.

This project is making women financially able and instilling in them confidence and self respect.

Shejwal brought basic amenities to his village

In Dongargaon village many hamlets were without availability of  roads, electricity and drinking water. Due to the animation of Shidu Shejwal, many of these hamlets were provided with these basic amenities for the first time.

Shidu Shejwal is a resident of Dongargaon village. The village is situated in the mountainous Mawal area in Pune district. The village and the surrounding area consists of different hamlets spread throughout the hilly region apart from each other. Many of these hamlets are bereft of basic amenities as they are situated in areas difficult in terms of their geography. A few examples of such hamlets are Laygude wadi, Bhanjar wadi, Shejwal wadi, Bodke wadi, Waza devi temple area. Due to Shejwal’s efforts a network of  small roads was constructed using government funds, joining all the hamlets to the main Kolvan road and with each other. This made locomotion and usage of vehicles possible in the area.

Shejwal with the support of others villagers facilitated starting of  a Talathi  office in the Kolvan area making the life of people around much easier. Before people had to go to a far away village called Righwe for all their official work. Due to the difficult geography of the area there was a severe problem of water supply in these hamlets. Because of Shejwal’s work, construction of water tanks, bore wells, pipe lines, taped outlets took place in the said hamlets fundamentally changing the life of their  residents.

Solar pump of Laygude bai for access to drinking water

To resolve the pressing problem of lack of drinking water in Ajiwali village, Bababai Laygude initiated the project of digging a large pond on the hill to store the monsoon rain water. To pump this water to village a solar energy pump is acquired by villagers through her efforts.  Use of green energy by villagers is commendable.

In village Ajivali the water supply was available only for six months of a year. As the monsoon water streams in the mountains dry out the village would enter a drought like situation. Laygude Bai  decided to take the lead to change this and brought the village to a decision of building a large pond on the mountain top to collect and preserve the monsoon waters.

The pond was dug creating a large reservoir of monsoon waters sufficient for more than a year. The issue of pumping the water to the village from the pond arose.The people came to the conclusion as a result of animation by Laygude Bai, that solar energy should be used for this purpose. This would not only save the environment but also will be financially viable for the villagers. After a series of meetings and dialogues, amongst the villagers from the different strata, we approached a NGO, having expertise in solar energy. This was facilitated by Laygude Bai and VCDM. As a result of these efforts Ajiwli villagers are running the water pump on the solar energy saving money and being eco-friendly.  Today the water scarcity in the village has vanished.

Anti-corruption drive by Shinde in Nirwangi village

Our Animator Shankar Shinde, through his animation exposes and eliminates the corruption in the rationed food distribution shops and government hospital for villagers in Nirwangi village.His animation also brought schools in underprivileged hamlets.

According to the government policy the rationed food and free or affordable medical services are to be provided to  the economically challenged citizens and communities. As well as free or affordable  medical services are  provided to the said. These services are especially important in rural areas. Unfortunately these efforts by the government are sabotaged by the corruption at local level.

In Nirwangi village of Indapur taluka, the rationed food shop charged excessive prices, refused the delivery of food to people and sold the food grains at black markets. The government hospital which was supposed to charge only one rupee fee was in reality charging high fees. The unemployed and daily wage labourers, peasants with around 250 Rs daily wage, could not afford high fees for medical treatments.  Shankar Shinde, a resident of Nirawangi village and an animator of VCDM, decided to fight against this corruption. From animating people, raising voice in Gram sabha and other local platforms, going on fast strikes with the fellow villagers, involving the press,  dealing with the government officers, making applications, meeting the collector himself in the collector office at Pune, he did everything in his power.  His perseverance bore fruit. The license of the ration shop was revoked by the government. The Collector issued an written order regarding the fee structure of the government hospital. Today the Nirwangi villagers get rationed food as per the law as well as enjoy affordable medical services in the government hospital.

For his truthfulness and fight against corruption an attempt on his life and his family’s life was made. But Shinde fought it off and stands strong with his head held high.

Life story

Kusum, from an oppressed life to becoming the backbone of the village

Kusum was named Nokushi (unwanted) as her father and uncle did not want a girl child. Her uncle decided to bury her in the garden with the placenta. It was her mother who saved her. Growing up in utter poverty in a socio economically challenged community she could go just one year in school and at the age of six started herding cattle in the mountains. Her school teacher gave her the name Kusum.

Eventually she came into contact with animators of VCDM and started going to VCDM meetings. There she learned the importance of education, awareness building, skill development and overcoming fear. She started getting aware and developing her personality and the qualities that were hidden in her until then. Inspired by the animators at the age of 30 she passed fourth standard and became the Anganwadi instructor in her village. She was the first woman to achieve this in her village from her community. Once when she was conducting the Anganwadi class with the little children in the premise of the village temple some of the people attacked her as she was a lower caste woman polluting the temple.

They attacked with hunters used for cattle and brics, they tore her clothes. Traumatized by the incident Kusum did not know what to do.But she was a woman of courage now and decided to fight for justice. She became one of the first women to  use her developed thought process, education and courage to successfully fight and prosecute her attackers using law in 1984.VCDM animators stood like rock behind her. Because of her stance she was ostracized by her village. But she stood firm. Kusum devoted herself to addressing women’ issues in the rural areas. She fought for the socio-economic development of her village and the villages around. Today she is the backbone of her village and an inspiration for the younger generation of her village.

Please read her testimony : click here

Life story

Laygude, finding her identity and inspiring the village

After her husband died Bababai Laygude understood that she was unwanted and a ‘nobody’ in her house. Her in-laws tried their best to get rid of her and snatch away her rights. Bababai was also prosecuted as she was the mother of three daughters and had no male child. Once, unable to bare the torture anymore, she took her  three daughters to Pawna dam situated near her village to comite suicide. She sat for long at the age of the water but could not bring herself to drown her daughters. Soon after this incident Laygude Bai  attended a meeting in her village conducted by animators. She was afraid and couldn’t even tell her name. But something from this meeting stuck with her. She saw glimmer of hope and kept on coming to the meetings.

Soon she understood through the example of other animators that unless she can think on her own, educate herself, develop awareness and courage she will not be able to change her situation. She went through the self learning workshop  conducted by VCDM and understood that she has intelligence, capacities and qualities which she needs to develop on her own and by the help of animators. Laygude Bai did exactly that. Not only she claimed her rights as a widow and successfully raised her daughters who are highly educated and independent now but became a crucial member of her village playing a crucial role in the socio economic development of the village as animator and social worker.

Please read her testimony : Click Here

Life story

Manda, from a person confined to house to an active member of the village society.

Before V.C.D.M, my life was pretty “closed”, I took care of children, and I cooked, that’s all! I had never set foot in the local assembly of my village, nor at a meeting of a social nature. I lacked courage. I decided a few years ago to join one of the macro-economic groups initiated by a person from my village, who was also an animator of V.C.D.M. This group was reserved only for women, it was an opportunity to talk about our joys, as well as our sorrows. Sometimes, we spent time on topics such as health, taboos, education of women … topics close to our hearts, but unfortunately we had no space to talk about them before ! These dialogues gave women confidence, tongues relaxed, new things were understood together. I started, accompanied by the other women, to attend regularly the village panchayat sabha (parliamentary assembly) as well as gatherings related to the social issues.

In 2015, I decided to join the association V.C.D.M, every month I went to Pune to meet the other animators of the association. They began to train me to animate such meetings in my village. I started to enjoy these meetings. Back in my village, it was my duty to share with the other women the new ideas, conclusions that had emerged during the meetings in Pune.

Before, we were very reluctant to carry out our social and administrative duties in our village. Today, we understand that it is necessary for a good life and success in profession, which is farming, access to the government schemes and programs and participation in village governance.

Contact Info

Address : 884 Rairkar Bungalow, Deccan Gymkhana’411004 Pune, Maharashtra,India

E-Mail : vcdmindia@gmail.com

Telephone :
Kanad Joag 9421643636
Pauline Charriot 9075491765

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