Sitamarhi, is one of the districts, among the 25 Aspirational Districts that have been allotted to NITI Aayog. Piramal Foundation has been working in this district with a focus on Education and Health. The District Transformation Program team of Sitamarhi, launched Pravesh Utsav in which 12 lakh students took part. The District Coordinator welcomed 17,605 new enrollments. The Pravesh Utsav was organized to promote Government schools within the community and enroll new students. This was supported by 18 Block Education Officials across the district. The event had an overwhelming response with a participation of 12 Lakh people including 8 Lakh children.
Araku valley, which is located in the Eastern Ghats about 115 kilometer from Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, is inhabited by various tribal populations like the Khonds, Gadabas, Jatapus, Kondreddys, Savaras etc.
Pramila is one of the diligent tribal Auxiliary Nurse Midwives of Araku Valley, determined to overcome socio-cultural barriers that are preventing optimum utilization of available healthcare services in her tribe.
Her day, as an ASARA ANM, begins with the journey to reaching the tribal habitation which typically involves commuting on foot as well as taking vehicles on motor-friendly roads. She starts with identifying every pregnant woman and neo-nate in the community. This is followed by registering them and then counselling them on adopting healthy practices. Pramila prioritizes the high-risk cases of pregnancy and infants that need immediate attention. Additionally, she accompanies them from their homes to tele-medicine centres in ASARA vehicles, where the details of the beneficiaries are collected on their arrival.
The beneficiaries are then provided with consultation through conferencing technology, either with an expert gynecologist and/or with other specialist doctors from Hyderabad, as the case maybe.
Passionate individuals like Pramila are one of the main reasons why Swasthya is continuing to bridge the last-mile gap in serving beneficiaries across difficult terrains.
If one were to study the life-sketch of Ramniwasji, who is a B Ed from Jhunjhunu and who began as an English teacher in October 1989, it is apparent that his focus on education is clearly driven by purpose. Committed as he was to the objective of improving the education ecosystem in his backyard, he realised collaboration was key to overcoming challenges and remaining clear-sighted on specific goals. After taking over as the school principal in May 2015, he began working on an action plan to improve learning outcomes. His 25-odd years of experience at the grassroots now came into play. He had by then identified that what the students (122 Boys and 157 girls) lacked is creativity in their abilities to perform. This was because of two major reasons: the teachers’ incapability to come out of rote learning practices, and unawareness of guardian about their children’s performance.
Two Gandhi Fellows in Jhunjhunu fellows, Arnisha and Adarsh, reached out to Ramnivasji as part of their field support and introduced the concept of professional learning. Here, teachers and HMs came togther routinely to discuss the best possibilities to engage students more into reading practices. This led to a solution: creating a library accessible to all each day. The Fellows and Ramnivasji also have had joint visits to 4 more schools in the panchayat to know the ground reality. Today, the Bakra school has more than 4000 books in a comfortably big library. He, along with the librarian, made a plan to increase the participation of students by assigning weekly period (45 minutes) to each class. Secondly, he emphasized on the optimum use of technology. He was influenced by the idea of video-based feedback on the teaching practices in the classroom and motivated the primary teachers to self-assess themselves. Thirdly, to improve the participation of the guardians, in September 2017 he accepted the idea by the Fellows to conduct a rally and organise street play by the students. He also pitched the idea of maintaining a School diary to the Sarpanch of the Gram Panchayat, so that the information of happenings of the school could reach them.
Thus does the development needle move up, slowly – school by school, one principal today, scores tomorrow
Umaima Ehtasham, a student of Political Science from New Delhi, had always been keen on addressing environmental and sustainability issues. After graduating, she decided to join the Gandhi Fellowship, whose two processes include Community Immersions (CI) and Public System Projects (PSP). During her first CI in Dungarpur, Rajasthan, she stayed with a family of 11 in a village, 20 km away from the town. That’s when she realized that her consumption of resources like electricity and inorganic items, exceeded that of the entire family of 11 combined! This shook her to the extent that she transformed herself into a practitioner of sustainable living and minimalism. A conversation with her block mate Abhishek Kumar, a bachelor in Social Work from Khagadiya district of Bihar, over their experiences of the adverse effects of mismanagement of waste in Patna and New Delhi, helped them conceptualise a new venture on waste management. After conducting research during their PSP visits to a waste management facility, the agriculture department and the Krishi Vigyaan Kendra in Dungapar, they assessed the gap in the demand-supply of organic fertilizers. This led to the creation of Kaavyanam Organics Pvt. Ltd, which produces 12MT of Vermi-Compost in each cycle, with the entire output now being used across six villages of Dungapur. They were also able to reduce the cost of the fertilizer by 55%, thus making it highly affordable and accessible for marginal farmers. To help Dungarpur Nagar Parishad become the cleanest city in India, they drafted a city-wide awareness campaign plan named “Recology”, which touched 8 schools & 700 households, surveyed about 300 households and collectively impacted over 3,500 lives. Along with the Nagar Parishad teams, they conducted local workshops to sensitize households and their efforts led to a 10% reduction in the mixed waste being collected. “Looking back I believe, had I not joined Gandhi Fellowship and found a great partner to share the vision with, I would’ve never been able to inculcate a mindset for enabling change, envision large scale impact, learn through experience and develop the courage to set up an organization. The Gandhi Fellowship is the perfect place for people who are ready to transform,” says Umaima. (This is the 11th year of the Gandhi Fellowship)
Piramal Sarvajal is actively engaged in building the eco-system of social entrepreneurs to provide safe drinking water and touch the lives of people till the last mile. We believe in joining hands with enthusiastic entrepreneurs, who would willingly working for social benefits and community services along with a profitable and sustainable business. Revenue generated gives a sense of self-satisfaction.
Jarnail Singh of Hanumangarh, Rajasthan, is one such example. His life turned around after becoming a Piramal Sarvajal’s franchisee. He established himself as a businessman and a social worker dedicated to serve the community around.
Jarnailji, who runs a home and office appliances business, has been the proud owner of a Sarvajal franchise in Hanumangarh, Rajasthan, for the last 2 years. Several franchisees have benefitted from his expertise in setting up their chilling units. He was quick in responding to the demand for safe and cold water. This way he met consumers expectations as well as help co-workers in expanding their services.
When the Sarvajal team visited him to give him his franchisee bonus for being a top franchisee, they were in for a surprise. Jarnailji informed the team that he was planning to completely shut down his primary business, and instead, double the size of his franchise with a second machine and two more vehicles. Jarnailji now wants to be the sole water supplier for all of Hanumangarh. He says, “It is a lot of work but what you get in return is as rewarding. Making money is important but knowing that you are positively impacting people’s lives daily is irreplaceable. This work deserves my complete attention.” He goes out of his way for community services to provide free of cost water at any religious and social gatherings. He is thankful to Piramal Sarvajal as he is now able to enroll his children into higher professional courses ). His daughter is doing doctorate and son is doing civil engineering and is closely associated with Haryana civil department. He wants to set an example to his children for serving the community at large.
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