Women in Bihar Join Hands for Community Development Volunteering
How many years have we seen the drainage choked & rainwater flooding the roads every monsoon in Mumbai? How many times have the locals & public transport been disrupted & people stranded because of the rains? The instances are countless, & recur every year! The situation remains the same & while we are content with blaming the governing bodies, none of us does anything to take the matters into our own hands.
A similar situation was faced by a village in northern Bihar every year when the flash floods caused by heavy rains in Nepal engulfed the village. The embankments used to break ever rainy season despite the repairs & invariably the village used to get submerged in floodwaters.
Luckily for Maulaganj, a far-sighted lady –Leela Devi- decided to take matters into her own hands & change the undesirable situations by seeking community participation for the village’s development.
She decided to implement proactive measures & urged for village development volunteering to aid in climate change management & disaster preparedness.
Very soon a small army of ladies joined in her community development activities & together they identified places high enough to migrate to one month before the imminent flooding. These safe highlands were equipped with shelters, where they stocked medicines, dry food & lentils for the disaster hit days. They also developed a systematic evacuation plan for pregnant women, older people & children to react fast during a disaster.
Soon Leela Devi & her army of volunteers realized that their village lacked on many other fronts such as health & hygiene, roadways & drainage. To combat these, she directed her attention to developing a Community Development Plan with five critical action points for the governing bodies to take up work on. Her community development volunteers have also advocated the use of organic bio-pesticides & composting to farmers across nearby villages.
If a small village in Bihar with most illiteracy among women can flourish under the visionary leadership of a single lady, we too can bring about the change we want to see in cities like Pune & Mumbai. All that we require is to identify the burning issues & donate your sweat towards their mitigation. The community development volunteering camps can be organized by offices or societies, even colleges to work on the unique problems faced by their localities.
City dwellers can donate their sweat to help in cleaning the drainage before rains to ensure there are no blockages. Similarly, local community disaster management groups can be formed to cater for supplies & safe houses in case of the disaster hits despite the measures. Ideally, all road repair works & electrical works should be completed before the rains begin, and citizens can volunteer to fill in any ditches & dug pits beforehand.
An active woman participation has worked wonders for community development activities in villages & similar models can be adopted in cities where homemakers & stay at home Moms donate their sweat to make the community a better place to live in.
Today India needs many more Leela Devis to bring about a happy change & make India a responsible nation via community volunteering programme.