I got the opportunity to do an assignment with the Sehgal Foundation. During this assignment, I got the opportunity to visit some villages in Mewat(Nuh) district along with Crystal Harris. She has come from the State of Iowa, United States. She belongs to the World Food Prize organization. We both started the day with the celebration of womanhood on International Women’s Day. That day was full of celebration and enjoyment. Many Panchayat members, field workers, other staffs presented their views related to issues of women. We got the opportunity to listen to various success stories. Women and girls from villages were really enthusiastic about sharing their experiences. The topics were mostly related to the issues of women empowerment. The theme of the event was to change the mindset ( Nazariya) of everyone towards womenfolk. It was a wonderful day listening to the experiences of the grassroots workers.
Community Radio Center is a really unique initiative by the Foundation in collaboration with the government of India. It has given voice to the people of the region. It has created a phenomenon of the community-led development process. We visited the community radio center at the ghaghas village in Mewat district. It was an amazing experience talking with those people who coordinate activities at the center. After talking to them, we can say that it has a created a platform for villagers not only discuss their problems but also their concerns about social issues. Many children also participated in various activities. They also discussed issues which are generally considered as taboo in our society. Not only this, as per one newspaper report, community radio has also helped people in the villages during the demonetization period.
I also had the opportunity to record a live show on the radio regarding exam fever. How not to be stressful during the examination. I recorded my voice first time on the radio. I told the children to be calm during the examination. They only need to revise things when exams are near. There is no need to read new things. Students should take proper sleep before going for examination.
TEACHING AT DIGITAL LITERACY CLASS
We both also got the opportunity to teach digital things to adolescent girls in Nangal village. It was a great experience talking to those girls. They were really excited to know more and more about digital things. Here, we talked about various apps as well as internet banking etc. For instance, BHIM App, USSD, Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter etc. After telling all these things, we both were really curious to know about their dreams so we gave them the assignment to write about their dreams. It was an interesting read to know about their dreams and aspirations. They want to study more. Some of them want to become a teacher. Most of them want to pursue their career in the medical field in the form of a nurse and doctor. They were also complaining about financial hardships as well as lack of availability of facilities.
We also talked about their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone was eagerly coming forward to discuss their strengths and weaknesses. One of the most important weaknesses was that all of them want to learn the English language. I request Sahgal Foundation to provide some facilities for the English language for those girls.
Visited a Primary School, Life Skills Center and the site of Check Dam
On the last day of our visit, we interacted with women of life skills center. They were learning to stitch. When we reached there, they were so much excited to show whatever they have made recently after learning to stitch. They were very enthusiastic about discussing their learning experiences.
We also visited a primary school. The renovation and coloring of the building were done by Sehgal Foundation in collaboration with Mosaic Fertilizers. The school was looking bright and in fact, it was really amazing to see all the graffiti on the wall of the school.
The most interesting thing was the see-saw machine. It was serving a dual purpose. Children can play on the see-saw as well as due to their playing activity the water will be pumped into the tank. It was really an innovative and skillful initiative by the Foundation. It needs to be adopted in all the schools of the country.
We visited a check dam in Firozpur-Zirka block of Mewat district. It was built by Mewat Development Authority in collaboration with Coca-Cola India and SM Sehgal Foundation in 2012. This check dam has turned out to be a boon for the villagers in this area. Before this check dam, they were facing severe water scarcity as well as drinking water problem. As per the report, it was found that the groundwater level has increased by about 100 meters in this area. Not only this, it has also provided facilities for irrigation for agricultural purposes.
These ten days were really amazing for me. I had a great learning experience of the works going on the villages by the Foundation. It needs to be replicated in other areas also. I also had a great engagement with Crystal Harris. She was a great human being. She was very much inclined to do whatever can be done for those girls in the villages. It’s really good to meet with the people who have concerns for others. I hope that this kind of good work will continue with a great vigor for the welfare of the people in rural areas of India.
I am happy to announce that SEHGAL FOUNDATION has published my blog to their newsletter(April 2017). Please find the article here: http://www.smsfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/MyexperienceswithSehgalFoundation_blogbyRitambharaClean1.pdf