Why I Am Rebuilding A Daily Wage Labourer’s Mud House To Secure Her Life

Posted on September 15, 2015 in My Story

By Prakash Kumar Sahoo

I have been working in the Gajapati district in Odisha for the last three years on various schemes under the district collector. In the last week of August, I was visiting Sidhamadanga village to monitor toilet construction work under the Swachha Bharat Abhiyan. While interacting with volunteers of the Abhiyan in the village, it started raining. I had to find shelter at a house nearby to prevent myself from getting wet. A lady who was working nearby as a labourer in the construction of a toilet came and opened her house for me to get inside. When I entered the house, I found a saree hanging from the roof with baby swinging inside it. Soon, I felt small water drops falling on my head, and as the rain got heavier, bigger drops started falling. The room was dark with no electricity. A small mud ‘chullah‘ (stove) and other things were scattered around the small, tiny room. The floor was made out of mud and the house had neither a door nor windows. Poverty could be seen in every aspect of her living condition.

old broken village house
For representation only. Image source: XJ/Flickr

Given the situation, I took the opportunity to know more about the lady, who was the owner of that house. I just wanted know more about her, and why she was staying like this where all other villagers had quite good ‘pakka‘ houses. Her name was Kanya Palaka. She told me her story and was literally unable to stop her tears while telling it.

She told me that during the day, she went to work as a daily wage labourer. Her husband was a drunkard who didn’t work. She had been sleeping in the nearest school building for the last two years along with her children at night. Kanya did not even have money to put tin sheets on her house to stop rain water from coming in. She got 5000 rupees as part of the Indira Awaas Yojana (IAY) few years ago from the government initially but couldn’t complete it because she had to invest money in building her house. She also gave birth to twins last year but had to give one child to her relatives as she felt it was quite impossible to feed them with her meagre income, and to keep them in this house.

I want to help this lady have a good pakka house for her kids and their future. I strongly believe that a poor person’s problem shouldn’t deserve a poor solution. I wish to raise 1.5 lakh rupees so that I can help her build a good house. I request you to please support this lady and be a part of this small change. There is a saying in Hindi, “Kisi ka ghar basane se jyada khusi aur kya ho sakta hai?” (What can give you more happiness than building someone’s home?) So let’s make Kanya Palaka’s life better.