After completing my graduation in journalism, the only thing I was sure of was to come out of my comfort zone and that is just when Gandhi Fellowship found me. I always had an urge to do something out of the box. I joined Gandhi Fellowship like a blank piece of paper- determined to become a better version of myself at the end of the journey.
I am currently based in the tribal belt of southern Rajasthan called Banswara, also known as the Cherrapunji of Rajasthan. Our interventions are with government schools, specifically uplifting the student-learning outcomes of the primary section and working on the leadership skills of the principals. We also work in the communities and have the liberty to initiate projects in whichever domain we want to contribute to. During this two-year extensive residential program, we have a process called Community Immersion where we live with a family for about 28 days, immersing in every possible sense. It was during this time that I experienced grass-root level realities and various social obligations and dynamics that still exist.
I realised that for any society to grow, it is essential to empower the youth and women.
I began to closely work with the communities to understand their hopes and desires. My only goal was to give something back to the society that has given us so much. I initiated a project with the name of ‘BaaiR’ which means ‘women’ in the local language of Banswara. The vision was to help the local handicrafts, that they otherwise do not make commercially, to reach the market outside. Their products have reached many cities and we are looking out for more opportunities to make these ladies self-independent.
Women empowerment is definitely not an easy task, but I am determined to contribute in whichever way possible. Similarly, in another rural village, where the population is mainly dependent on agriculture and 90% of the families are below the poverty line, there was a need for an alternative livelihood option. I mobilised the local Self-Help Groups and oriented them on dairy farming. We are under the process to start the very first milk collection centre in the village, which will directly impact 46 households.
It is not a down-hill task, but I am committed to bringing change in whatever capacity I can. We all are in a much privileged place than thousands of people we can ever imagine, it is on us what method we choose to contribute; I chose Gandhi Fellowship.
Change is not easy but it is essential!