Youth as rural change agents

Dasarath Prasad Razak, is a 27 year old young man from the Chore Tanga village. A graduate, Dasarath did not migrate to a town in search of a job, unlike his other friends. He decided to stay back in his village and work for its development. Dasarath began his work, as a RIM Samaj Shilpi (trainee), in the two villages of Chore Tanga and Puncha Khirak, in September 2013. He was selected by members of network called the MP- Jan Adhikaar Manch. He received an induction training of four days on analysis of issues, information on government schemes and techniques of community mobilization. Dasarath gives villagers information on government schemes and guides the  villagers on how to access them.  To assist in his work Dasarath has motivated 12 young persons in his village to give their time voluntarily. These volunteers called Gram Mitras have been helping with organizing meetings, data collection as well as information dissemination. They have also activated the community level monitoring systems like the Mothers Committees for the anganwadis and School Management Committees for schools.

Foundation of the Market Place or Hatt approved by the Gram Sabha
Foundation of the Market Place or Hatt approved by the Gram Sabha

The Gram Mitras felt that the health and hygiene of children in the Anganwadi was an issue that needed addressing. So, now two Gram Mitras, take turns to visit the anganwadi and the school to ensure children wash their hands before eating and also have clean drinking water.
Due to lack of livelihood many villagers migrate to the cities. Dasarath and his team of Gram Mitras decided to do some innovative work to address livelihood needs.

Samaj Shilpi- Dasarth with other 2 other village youth in their Potato Farm
Samaj Shilpi- Dasarth with other 2 other village youth in their Potato Farm

They started community farming. They now grow organic vegetables by leasing the land of a farmer who has migrated to the city. They also noticed that most of the cattle in the village were left loose at night and would roam around the village at night. They hit upon an idea. They decided to put to use small patch of land belonging to Boomika samasta and fenced the area to start a Goshala. This benefited their farming too. The dung collected is now put to use as manure and the urine is processed and used as pesticide. The team now wants to start a gober gas plant. The team is also planning to to start a nursery of herbal plants and seeds conservation. The collection of honey was a traditional means of livelihood. The team is continuing the same with training on better methods of bee rearing and honey extraction from the horticultural department.

Their work on livelihood continues along side their work on social issues. They have a street theatre group and enact plays on the ill effects of child labour, child marriages, dowry, alcoholism etc. The team won first place at the district level competition and 3rd at the division level.

In just one year Dasarth and his team of Gram Mitras  have been able to assist the community of Chore Tanga to secure entitlements of Rs. 11,29,400. 

Cost per UnitNumber of UnitsTotal (INR)
Toilet9900272,77,300
Hatt Bazaar16000011,60,000
KCC40,000280,000
MNREGA148420 man days6,2100
Awas  yojana11000055,50,000
T O T A L11,29,400

Rejuvenate India Movement is founded upon the belief that in every community there exist at least a handful of people who have the motivation and inclination to change their lives for the better. Village volunteers like Dasarath need to be supported with a small stipend, need training and mentoring for at least two years.Each of us have the power to make a phenomenal impact on the nation by bringing in other like-minded individuals, taking direct action, and inspiring their friends and their friends’ friends to join us to create a movement.Dasarath and other Samaj Shilpis in Madhya Pradesh are supported by India Friends Association.It costs Rs 60,000 per year to support one Samaj Shilpi. This Rs 60,000 can help reach Rs 11 lakhs of government schemes to the villagers, besides long term change of building leadership among the youth and organizing the community to assert their rights.

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