During the second half of each academic year, we prefer to meet the parents, update about our activities, understand their feedback about the kids and discuss the common plan. With the passage of time, we have been able to streamline quite a few activities at the school level under the guidance of the teachers. However, parents’ direct involvement was relatively less except for a few villages. To get their direct involvement, we had thought of discussing more about their issues apart from the discussions about the kids.
We visited Nandelpada on 10th March 2018. We had called most of the parents. The meeting was held in the school compound under the shadow of the trees. The meeting started with the prayer to goddess Saraswati, followed by the religious and folk songs by the school kids. Once Suhrid foundation updated the parents about the progress, we encouraged them to spell out their challenges. Unlike many other villages, the villagers at Nandelpada do grow vegetables. They have more than adequate water supply due to extremely sound ground recharge. They have focused on cluster beans (Gawar) to start with. While the intermediary buys the same at 15 to 20 Rs per Kg, the same is sold in the nearby cities at 70 to 80 Rs kg. When the villagers tried to sell the same at Mandis fo Vashi, they could get as much as 35 to 37 Rs per Kg, which is almost 100% more. Team Suhrid may figure ways to simplify the process, wherein these villagers don’t have to even travel to new Mumbai.
Villagers generally take only one crop, which is mostly rice. We would again connect the villagers to some social workers in Wada area, who guide the farmers to capitalize on the availability of water and farming land. Additionally, they showed interest in having mango and other trees, which may not require too much of maintenance but can get them additional income. They were approached by some NGO, who were ready to offer them mango saplings at around 600 Rs. We have tie up with some social activities in Dharampur, who provide the sapling at 150 Rs each. We assured the villagers that we would bear 100 Rs out of this, which means they would get each sapling at 50 Rs. One of the teachers from the school promised to guide them through the entire process.
The ladies, who help their husbands on the field, take care of family in the absence of their husbands during the off season. They have ample time during the afternoon, which we felt can be utilized to make some income. We explained the concept of assembling artificial jewelry, which can fetch them 100 to 150 Rs per day. We would be demonstrating them the same during the next visit.
On our way back, we stopped by Bahirampada, wherein we had kicked off the small scale industry work in the form of assembling artificial jewelry. We did see improvement vis-à-vis what they did in the first session. We need to formalize the logistics of providing them the raw material along with the instructions, collecting the assembled stuff after due quality assurance.