Mahila Mandal Barmer Agor

MMBA Effort That Serves As Compassion

Padariya one of the beautiful village situated on the top of sand dunes at least 200 feet from ground. In a way, this village has tourist attraction but least known to outsiders; which is situated 90 Km away from Barmer district headquarters. Majority of the villagers belongs to scheduled caste and scheduled tribe.

However, this village has its own beauty one should not question the facilities available to this village, because, it is of no big difference to rest of the villages in Barmer. It has the population of more than 200 families and if they need any medical assistance, they have to walk-down at least 12 Km to main road and from main road to Gagariya.

Government has posted ANM to serve the people at an out skirt of village but it hardly visits twice a week. Similarly, one can easily get an idea about the landholding of these villagers and its uses when they themselves live on the top of sand dunes. In addition, it is needless to mention from where they fetch water and how difficult it is for them going up and down carrying pots on their heads. Still, if any new faces enter this village, they never fail to show happy gestures. Adding to their happy gustier, they never fail to treat their guest royally with whatever they have. This will make the new comer to feel that they are content with what they have. If he/she concludes that the villagers are content with what they have, then he/she is merely deceived. For years, different ruling party for improving the economic status of villagers constantly promised this village. Adding to the existing plight, until 1999, not a single grassroots development organisation chooses to work in this village but the status of the villagers remained same.

After decades, villagers got ray of hope through MMBA from 1999. Knowing the fact, the lack of infrastructure to reach this village, MMBA finds this as the right village to test the developmental activities and purposefully selected this village for its development. Since then, it was given much importance for any developmental activities. Our first intervention to this village is through formation of Village Development Committee, in which, active youths and women were formed into groups. In early days, this village was given top priority for drought mitigation activities. Through our constant intervention, we have constructed so far 15 Beri, (Small Well), and 30 Tanka (Water Storage Tank) in this village to subdue the water problems.

Through its intervention, it sensitised villagers to form Self-help Group in order to inculcate the thrift habit. However, the concept was new to women and they are not confident that they too can save money and secure their life. We identified key interesting and energetic women and untied them under one group. Among them, Ms. Kokila Ben is one of the active member and outspoken who leads her family.

Being a Dalit woman, she shows her fellow resident how to be financially be secured and raise voice whenever any atrocities they face in their day-to-day life. Her husband Sh. Shankarlal does the daily labour to earn his family's daily bread. As she became a member of the SHG, she started saving whatever a penny is left. The success of SHG made eligible for getting loans through bank. With the sanctioned loan amount of Rs.40, 000/- from bank that was sanctioned by the end of July01, members decided to share within themselves a sum of Rs.10, 000/- each for deserving and needy family. Ms. Kokila was one among the deserving member were she was motivated by MMBA staff to start a small grocery store in the village, while the rest spent on their household works.

Now she leads a decent life in the society. She does not restrict to her personal life only; in addition, whenever she finds any atrocities in her society she is the first person to raise voice for the affected women.

After our prolonged intervention, we made assessment in the form of study through Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) to know the actual need in Padariya. From the study, it is identified that though through our constant intervention we constructed Beri and tankas for the villages, the problems faced by the women remains the same. Honestly, the need of disabled people and the poorest remains unchanged. Though enrolment of girl children in school increased it is not up to the mark and in between the school time, they rushed to house, to fetch water. To fetch water means, carrying pots on their heads and coming downwards all the way through sand dunes till the Beri and again climbing in sand dunes. In addition, the drought relief works only served as an employment opportunity but it does not cater to the real need of the problems faced by the women and girl children. Study reveals the fact that whatever the household works is, it is the women and the girl children who painfully carries the task.

As it is rightly titled, "This is just an example on our effort serves as a solace," in which we can be satisfied to the extent that something is done for this village. Nevertheless, the real problem faced by women and girl children is yet to be addressed.