They say volunteering does not need time; what it does need though, is the heart. Truer words were never spoken. We all want to give back to the society but somewhere we always end up getting lost in achieving this goal as more often than not we are hindered by our own thinking “How is my little contribution to the society going to make any difference?”. The fact of the matter is that the difference one single person can bring is, indeed, not so significant but these little differences culminate into something that could possibly bring about the change we all strive to see in our society. What matters, in the end, is that we do OUR part sincerely.
And our SSR journey begins…
That our team was excited when we first heard about SSR being introduced at IMT Ghaziabad could possibly be an understatement. When introduced to each other for the first time, we understood we come from very different parts of the country but we had one thing in common – the zeal to work towards a change. And hence, we converged and we met at this small village in Galand. A village called Nandapur; little did we know our lives would forever be changed had it not been for this village, our village, our Nandapur. Having said that, we realised we needed to forget our cultural differences, different upbringings and backgrounds and we needed to unite as a team for we had in front of us the arduous task of uniting the women in Nandapur.
We still remember our first few field visits with some really vivid memories, which shall forever be ingrained in our minds. Whether it was the long bus rides to the village or walking through the unpaved roads of Nandapur or just enjoying the simplicity of things in the lives led by the locals.
Our first visit to Dasna village was when we got an overview of how we need to approach the women in Nandpur and implore them to form self-help groups (SHGs). This provided a framework to us so as to create our own strategy for our project. The second field visit and the subsequent ones to Nandapur helped us break the ice with the women in Nandapur and we succeeded in persuading them to make petticoats for which adequate training would be provided by our team. We still remember that ecstatic feeling of knowing that we were one step away from our target of creating SHGs in Nandpur. We felt extremely proud of this accomplishment keeping in mind the hurdles we had to pass for the same. The biggest hurdle that needs to be mentioned here is effectively addressing the apprehensions of the people in Nandapur due to their past not-so-pleasant experiences with SHGs. This was, indeed, a big feat for us.
Now with the SHGs in place, the next step for us was to understand the shortcomings of products (petticoats) made by the women in Nandpur and align their training in a fitting way so as to produce market-ready products which could readily be sold in the market.
Finally, the last straw in our project was securing that elusive deal for the petticoats to ensure a sustainable source of livelihood could be established for them. We still remember the fateful day when this happened – 22nd February, 2017.
We were filled with joy but to be truthful, the feeling soon turned bittersweet. For we knew, this was the end of our beautiful and transformational SSR journey. We knew we would miss the field visits, the insightful interactions with the amazing women of Nandapur, the training programs, and each other. We brought in different perspectives for solving the problems of women in Nandapur to empower them and establish that women can and should be independent and strong and that they are capable of doing the same.
As the SSR journey neared its end, we all would agree on one thing – we are no longer the same people who we were at the start of this journey. We come out of this project as individuals with a changed perspective, more empathy, more love, more satisfaction and an insatiable need to give back to the society in whatever little way we possibly can.
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S-38 signing off. (Harsh Golyan, Anindya Sadhu, Banupriya P, Sravan Nekkanti, Sakshi Srivastava, Shobhit Suman)
“Never get tired of doing little things for others, sometimes those little things occupy the biggest parts of their hearts”