“I want to tackle water scarcity in my village with the support of other women.”
In Washim Taluka, Kekatumbra is a village with a population of about 6000 people. Lacking basic amenities, living in abject poverty and as if constantly in conflict with life was one of these residents, Savita Ravindra Boralak. Her life was within the constraints of the kitchen and her children. However, Savita tai stood up to the task to provide for her family. In times of turmoil, as the question of livelihood became serious, Savita tai herself decided to step outside of her constraining circumstances. Her association with Swayam Shikshan Prayog began during this time.
With guidance from the organization and with the help of a few other women from her village, Savita tai established the Lakshmi Sakhi Women’s Self-Help Group (SHG). Through this group, she primarily acquired a loan of Rs. 500 and bought the raw material for making savoury snacks such as murkul and shev. She sold them in the nearby villages.
Over time, Savita tai’s business picked up, so much so that as of now, she requires 3 quintals of raw materials every day. In the line of production to sale, she has now employed 10 women from her village and helped them stand on their own feet. To augment her income, Savita tai bought a fall-pico machine and even helped some other women in her village to start this enterprise.
Once she became financially independent, Savita tai began to chalk out the problems the village faced, particularly those by its womenfolk. Specifically, the question of water scarcity in the village, the hardships it caused women and the effect it had on their time, loomed large on her mind. She decided to tackle this question on a war footing.
Taking help from the Gram Panchayat, she followed up on various government schemes and gathered help from the villagers. Through a government scheme, a well was dug in the center of the village. She was successful in setting up water taps as well. This has alleviated the hardship faced by women in the village.
Following this, Savita tai turned her attention to the Swach Baharat Abhiyaan. She tried to educate people about the shameful habit of defecating and urinating in public and began her efforts to build a toilet in each home. Savita tai has arranged meetings with the Gram Panchayat and Gram Sabha and brought public awareness on the issue. Officers from the Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samiti also helped her in this work. Sangita tai solved all problems that stood in her way and within no time, 75% of the work was completed. The state took notice of the work undertaken by these women and felicitated them for it.
Savita tai’s vehicle of development then turned towards an important roadway for Kekatumbra, the Washim-Borkhedi road. The road was so badly maintained and caused a lot of accidents. The administration did not take heed of this even after multiple requests. Savita tai then gathered women from her village and used this human resource to repair 2 km of the road.
Women and other villagers backed Savita Boralak unconditionally and helped her achieve her goals. With their help, she was also able to focus on the issues of women’s health in her village. Health check-up camps, distribution of spectacles and treatment for the needy have been successfully set up in the village.
Even after setting up taps to pump water from wells, the village experiences water scarcity in the summer time. To solve this problem permanently, Parasbag, reforestation, tree-conservation and water cup competitions will come in handy. With the support of the women in her village, Savita tai has confidently promised success in tackling the problem of water scarcity in the village.
Alcohol has caused suffering in many-a-homes in the village. It has also stalled the economic progress of many families. To put a stop to this, Savita tai has become a staunch advocate of alcohol ban. A special women’s Gram Sabha was set up for this. They passed a resolution banning the sale of liquor. They didn’t stop there. With the help of the police, they raided the stores and farms of liquor sellers for any bootleg material that they might have stored. Fearing the might of this women’s army, many have steered clear of alcoholism. Kekatumbra has benefited immensely from the unity and efforts of its women.