The rapid depletion of water bodies across the nation has been a trending worry. In the wake of the drought that led to increasing farmer suicides, farmers’ growing concerns to tackle the issue and a hope that the government will solve this chaos has been grabbing many eyeballs across every platform. It is disheartening to wake up to news where agriculture, the backbone of the nation, is the worst affected sector, and most of us choose to play the mute spectator’s role.
While we are aware of how the drought conditions has affected places like Latur at Marthwada or the Dewas district at Madhya Pradesh, thanks to media, there are many more villages that fall under the radar, which need our attention. Murta at Osmanabad district is one such village.
Murta and Latur are neighbouring districts. With the same border, they share similar concerns over their respective drought-stricken lands. The farmers at Murta have been facing a grim situation over the depletion of groundwater levels, poor rainfalls over time and their inability to manage their water resources. Though there are many ways to tackle this situation, what seems the best way out is to store the run-off water from the rains. Stepping in like a guardian angel is Suryoday Parivar.
An Indore-based NGO, Suryoday Parivar has started building unique canals for farmers that allows them to trap rainwater and run-offs, and leverage this reservoir of water to both water their fields and replenish their groundwater tables. In their latest initiative in Murta, they plan to build an 8km-long canal that runs through and along the fields of about 700 farmers in just 15 days. This initiative is the brainchild of and is spearheaded by Bhaiyyu Maharaj.
The project costs about Rs 6 lakh for a stretch that is of 8km. Through crowdfunding process, the NGO intends to cover 50 percent of the cost and the rest is being contributed by those 700 farmer families. Through their initiative ‘fuel a dream’ they ran a pilot project to outsource the money on an online portal, and to their surprise, what seemed like a 45-day deadline was reached in 10 days.
In the near future, the Suryoday Parivar plans to build mini canals, which act as reservoirs for water for drought-hit village, and is gearing them to harvest rainwater from the monsoons. The canals are well-structured and planned by a team of organising committee, which includes the Sarpanch and other prominent people of the village. These canals are about 10ft-deep and up to 50ft-wide and are built to store water in such a way that farmers who have fields on either side of this canal can draw water from them. Plus, the soil dredged to make the canal is used to fertile soil in the fields and greatly enhances yield. According to the survey by the NGO, if every farmer contributes about Rs 400 each, the target amount of Rs 3 lakh will be soon achieved.
“Imagine, just a Rs 400 contribution from you will benefit a farmer and his entire family,” says Ranganath Thota, founder of the project, ‘FuelADream’.
Thota founded the company in the year 2015 with an initial funding of $250,000 from individual investors. The startup aims to impact 2.2 billion people across India, Africa & Southeast Asia with similar initiatives. The team is focussed on transforming ideas to monetize social causes, by connecting the campaign owners (people who want to raise money) to funders in a very productive and engaging way.
The firm is a unique crowdfunding marketplace determined to bring innovative campaigns to life by empowering creators and social innovators. As the creator of Fuel A Dream, he is focussed on transforming many lives.In the last one decade, the NGO has handpicked 200 different projects, with a vision to bring a change that impacts lives. In this particular project as well, they are aiming at building a canal that is self-sufficient for the next two months.Since they also are actively involving the farmers, their interest to do their bit in building a sustainable ecosystem is quite impressive.
Speaking to the Yourstory team, Thota says,
The campaign is very special and effective because it involves farmers. They realize that this is going to affect them in the long run and hence they are seriously investing their time and effort in building the canal. We are in awe of how unity among the villagers and the hope to raise against this worry has been redefined.
The team is right now soaking in the glory of their first phase, where they experienced a huge amount of compassion and support from people across the country. They are hopeful that the following phases will be accepted in abundance as well. Clearly, this is the beginning of a trend of more such initiatives that allow the general population to start impacting rural India and NGOs to impact farmers in a manner never envisaged before.
(The campaign is open for online donations – LINK. The second leg of this project kick-started few days ago and it has already successfully collected 25 percent of the funds.)