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While most of us are busy chasing corporate dreams and looking for well-paid jobs in big cities, this young man, inspired by philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi has decided to devote his life for the welfare of rural society. Neelam Patel, a post-graduate in Rural Economics from Ahmedabad’s Gujarat Vidyapith has travelled a distance of 400 kilometre to a remote village of Valsad district, called Khoba for the sole purpose of staying there and make efforts for its development.
The village, located near the Gujarat-Maharashtra border is surrounded by Sahyadri mountains of the Western Ghats. Because of its hilly terrain, this place is devoid of basic amenities like proper water supply, road, electricity, education, health and other infrastructural facilities. The place does not have a motorable road. Bus facilities are available from Ahmedabad to Avalkhandi. From Avalkhandi one has to walk eight kilometre to reach Khoba.
The Gram Shilpi Project, a rural developmental initiative by Gujarat Vidyapith based on Gandhian philosophy is providing Neelam this great opportunity to stay in the village and work for its development. Neelam is taking the charge for the development of Khoba’s health and education facilities, agriculture and livestock rearing.
Neelam’s journey so far has not been easy. It took a lot of time for him to earn the trust and support of the villagers. He feels that only because of his adherence to Gandhian philosophy, he has been able to show this much of perseverance. Now, with the help of the villagers, he runs a primary school in Khoba, where he teaches children every day.
His works have been instrumental in developing the area’s agricultural, health and electricity facilities. He has built nurseries, rock-wells in the area as it is difficult to cultivate crops owing to its rugged topography. Neelam has also adopted new methods of rainwater harvesting to cultivate paddy.
The village lacks a proper healthcare centre, so Neelam himself is offering medicines to the villagers in exchange of a minimum amount of money. Besides, it is because of his repetitive letters to the government, electricity has reached to the people of Khoba. Neelam is often visited by his friends from Vidyapith who lend him hands in his effort to bring positive changes in Khoba.
The Logical Indian community applauds Neelam Patel for his incredible effort.