When healthcare was out of their reach
The ‘Saporis’ or the riverine islands of the Brahmaputra in Assam are the pieces of land that are built, reshaped and destroyed by the course of the mighty river. The people residing on these islands can only access the cities and mainlands through ferries and country boats. Most of the islands are devoid of electricity, clean drinking water, schools and healthcare facilities. But almost 10% of Assam’s population dwells in these Saporis.
One incident changed it all
It was in 1996, the news of a pregnant woman dying on a Sapori because she missed a ferry to go to the city, reached the ears of academic journalist Sanjoy Hazarika. Hazarika was moved by the story and he tried to devise a solution to this problem. In 2004, he came up with the idea of Boat clinics that reaches the Sapori dwellers to provide them necessary healthcare facilities as they struggle to reach the cities.
The power of one
His idea got rewarded by World Bank and he received an innovation award. The Centre for North East Studies and Policy Research (C-NES), a trust founded by Hazarika in 2000, won the prize and was given $20,000. A year later, a wooden boat called MV Akha, made with that money was sent to Dibrugarh, for the Saporis on the Brahmaputra. That was just the beginning. Today, 14 such boats commissioned by C-NES, ply across 13 districts in Assam, providing healthcare facilities to over 1.5 million people. It was made a public-private partnership in 2008 by the National Health Mission. The funds are now entirely taken care by the state government. Every month these boats reach out around 20,000 Sapori residents who don’t have any other hope of getting medical help.
The initiative reminds us all what one person can do to change things for good. Awareness and empathy towards our surroundings and the issues it faces can spur any and every individual to take up social causes and provide solutions for the same. Hazarika was the one in this case, let us all get inspired by Hazarika and bring the change we want to see.
Women empowerment is one of the most important words of the present times. It is not a mere phrase but it rather represents a movement, which has been pending for the longest time. However, many have a misconception that educating women, “letting” them work, etc. is all that women empowerment is all about. However, the concept of women empowerment is more of an umbrella term. It intends to involve society as a whole, including men.
We always encourage and applaud a woman who successfully balances both work life and her household. But won’t it be easy for that woman if the load of the work is shared? We see that in our society a woman’s primary role is seen as that of a homemaker. At the same time, her personal likes, aspirations, and dreams are forced to be put on the backburner because of the undue expectation that she has to single handedly manage the household while balancing her career. To give credit where it is due, the times are changing. Men and women of the house are increasingly sharing the workload. However, one can also not turn a blind to the fact that a lot more still needs to be done.
Driving home the same concept, popular brand Ariel has come up with brilliant communication.
The video shows a mother speaking to her married daughter over the phone, all whilst cleaning the mess her son has created. She is absolutely heartbroken when her daughter says that she plans to quit her job since juggling both a demanding job and her household has become too overwhelming. It is during this time that she realises that while she and her husband as parents left no stone unturned to give an all-round upbringing to their daughter, they somewhere forgot to teach their son some basic life skills like cooking and doing laundry so that they grow out to be equally responsible in doing household chores. This is not a story of just one family, but of families across the country. These are some things which everyone must know, not for any other reason, but simply because these are basic tasks which are absolutely essential to survive. And, they make you capable to be equal partners tomorrow!
As Ariel raises an important question-is household work only a woman’s job? We need to ask ourselves the same question. A recent study revealed that the unpaid work done by women around the world amounted to 43 times the annual turnover of Apple Inc. It is high time we share the load and change the narrative that household work is the “duty” of a woman. As the video shows, contributing to the household work is not only a daughter’s work, but the son must contribute his bit too. It is also important for the parents to instil a sense of responsibility in their children, irrespective of their gender so that at any juncture of their lives, they are not completely dependent on another person for basic tasks like these. Ariel has been consistently driving this message and addressing the inequality within households since 2015. The Logical Indian applauds Ariel for coming up with such a brilliant video for depicting such an important concept.