Goonj aims to build an equitable relationship of strength, sustenance and dignity between the cities and villages using the under-utilized urban material as a tool to trigger development with dignity, across the country.
Can a village pond, which was once used for daily activities - bathing, fishing, washing, irrigation - be a matter of oblivion for its community for over a decade? For the people of Pallassena in the Palakkad district of Kerala, it has been.
The recurrent sightings of poisonous snakes clubbed with the contamination of water by people bathing cattle in summers forced them to forsake their village pond nearly a decade ago.
Given the ten-year overgrowth of weeds and the added danger of venomous insects in it, for many villagers, the very idea of cleaning the pond was unthinkable. However, with little motivation from Goonj, 33 villagers decided and worked on it for four days (in batches), under Goonj's 'Dignity For Work' initiative, to give the pond a new life.
Layers of dried plants, mounting to around 2 trucks of firewood, were taken out from the pond by the participants.
"During the cleaning drive, the entire village would be down here competing to take home some firewood," said Parvathy, a local. The women were elated to have gathered tons of it as firewood collection usually took up all their time, and access to cleaner and cheaper fuel for their home was a distant dream for many.
To reward the efforts and determination of the participants, Goonj gave them carefully-prepared Dignity Kits.
"I was on my way to the PDS shop when I heard that the Goonj kit contained ration. I rushed here to join in the activity. With Covid lingering over our heads, I don't have any work. Sitting idle at home is not helping my situation," said Sashi, another local, during the activity lunch break.
This year, with no sign of monsoon, the locals found it difficult to cultivate their land. As a result, there is no work, which in turn means no food on the plate. Thus, after the activity, the participants left for their homes with a happy heart with achieving the humongous task of reviving the pond and also being rewarded for their efforts with the basic essentials we all need daily.
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