Shyamal Oroan, our Team member in West Bengal, had recently worked closely with the people of Foskadanga, a far off village in Bengal's Alipurduar district. When he sat down with a few local volunteers, to understand and discuss the local issues, he met Pushpa, a member of the local Rava tribal group. "During our menstrual cycle, we face a lot of challenges related to maintenance of hygiene. It's unimaginable to live in a society without a pond," she told Shyamal.
She further shared her grief on losing her only child, who has been a victim of trafficking under the false illusion of a city job. The lack of resources and upward economic mobility is directly interlinked to migration. The people from here move due to compulsion, which has often led to such events. Determined, she wished to put a stop to it.
The locals told our team how farmers here travel for hours to get water for their agricultural fields. In view of this, Shaymal shared with them how under Goonj's, 'Dignity For Work' initiative, thousands of communities across the country take charge of their own problems and solutions. Soon after, 150 villagers came together to dig a pond on the village land and in just 20 days they dug a 10 feet deep, 90 feet long and 80 feet wide pond. Ponds are the life source for village folks, especially for the women.
Now, collectively, the people of Foskadanga have decided to utilize the pond for farming and other activities as well. For 1300 villagers, the pond will ensure livelihood generation and aid in maintaining the menstrual health and hygiene of women. WASH (Water Sanitation and Hygiene) has become one of our core impact areas under our rural development initiatives. This story also acknowledges the fact that equal participation of men and women leads to sustainable development by creating ownership within communities.