From students missing classes to patients finding it difficult to go to the hospital on time, the ordeal of 400 families of Shamsherganj in Katihaar, Bihar was multifold.
Until recently, the residents here were engulfed in despair owing to the dilapidated condition of the village main road. With the incessant rains flooding houses and drowning a 500-metre-stretch of their main road, the locals were forced to remain within the four walls of their houses with whatever little structure left.
Moreover, as the road on the other side of the Purnea-Katihaar train line too posed safety concerns, it made commuting a far-fetched thought not only for children but also for elders, especially the sick and ailing.
It was in the wake of such extremity that 60 families from Shamsherganj decided to take collective action under Goonj's 'Dignity For Work' initiative towards the building of a bamboo bridge.
By pooling in 250 pieces of bamboo sticks, the determined locals toiled for five days to build a 400-metre-long and 1.5-metre-wide bridge. Today, anyone visiting Shamsherganj can witness the result of their efforts as the bridge now stands like an answered prayer even for people from the neighbouring villages. Goonj rewarded their efforts with essential family kits and tarpaulin sheets.
The residents, though accustomed to heavy rains, have never before experienced floods in their village. Moreover, in the absence of a way for the water to drain away, the villagers had been living in the stagnant water. Had the bridge not been built, they would have had to use the flooded road for many months to come.
According to Abdur Sukur, a villager, "The bridge has been a boon for our travels. But it has greatly helped the village in other ways too. Two girls from the village were getting married… And, the village's name was at stake. It would have created a bad impression if the bridegrooms had to come through the flooded road. The bridge (built) has upheld our respect."
Like the making of this bamboo bridge in Shamsherganj, Goonj has undertaken 4,000+ 'Dignity For Work' projects across 26 states/UTs in the past six months (till October 16) as part of its Rahat Covid initiatives.