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About Us
Background
Organisation & Funds
Objectives
Leadership

Activities
Water Related Schemes
Health & Hygiene
Youth Development
Learning Centres
Temper for Science in rural
India

Women's Empowerment
Activism against Social ills
Protection of Heritage
War Widows
Adventure

Missions in Focus
Watershed Development
Water Harvesting
Small Community Microhydel Lighting
Refurbishing Village Primary
Schools
Resuscitation & Recharging
of rural wells
Social Forestry
Rural Dwelling

Missions in Focus

Integrated Watershed Development
The check dam experiment has been a total success at Salaita and had  twofold objective, one to bring relief to the community by arresting the monsoon runoff for recharging the water table, resuscitating wells and in due course even  tap  water either from the reservoir or sub surface for piped supply for the community. The second to provide a model for linkages so that a water source can become a node for total integrated activity for community development on a replication basis. The creation of water bodies by check dams, wherever  the terrain is ideally suited, is the best measure for restoration of ecological balance and arresting soil erosion. The return of foliage on the topsoil and greening of the belt can open up new grazing pastures income generating opportunities.

Map and picture showing the potential for water shed development
in a typical ravine belt.

Water Harvesting
All our schemes remain focused on rainwater harvesting. This technique is relatively untried in most regions, which are steadily threatened by water shortages. Our focus is on recharging wells at priority that the traditional surface resource is revitalized.

Small Community Microhydel Schemes

We are surveying for taking up these projects in remote villages in the Himalayas where power has not fetched up and education of children is suffering on this account. Any sites or suggestions on this would be most welcome.


Refurbishing Village Primary Schools

This needs urgent support, as primary education in villages is one big casualty for want of resources specially as education becomes privatized and under the influence of market forces. This is already telling on the quality of community life and its health, a stimulant for flight to the cities. Most schools have no desks or teaching aids. We are taking up the scheme for providing this to the primary school at Salaita.

Resuscitation and Recharging of rural wells
Community wells which lie within the village premises are looked after by the village and get their repairs. Yet there are many wells which lie beyond the village reach constructed for wayfarers and grazers.  We identify these on map and plot their locations. One such well of 1857 vintage and strikingingly robust construction if restored will bring great relief to surrounding villages.

Social Forestry
All our projects have an integrated approach for restoration of ecology and environment with emphasis on social forestry, improving soil foliage and enhancing potential for cattle grassing.

Learning Centres

Our immediate focus is on providing digital connectivity to one primary school as a model. We welcome any suggestions or support for this scheme.

Rural Dwelling

The State of the Rural Community - The Dwelling

Most villages in the hinterland and remote areas have seen little change over the centuries in their quality of dwellings. 80% of our village construction is still based on earth / dung reinforced by straw. The roof on such dwellings is always thatched. With every heavy rain and flood these dwellings are washed away or collapse and have to be redone. The hardship and burden of this ongoing and incessant drudgery in the life of the community, specially the women, the old and the children has been so accepted as a practice that nothing is being done as a social target to at least bring new building techniques and programmes for ameliorating these conditions. To say the least it is bad for human dignity to be for 70% of our population to be living in rural mud huts in the 21st Century.

We felt the impact of this just recently. The sub continent received what could be the best monsoon we have seen over half a century in the north, the much awaited relief for the peasant faced with ever increasing shortage of water both for farming and community consumption. However this relief soon turned into a misery with incessant and uninterrupted rains stretching to 20 days at a time. Many crops have gone under water and a large number of dwellings have simply collapsed. People are dislocated and disheveled.

Sainiksangh has been closely studying the problem of dwellings, as this cannot be ignored while attempting to improve education, hygiene and health as part of our holistic and integrated mission. When we took up water harvesting we were confronted with a predicament of how to introduce roof- top harvesting which is receiving so much attention in our cities. How does one do roof -top harvesting over thatched roofs? This question needs to be answered now. Improve the quality of habitat in our rural hinterland by initiating a long-term programme based on some policy with clear targets. However this is a matter for the politician and the government but what we can do is at least make a small model and show what is achievable through self-help and community enterprise on however small a scale this may be. It is with this in view that Sainiksangh explored various options and available rural technologies, which could come to rescue of the poorest of the communities. Fortunately a lot of work in rural technology has been done by Development Alternatives who have promoted simple hand operated machines for turning out mud / cement mix bricks and tiles of various varieties which can be produced within the community through collective activity.

Salaita has been our nodal activity center with the check dam, the education mission, and hygiene and health schemes. We had therefore taken a team from this village to Jhansi for exposure to various income generating activities including the ones mentioned above. These were appreciated.

The Vice President during his recent visits to the node was in Salaita during the peak of monsoons and saw for himself the pitiable condition of many homes pulled down buy heavy rains. Here are some of the dwellings

Above - A glimpse of dwellings after the heavy showers. Nothing more than a few 100 rupees per head of relief can be expected from the authorities to do up these shelters.There seems no end to this unless the community is helped to go in for some permanent housing.

We would like to accord priority to this project since families have had to shift to the school building to seek shelter. We want the reconstruction to be based on self help but using new rural technology whereby building block/bricks and tiles will be manufactured by the community and new model homes will be created through a new initiative. The cost of raw material will be borne entirely by the community and this will be very small since local material will be used. Labour will be provided through self-help. Only the cost of machines and training will have to borne by outside funding agency.For this we will have to muster around Rs 185000.00 i.e. $ 3,700.00. Once the machines are procured there will be no recurring commitment on these except for little maintenance, which will be borne by the gram kosh or village fund. The model once completed will be available for other villages to replicate and this could strike a wave for change at least in a reasonable section of the communities. Today the entire Yamuna Ravines and other trans Yamuna belts have only mud dwellings. Such a project can be extremely lucrative for income generation for these poor and deprived communities and could change the very environment of the habitat.

 

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