Household Soak Pit : How a simple technique of managing waste water is being adopted & replicated by Punjab Government
Household wastewater is a major cause of the unsanitary condition in villages leading to many diseases and illnesses. It is also a reason for many conflicts among neighbours. Considering the gravity of the menace caused by household waste water, Shramik Bharti with the support of HDFC Bank introduced the Household wastewater soak pits in the project villages of Punjab. Arjun Singh and his family, comprising his wife and one son, live in Kaler Mangat village of Amritsar. His family uses open kachcha space for bathing and washing. They had to face a great problem in washing clothes and her wife had to go out for washing clothes. It takes lots of time and her energy. Most of the households in the village were found to have similar wastewater problem. With the project support, a household Waste Water Soak pit was constructed in Arjun’s house. A great relief to entire family and largely to Arjun’s wife as now she doesn’t have to go out for washing clothes and no slush around at home. Like Arjun, 224 households in project villages of Punjab have got rid of stinking water through constructing household wastewater soak pit through the support of HDFC Bank. “Household Soakpits have been proved effective in dealing with wastewater menace and at the same time recharging the groundwater @ 400-liter water/day/HH soak pit thus contributing in groundwater recharge by 32704 cubic meters per year.” And in the years to come, we can also foresee its impact as improved health and of course the livelihood of these families owing to reduced expenditure on illness. “This small yet effective initiative of Shramik Bharti & HDFC Bank is highly acclaimed by the government of Punjab and they have adopted this simple technology and issued orders to replicate this model to manage wastewater menace by constructing around 14,000 soak pits in 700 villages of Ferozepur district of Punjab.”
Lighting rural lives through Solar Power
Up to a one third of India’s population, close to 400 million people, are not connected to the national grid, leaving them cut off from the development, progress and opportunity that electricity represents. Many of them live here in the crowded northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on the plains of the Ganges River. Data from the Ministry of Power shows that all villages of Uttar Pradesh, except two, are electrified. However, around 50 per cent of rural households in the state are still un-electrified. The findings of a survey done by CEEW (Council for Energy, Environment and Water) highlights that 71 per cent of unelectrified rural households in Uttar Pradesh live in habitations with grid electricity. For them the main barriers to adopting connections were the steep upfront cost, high recurring payments and unreliable supply of electricity. In this scenario, Shramik Bharti is promoting Renewable Energy as most effective solution towards improving access to cleaner energy in poorly electrified areas and remote villages and to mitigate the adverse impact of climate change as well. The Integrated Solar Home Lighting Systems that comprises Forced Draft Biomass Cookstove, three solar light points and a mobile charger and Street Lights installed with the support of HDFC Bank in the villages of Uttar Pradesh are lightening the Lives of marginalized communities. The beneficiary selection was done in a democratic way; in open village meetings where the most marginalized households were identified and selected by the community members with a focus on household having children studying in government schools. It has made the life much easier for the beneficiary families especially of women & children as they were the worst sufferer of indoor air pollution caused by smoke of traditional cook stoves and kerosene lamps. Malari is resident of Kamariya village of Niyamtabad Block of Chandauli. She is widow having 4 children and her mother-in-law as her dependents. Her family is very poor and they cannot afford to have LPG and electricity connections to meet their fuel and lighting needs. She used to light kerosene lamp for lighting purpose and was using \'chullah\' for cooking food that used to give lots of hazardous smoke. During an Open meeting Malari shared “I get 1 liter kerosene oil that fulfills our need for just 10 days. My children cannot study”. Village Community selected Malari as one of the beneficiaries for Integrated Solar Home lighting system under \'Gram Samridhi Project\' run in their village by Shramik Bharti & HDFC Bank. “I\'ve never thought that I will ever make such arrangements for my family. Shramik Bharti & HDFC Bank lightened my home and my life. Now my children are able to study properly even in evening and I am also cooking food without any pain” says Malari with glittering eyes. This is not just a story of Malari. 1050 household comprising more than 5000 people in 4 target districts of Uttar Pradesh have got benefitted by installation of clean energy solutions. There is reduction in indoor air pollution, Time saving, better light for study and household chores. Similarly Street Lights installed in these villages have made it easy to walk on the streets safely and conveniently during night time. We have witnessed cases in project villages where children are studying under these street lights and performing their daily tasks like preparation & processing of crop for sale. Women in these villages also shared that now they feel safe while walking on village streets after dusk.
Kitchen Garden- As Learning School of Nature Farming
While a wide variety of food is available in the markets, the plates of poor people are less nutritious and many times remain empty when there is scarcity of food or income. Kitchen garden emerged as an important means of securing safe and regular supply of vegetables to poor people in villages of Uttar Pradesh. Apart from fulfilling the nutritional needs of the family kitchen gardens have also emerged as ‘learning school’ of nature farming where farmers learnt the process of nature farming and then transformed their learning at farm level in Paddy, wheat and other crops. Hailing from a poor community Rekha Devi, a resident of Pachokhar village of Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh told “I don’t have land. My husband work as labor and if we add vegetables in our diet, a large portion of income was spent on purchasing vegetables from the market.” She was encouraged to set up a kitchen garden on an empty piece of land near her house. Shramik Bharti provided technical guidance and support for developing a kitchen garden with the help of HDFC Bank under its Gram Samridhi Project in U.P. Rekha & her husband were trained on nature farming to produce safe food free from hazardous chemicals and pesticides. Production of safe and fresh vegetables and fruits is giving Rekha Devi’s family access to important nutrition that was not within their budget to purchase from market. Additionally household is saving Rs. 1500/- per month that was used in purchasing of vegetables. There is another story of Ms. Chhaya Devi W/O Rajbabu Tiwari is resident of Tenduli village of Malwan Block of Fatehpur district in Uttar Pradesh. There are 5 members in her family. With the mentoring of experts and regular support from the Gram Samridhi Project team Chhaya Devi prepared natural fertilizers and pesticides using cow dung and cow urine and this was quite easy for her as she was having 3 cows. She developed Kitchen Garden. Her efforts soon pay her the form of fresh and safe vegetables. “I used to purchase vegetables from market for our family consumption costing to Rs. 30/- per day. But now we get fresh & poison free vegetables from our kitchen garden and able to save approx. Rs. 900/- per month. And I will preserve seeds of vegetables and will ensure sale of seeds through seed bank and this will also help in enhancing income of my family” tells Chhaya Devi with a smile on her face. To name a few, Sarju Prasad, Ramlakhan, Trilokinath, Rajpoot Singh, Omprakash, Mirzaram, Hemraj, Sita Devi, Jagannath are farmers who have now transforming their learning of nature farming in their farms and producing safe food not only for their family but for sale, also. “Around 600 farmers have adopted nature farming in project villages of Uttar Pradesh where Kitchen gardens; as learning school of nature farming are paving way towards health & nutrition, enhanced income, self employment and food security and in poor households in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh”
KANPUR SLUM Manohar Nagar declared OPEN DEFECATION FREE
Coming from Lucknow to Kanpur, Jajmau bridge on Ganges, on the right side hillock Manohar Nagar is located. There are 242 houses having 273 families. Most of the male residents in the community work in tanneries as daily wage workers. When Shramik Bharti started working in community in 2011, only 25% households had toilets, some were using community toilet and about 60% were using open spaces on the bank of river Ganga for defecation. Liquid waste of families on the bank was flowing directly in the river. Hand pumps were dry. When we worked with women self-help groups and drew their attention to the harms of insanitary living and worked with community on low-cost solutions without government help, gradually situation started improving. Water User Groups formed. They installed new borewells with submersible pumps and laid distribution lines to every household. Now each family switches on the connection and gets water at home. Sewage line is laid, every family has constructed toilet. Each family has made financial contribution for this and women have taken lead. Ms. Shakeena Lari said with pride that now no one goes out for defecation, we have protected our girls from the shame we used to feel and Kanpur Nagar Nigam has declared us Open Defecation Free community.
Daughter of a Self Help Group Member became IAS; Testimonial of Geeta Yadav
I am Geeta Yadav. I live in Virat Nagar. After 2 years of my marriage I had no issues so my husband started torturing me. In third year we had a boy and things improved for a while. Then I had 3 daughters in a row. He then started torturing me a lot. I decided to educate my girls however I was educated only up to 5th standard. My husband was not sharing much expense. In 2000 I came to know about family planning project of Shramik Bharti. I started volunteering in the project. The trainings by Shramik Bharti strengthened my conﬁdence and gave me a lot of knowledge. I started counselling couples on family planning in the communities. I started getting an honorarium of Rs. 500 per month. Additionally I started doing odd jobs like sewing, weaving cots etc. to earn some additional income for my family. I saw self-help group program in Shramik Bharti in some communities and demanded to form a group in my community. In 2003, Boond Bachat Sangathan, Virat Nagar – 5 was made. I joined the group and started saving. After some time I borrowed from the group and constructed my house and started bearing expenses of education of my children. thMy elder daughter Pooja completed 12th and wanted to try for engineering. My husband was just not interested in educating girls beyond 12th standard. I borrowed from the group and paid for her coaching expenses. She cleared the entrance exam, studied B.Tech. My group continuously supported me during her course. After B.Tech, she decided to appear for IAS. Despite ﬁnancial crisis, I supported her for the coaching expenses taking loan from the group. In the ﬁrst attempt, she cleared IAS in 2014. I am very happy now. Educating our children is most important work. If we miss this, how will we make a good family, society and nation?
Waqt Ki Awaaz; Community Radio Station giving voices to community
Golu, a blind boy of 19 years from Bari Sawai village of Maitha Block had no hope to live. He lost his vision when he was studying in 5th standard and doctors declared that he could not regain his vision. His father owns 3 bigha land and earning his living by ironing clothes. Being the eldest one among 4 brothers & sisters, it was expected from Golu to support his father in earning bread for his family. But he felt helpless because of his physical disability. His family was also cursing and abusing him. One day Golu came to Waqt Ki Awaaz with a friend to enquire if he can get some work. But he had no skills. Radha, the Station Coordinator challenged Golu to learn playing Dholak (hand drum played on both ends). Since Golu did not have dholak, he was allowed to come to the station and use the dholak of the station. Golu had an old mobile phone in which radio team uploaded some songs so that he can hear and learn as no teacher was available. Golu grabbed this small opportunity and started practicing for hours every day sitting in a corner in the radio station. With one year of efforts, now Golu is a skilled dholak master. He accompanies with Waqt Ki Awaaz team in song recording sessions. He is also called by other commercial groups. Golu is now able to earn about Rs. 2,500 per month. \'Waqt Ki Awaaz\' is my family and it has enabled me to live a dignified life\', says Golu with smiles of thousand watts.
Noor Jahan; Illuminating the World
November 29, 2015, Sunday was the most surprising day for a 65 year old woman, living in a small village, Bairi Dariyav, in Kanpur Dehat, U.P. She was Noorjahan and Mr. Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, accolade her work of renting solar lanterns for lightening the rural households & enterprises. After the demise of her husband 30 years ago, Noor Jahan faced great difficulties in bringing up her 5 children. She worked as agricultural labourer. Her income was hardly sufficient for a family of 6 members. The year 2012 came as the turning point when Noor Jahan was identified by her self-help group Sita Swayam Sahayata Samooh to run Solar Lantern Charging Station having 50 solar lanterns that Shramik Bharti wanted to establish in her village with the support of TERI and Indus Tower Ltd. Noor Jahan started renting out charged lanterns @ Rs. 100 per month. Her effort support children in studies, women in household work and also rural entrepreneurs. “I could not educate my sons due to lack of money but now I\'mable to support my grandson\'s study with my small enterprise” said Noor Jahan with responsibility and pride.
Solar Didi; Challenging Patriarchy & Creating New Avenues
Gudiya aka Pushplata Rathore, a young widow from a small village in Uttarpradesh, is a great source of inspiration to millions of women in India. After the sudden death of her husband in a road accident in the year 2010, she returned back to her parent’s home at village Hadha, Vidhnu Block, Kanpur with her 2 year old daughter and 3 month’s pregnancy. In a patriarchal society, the misery of a young widow, that too in rural set up is beyond imagination. Gudiya was also undergone the trauma, difficulties and restrictions imposed by society. But No boundaries and hurdles could stop her determination & will to be self reliant. To earn her bread, she gave tuitions to children, learned stitching in a tailor’s shop by cycling 15 Km. from her village and also worked in the tailor’s shop. But this was not the end of the story. This was the time of new beginning, a new chapter in the life of Gudiya. The chapter of Hope & Light…………………… In the year 2013, Gudiya met the team members of Shramik Bharti Foundation, a social enterprise working in India in the field of solar energy innovations, in order to provide clean, affordable and renewable lightening systems in rural communities. The foundation was organizing training for local people to train them as Solar mechanics for repair and maintenance of solar equipments installed in villages. Gudiya expressed her keen interest and strong determination to be a “Solar Mechanic”, a completely male- dominated profession in India.Gudiya attended the training and now she is an efficient Solar Mechanic. She installs solar lights and fumeless cook stoves in rural households and also looks after the repair and maintenance of solar equipments. Now she is capable of taking care of her two children and also supports her parental family.Holding a mechanic’s tool kit in his hand, she is lightening thousands of lives who were living in extreme darkness, in 40 villages of Kanpur. She is now popularly called as “Solar Didi”.On December 2, 2015, Gudiya has received an honour from the chief Minister of U. P., Mr. Akhilesh Yadav, “For challenging the patriarchy with her strong will and courage by registering her strong presence & success in a male dominated profession of “Solar Mechanics”. and She received “Rani Laxmi Bai Bravery Award” on the occasion of International Woman’s day i.e. on 8th March 2016 by chief minister of U.P. Gudiya is our “Real Hero” Her success is creating new avenues for women.
Kitchen Garden : Supporting the Nutritional Needs of Marginalized Rural Families
Social Innovation is taking a good hard look at the available resource and creating utilization to benefit and sustain a positive change. Take the case of Sunra Devi, a resident of MahadevTola of village Pipris in Bhadohi district of Uttar Pradesh. She owns only 3 biswa land (approx. 0.03 hectares) and takes on lease about 0.4 hectares for farming. Her husband, Sukkhu is basically a farmer but as he has very small landholding he has to depend on wage work.
During a meeting called by Shramik Bharti in his village under Gram Samridhi Project supported by HDFC Bank, Sukkhu and Sunra participated. During the meeting they liked the concept of nature farming and kitchen garden. Sukkhu participated in residential training on nature farming and visited small farmers practicing such methods in villages of Kanpur. On his return he shared everything with his wife Sunra. He shared that the food we are eating today is harmful due to chemicals and pesticides. I have learnt making manure from cow dung and cow urine. Sunra assured her husband for all her support in practicing nature farming.
“We started by developing kitchen garden using nature farming techniques and produced spinach, ladyfinger, bitter gourd, cumin, brinjal, chilli, bottle gourd, coriander etc. I took charge of kitchen garden and my husband continued with his wage work. We used to purchase vegetables of about Rs. 30 per day. Now we get safe, fresh & tasty vegetables at no expense”, said Sunra cheerfully.
Striving for Total Sanitation in Baba Ghat
Baba Ghat is about 35 year old habitation on the bank of river Ganges in Kanpur city where now about 350 families reside. When Shramik Bharti assessed the sanitation situation in 2014 in this community 290 families had toilets or access to toilet however many of them preferred going out on the bank of river Ganges. Shramik Bharti identified a small team of volunteers and called them for training. After that youth and children took charge under the leadership of Palak, a 22-year old girl.
We formed a ‘Vigilance Committee’ of 25 persons and started follow up during 4 to 6 in the morning. We started requesting people to use community toilets or construct household toilet and use them. Children of our team did followed people going for open defecation, blown whistle and shamed them. We also facilitated them to fill forms for getting subsidy on construction of toilet at home. On our request a 10-seater community toilet was constructed.
“World Toilet Day 2016 was a memorable day for us when Baba Ghat was declared Open Defecatoin Free by Kanpur Municipal Corporation in the presence of Mr. Salil Vishnoi, MLA. Now we have targeted for environmental sanitation i.e. safe disposal of solid and liquid waste” said Palak with glittering face.
Community Bathroom Ensuring Safety & Dignity of women in Rural Uttar Pradesh
This is the story of a small habitation Mahadev Purwa of village Pipris in Bhadohi district of Uttar Pradesh. On the road side there is Yadav Basti, comprising 12 households. Women & girls feel embarrassed when people watch them bathing or changing clothes at the roadside hand pump. “People used to slow down their vehicles and stare us. Many times bikers had accidents while staring at us. But nobody was having solution to our problem. We have accepted it as our fate.” Women & girls shared their woes with tears in their eyes. In December 2016, members of Shramik Bharti reached MahadevPurwa under “Gram Samridhi Project” being implemented in Bhadohi district with the support of HDFC Bank. During discussion with women & girls, need for safe bathing space for girls & women came out. With project support and community involvement a community bathroom was constructed near the hand pump. Now women & girls of MahadevPurwa are very happy and using this community bathroom for bathing. They express their hearty thanks to Shramik Bharti & HDFC Bank for understanding their problem & providing them immediate solution.
Making school a center for holistic development of children
Government Primary school of Sodhiwala village in Ferozepur, Punjab comprises 110 students and 6 teachers. There are 7 rooms to run the classes and one kitchen for preparing mid-day meal for students. The waste water from kitchen was a big menace for the school. The stinking water got collected within the school premises and attracted flies and mosquitoes, causing health problems to students.
Similar to other government schools, teachers of this school were also using traditional teaching methods, thus dull and boring for children. When Shramik Bharti reached this school under Sustainable Village Development Project with the support of HDFC Bank, joint meetings were conducted with teachers to assess their needs to improve the situation.
A room was converted into library cum activity room; about 400 books are procured. Now children read these books to improve their reading habit. It is also used for fun learning and all round development of children.
A painting workshop was organized in school involving students and teachers with the support of Artologue foundation. Kids painted crocodile, dinosaurs, elephants, play figures and game boards on walls and floor with the help of teachers and Artologue team. Children were involved and an attempt was made to leave an imprint on their brains that they can create something big.
For safe disposal of waste water from kitchen two soak pits got constructed in the school. Kitchen Garden is also established.
Now Sodhiwala Government Primary School embraces a clean and fun filled learning environment helping in holistic development of children.