November 14 2017

Big Change for Villagers in India

Last April, people in the village of Manjhagawan gathered to meet our India director, Shamsul Akhtar to decide how to irrigate their fields in the dry season.

They decided that we should construct a pond and two irrigation canals together. Seven months later, the irrigation system was in place, just in time for the start of the dry season. Thanks to your donations, Karuna-Shechen has funded 50% of the project as part of our rural community support initiative: small money, Big Change.

Villagers with Shamsul Akhtar, our India director

In this isolated area, over 70km from Bodhgaya, during the monsoon season (June-September), families grow rice that they harvest in November. From December, the beginning of the dry season, farmers grow wheat and mustard. Until now, the harvest has been small because there was no irrigation system. 

Five small rural communities will benefit from this newly constructed pond — nearly 5,000 people! “It will be good for everyone and allow us to produce more during the dry season,” says Rajo, one of the oldest women in the village. 

Newly constructed pond

Rajo, the village elder, shows the project monitoring chart

Our Approach to Community Development

We involve the villagers in every step. For the village of Manjhagawan, a committee made up of 7 women and 6 men coordinated the project. We subsidized 50%, and the villagers financed the rest. Each family contributed to a special savings account and two villagers, with the support of a Karuna-Shechen coordinator, kept track of the finances.

Our goal is to improve the daily lives of villagers, without creating dependency on outside help. Through our small money, Big Change initiative, we teach financial transparency to communities, while strengthening their sense of responsibility. The villagers feel proud to show the accounts, accurate to the penny, and the daily monitoring chart of the project.

 

The village of Manjhagawan also benefits from the following projects:

Mobile medical clinic (since 2014)
Creation of organic vegetable gardens (since 2016)
Mobile veterinary clinic (since the beginning of 2017)
Literacy course for women (since the beginning of 2017)

Video: See what it’s like to meet with villagers:

Please make your donation to support community development today.