Skip to main content

Marathwadi women show the way how to cope with challenges posed by COVID-19


By Moin Qazi*
The COVID-19 crisis has spurred an entrepreneurial wave across the country. Rural women, particularly the farmers among them, have also latched on to this bandwagon. They are, in fact, better placed to cope with the crisis as their own uncertain lives poses every day challenges and keeps testing their resilience. They carry the greater burden of nature's cruelties and also have matching emotional abilities to come up with amazing responses.
Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) has been one of the front rank nonprofits that has been training rural women in drought prone Marathwada belt of Maharashtra to adopt climate-smart and drought-resistant farm practices. These women are now stewards of a new revolution that is resurrecting traditional farming and reviving traditional knowledge that has sustained these communities over centuries.
Many of these women saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to scale their work and use their insights to prepare their communities for the long battle ahead and steer them through the impending food crisis.
Here are a few stories from villages in Maharashtra where women are serving as beacons in the smog that envelopes the hinterland.

Cultivating nutrition gardens during the #COVID19 pandemic!

Jijabai is an Arogya Sakhi (health friend) from Madki village in Nanded district. With her training on nutrition gardening, she grows her own vegetable and fruits. With her knowledge, she empowered other women to start their own gardens. Today, these kitchen gardens are helping families cope with the hunger crisis.
Arogya Sakhis, members of self-help groups and community leaders in partnership with government front-line workers are helping vulnerable families in rural villages by creating awareness about crucial aspects like prevention, hygiene, social distancing, combating stigma and providing dry food & hygiene essentials.

Families in our village are aware about the seriousness of COVID-19, exclaims Geeta Chavan

Geeta Chavan is working in Mohtarwadi village in Osmanabad district as a Community Resource Person. She works with Gram Panchayat as a leader in her village. She has been creating awareness about pre & post safety measures about COVID-19 pandemic. Through demonstration she has increased awareness in her village.
With the support and contribution from her Mahila Shetkari Gat (Women Agriculture Group) members, she collected grains and vegetables and distributed to the neediest families. The group also collected funds from big farmers from her village and distributed to over 80 families. The members also stitch masks and distribute in their villages.

Leadership is the key to success, says Priya Khot

COVID-19 Lockdown paralyzed the life of the poor and people are finding it very difficult to survive every day. Panchincholi is such a village in Latur District, Maharashtra.
"Why people are not coming to help in time for the poor?" asks Priya Khot, a Community Resource Person of Swayam Shikshan Prayog from the village who gave her PDS allocated food items to three poor families as a sign of solidarity. Motivated by Priya’s action, 14 women from Mahila Shetkari Gat (Women Agriculture Group) came forward and mobilized food for 25 poor families and distributed. She runs a flour mill and provide free service for everyone in the village for making wheat powder on 15th and 16th of every month.
Encouraged by the response from the people, a training on mask making was provided by Bhagyashree Mahila Griha Udyog, an NGO in Nilanga. Back to the community, Priya trained six women for mask making. The group made 600 masks that is being collected by the NGO for distribution. When Panchincholi Gram Panchayat Sarpanch, Mr. Shrikant Salunkhe noticed Priya's commitment and action, he recommended neighbouring Panchayat to use her skills in community mobilization and relief effort.
"I was so shy and hesitant to go out and meet people. The changes happened in me when I started getting involved in SHG meetings and activities and become a Community Resource Person.” Priya is overwhelmed with the response and recognition she got from her community and Panchayat to do more work for the community. She has encouraged CRPs in her neighbouring villages also for working with communities and support to GP.
"I am proud of what I am doing. Panchayat and community has given me respect and I have to give it back to my community", says Priya Khot.

Selfless, in the times of crisis…

Work from Home has hit the widows in Marathwada, the most. They had lost their daily jobs and small businesses faced closure. When people do not have enough, who is to look out for widows and their children?
In neighbouring district of Solapur, twenty widows in Boramani village had no one to look to. They would lose their dignity, if they asked their neighbours.
Seeing their plight, Usha Gurav urged the members of self help group to step in. She said “wasn’t mutual aid the reason why we formed this group?“ She motivated her group to dig into their precious savings and made a plan to support twenty widows and others. In presence of their Panchayat, they procured and distributed fifty grocery kits enough to feed well over 200 people.
Unstoppable, these leaders went on to help the Panchayat to look after migrants who have travelled back bringing back nothing with them. “They are not outsiders, they are after all, our people”… says Usha about people who have returned from cities.
---
*Development expert

Comments

TRENDING

Astonishingly sycophantic: Ex-Gujarat topcop on 2002 Godhra riots probe panel report

By Rajiv Shah  In a scathing critique of the 2002 communal riots inquiry commission report, released by the Gujarat government in December 2019 five years after it was submitted, the State’s former topcop RB Sreekumar has said that it “unequivocally” and “meticulously” takes care “to refrain from probing and taking cognizance of any deviant action of omission and commission by the State administration, particularly those operating in the criminal justice system, who facilitated extensive mass violence and enabled brigands to perpetrate anti-minority crimes.”

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Two of 12 top caste-based sexual violence cases from 'model' Gujarat: NGO report

By Rajiv Shah   The National Council of Women Leaders (NCWL), a civil rights group, has compiled what it has called “landmark cases of caste-based sexual violence” between 1985 and 2020 to mark the first anniversary of the notorious Hathras gangrape case, which led to the death of a young Dalit woman in September 2020.

Riddled with Brahmanical mindset, India's health care 'serving' corporate interests

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  In this second part of my conversation (click here for first part), Dr Manisha Bangar speaks about the health crisis in India how the government is trying to privatise things, and where our response during the Corona period was lacking. She also gives us an understanding of people opposing nutritious meals for children in the mid-day meal.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ram ke naam? Upper caste Hindus 'created' the demand for temple in Ayodhya

By Sahil Mital*  Documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan brought an important issue to the forefront with ‘Ram ke Naam’ (In the Name of God). At a time when religious fundamentalism and fanaticism is on the rise, this movie brings to light the reality behind the thought process of people involved, both inside and outside such issues.

Hard times? Seeking to promote Urdu amidst 'efforts' to brand it as language of Muslims

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*  Those who believe that Urdu is a dying language, must come to the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL), spend some time here and see that Urdu, like any other language, is on a fast track. For the connoisseurs of Urdu, it is a heaven!

Power supply lines in Thar 'pushing' Great Indian Bustard to extinction: Researchers

By Rosamma Thomas*  Electricity supply lines pose a huge risk to birds and affect biodiversity, but there is little research about the numbers of birds dying of such collision in the tropical nations. In August 2021, academic journal Biological Conservation carried the results of a survey conducted in 2017-18 on 4,200 sq km of the Thar Desert in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan. This was the first comprehensive survey of this nature in the region.

Bahujan patriarchy? Savarna feminists 'over-state' gender rights in Dalit communities

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Dr Manisha Bangar is a practicing senior consultant gastroenterologist and transplant hepatologist, with around 20 years of clinica-cum-research and teaching experience. In terms of her medical qualification, she completed MBBS, MD and DM. She was a governing council member of the Indian National Association for Study of the Liver (INASL), and member of the Task Force for Hepatitis B and Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH) diseases of the South Asian Association for Study of the Liver (SAASL).

Vindictive raids? Centre 'retaliates' after Delhi govt child rights body's clean chit to ex-babu

By Our Representative  Over 700 academics, advocates, activists, civil servants, writers, film makers, journalists, musicians and artists have condemned the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on the offices and private home of top IAS bureaucrat-turned-human rights and peace activist Harsh Mander, stating, the aim is nothing but to “harass and intimidate” him.