Savalee Adivasi Prakalp

Introduction

Savalee is a home for homeless, financially weak, and orphaned children. Savalee in Marathi, means shade or shelter. True to its name, Savalee has stood as the shelter for several destitute children, irrespective of their religion or caste.

Savalee is part of Sankalp Pratishthan, Ahmednagar, registered in 2001 under Social Act of 1860/Regd.Mah/551 and Mumbai Public Trust Law of 1950 F6426. Board of Control for Orphanages, Maharashtra, has issued a non-aided registration certificate in the name of Savalee Balsadan. Savalee is located at Link Road, Bhushan Nagar, Kedgaon, Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - 414 005 (6 km from Ahmednagar Bus Stand and 3 km from Ahmednagar Railway Station).

Need Identification

The western end of Ahmednagar District is where Bhandardara Dam has been built in the Sahyadris. There are nine tribal villages in the back of Bhandardara Dam. These include Mutkhel, Ratanwadi, Sambarat, Panjare, Dhaytewadi, Ghatghar, etc. This region has been declared as Ratangad Abhayaranya (Sanctuary). The villages are situated on hill-slope, surrounded by ranges of Sahyadri. The climate is extreme in all seasons - rains, winter, and summer. Extreme climatic conditions, lack of natural resources, illiteracy, and lack of development plans have affected the livelihood of tribes badly. Undernourishment and addiction are dominant problems of the entire population living in these tribal villages. Huge need of resources and development plan was identified by the Sankalp Pratishthan of Ahmednagar.

The volunteers of Sankalp Pratishthan (Savalee) started with need-based remedies and support activities, such as taking patients to nearby city hospitals, distributing food items and clothes, persuading villagers to quit addiction, etc. identifying further need of sustainable aid programme and development plan, Savalee Research Project was launched.

Research Findings

  • Nine tribal villages are situated along hill-side in the back of Bhandardara Dam, almost three to six kms away from water.
  • There is no specific means of earning for tribesmen living here. There is no marketplace nearby.
  • Due to hill-slope area, only rice crops are taken, that too during only four months of rainy season. No work is available during winter season. During summer, villagers travel 70 to 80 kms in search of work. They have to manage with whatever wages offered to them.
  • Average annual income of a family is just Rs.12,000/-
  • No clinic or hospital is available in the range of 8 to 15 kms from these villages.
  • Most of the villagers are addicted to country liquor, alcohol, tobacco, beedi, etc. Women are addicted to heavy dosage of masheri (burnt tobacco).
  • Robust economic system is missing in this region, hence barter system is followed in some places. Tribesmen exchange rice for grocery. They also sell eggs and honey to earn livelihood.
  • Villagers consume rice, sprouts, and chapattis made of wheat. They also consume raw meat of pigs and rabbits.
  • There is no health and hygiene awareness among men and women of these villages, which leads them to diseases of all types.
  • Since pregnant women are malnourished, the newborn babies are too undernourished and ill. Thus entire population is susceptible to undernourishment and diseases.
  • Government aid was found under Ashram Shala and Gharkul Scheme. Recently, villagers have started converting earthen homes into shades of steel sheets. However, a constant source of food and nourishment is still missing here.

Work Done By Savalee

Volunteers of Sankalp Pratishthan (Savalee) have been working in this region since last five years. Serious patients from villages are taken to government hospital in Nashik, which is nearest city place from here. Arrangements are made for their treatment, medicines, and food. Considering loss of lives due to unavailability of medical aid, Savalee proposed free clinics in these villages. With enthusiastic support from villagers and generous people, free clinic was started in one of the villages.

Around 1,400 children between age of 0 to 6 years were surveyed by Savalee. Out of these, some 684 children were found to be average/medium/highly malnourished. Food items and nutritional intakes were distributed among these children.

Similarly, around 135 elderly villagers, and around 450 women were identified as undernourished. Free meals were organised by Savalee for these needy people in villages like Mutkhel.

Elderly villagers are most affected by extreme climatic conditions in this tribal area. Savalee distributed around 1,500 blankets to old people in every family.

Plans And Requirements

While support work by Savalee will continue on need-basis, a sustained resource and development plan is strongly called for. Savalee has identified certain areas that need immediate attention.

1. Nutritious Food Supply:

  • The 684 undernourished children identified by Savalee, need nutritious food supply on daily basis. This would include food items like Upma, Shira, Khaarik, Shengdana Laadu, Rajgira Laadu, Potato, Banana, etc. estimated cost is Rs.55 per child per day. That comes to approximately Rs.11 Lacs per month.
  • Similarly, 135 elderly folks and 450 women are identified as undernourished and diseased. They need nutritious food supply as well as immediate medical help.
    • 2. Medical Aid:

      • One doctor (male/female/both) can be appointed for these nine tribal villages. Estimated remuneration to each doctor is Rs.25,000 per month.
      • Two medical assistants (Arogya Sevak) are required in every village. There should be one male and one female assistant attending villagers throughout the day/night. Estimated salary is Rs.5,000 per medical assistant. That comes to Rs.10,000 per village per month or Rs. 90,000 per month for 9 villages.
      • Apart from these, huge amount of medicines and equipments are required for free clinics to be established in these villages.

      3. Water Supply:

      Water scarcity is one of the biggest hindrances against development of this region. Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 feet long pipeline is required for each village. Some 200 pipes of 3 inches size at the rate of Rs.424 each are required for this project. Piping cost comes to Rs.84,800 per village, excluding labour and other charges. As a model, this can be done for Mutkhel village first. It will benefit 1,400 villagers living here.

      4. Counselling Centers:

      Villagers, young and old, men and women, need to be counselled and guided upon healthy and hygienic living. Workshops against addiction are highly required here.

      5. Educational Support:

      • Children here are in great need of resources, infrastructure, and teachers for learning. Learning centers or night schools should be established in every village. Estimated salary of part-time teacher is Rs.3,000 per month. Total cost of salary for nine villages comes to Rs.27,000 per month. Teaching aids and educational material can be collected as donation from city area.
      • A strong literacy drive is required for adult villagers. Around 90 per cent of women are illiterate, leading to other problems regarding health and living. Literacy workshops or classes should be planned in all these villages.
      • Career guidance workshops, personality development workshops should be arranged for the youth in this area.

      Conclusion

      Although need-basis support activities are being carried out by groups like Savalee, it is strongly recommended that sustainable development plans should be made for upbringing of these often-neglected regions of our state. Also, huge support to groups like Savalee, is expected from community and developed societies around this area.

      Contact for supporting the cause:
      Mr. Nitesh Bansode
      Savalee Balsadan by Sankalp Pratishthan,
      Link Road, Bhushan Nagar,
      Kedgaon, Ahmednagar,
      Maharashtra, India - 414 005
      Phone: +91-9890969315
      E-mail: savalee2008@gmail.com

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