Jothi W/O Thambithurai is an agricultural laborer and a widow. She has two boys and two girls. The girls are studying in the 10th and 12th classes respectively. She lived with a big family in a small mud wall thatched roof hut, but with the strike of the cyclone things changed overnight, the children suffered a lot in their studies. With the construction of the house for them, they felt very happy and safe. The children feel that this house will be very useful for them for their future studies.
The girl children had even actively participated in the construction work. Logannathan is also an agricultural laborer. He has two sons, the first one is studying in the 10th class and the second child is deaf. As this area is very prone to natural calamities since it is very near, i.e., 20 kilometers from the seashore, safety is a huge concern for the people. Every year they are affected either by floods or cyclones. The construction of the houses made them feel safe from the natural disasters. Amutha - Gabriele is also an agricultural labourer. She has one girl and a boy. Her husband’s health is not good. With her hard work she has sent her girl to college for higher studies. She is a very active woman. She has contributed a lot in this construction project. She is incharge of maintaining the stock for sand, cement and metal stones. She is also helping LAFTI organise the women for further construction work. With the construction work of the houses, she has received very good response in the society and she feels not only safe by having a shelter over her head but also very respectful and motivated. She even said, “I’m going to arrange a marriage for my daughter and because of this house I hope to find a good bridegroom for her soon.”
Youth for Sewa (YFS) is an organization which always explores the required area of development in the society and engages volunteer teams to do so. Shalini Shukla, along with 600 other volunteers, participated in the sapling plantation drive organised by YFS on the occasion of The World Environment Day. Their team had chosen the area around Northern Ridge, Sonia Vihar, in north-eastern suburb of Delhi near Wazirabad. On the banks of river Yamuna, Shalini pledged to plant as many saplings as possible for the future generations.
She planted over 2000 saplings along with her team. Most saplings would grow up to become huge trees of Jamun, Bargad, Pipal, and Kadam. Of these, 300 trees were planted by NDTRF Volunteers and 1700 trees planted by college, corporate, community volunteers and school children. The constituency’s MLA also witnessed and cheered for the plantation drive. Unfortunately, the area was soon hit by a flood and the team had to shift to a new location at Tughlakabad. They planted 3000 saplings at Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary.
Despite the scorching heat, unforeseen rains and many tiresome days, Shalini felt deep satisfaction once she went back home. “The feeling that I have contributed something for a better and healthier environment is unmatched”, said Shalini. She also added, “Our environment needs us and if we all come together, we can create a better world.”
12 year-old Sakshi (name changed) is usually not so quiet in class. She is a chirpy girl with instincts of a prodigy. However, her behaviour was different during the Menstrual Hygiene session conducted by Sewa International with the support of ONGC Foundation. While taking the session, two volunteers identified a rather hesitant Sakshi who was shying away from participating in any of the activities. She refused to be part of any games and tried to hide from everyone’s eyes. As responsible adults, the 2 volunteers chose to merely observe Sakshi’sbehaviour throughout the session and later spoke to her in private. She took time to open up and revealed that she was a victim of physical abuse at home.
The session may have been entirely themed upon menstrual health management but there were positive cascading effects which helped Sakshi face and fight her fears. Her family is now more supportive and understanding towards her. She feels more accepted. She continues to go to school and wants to help other girls speak up.
There are hundreds of Sakshis out there who are hesitant in opening up because they never found a trustworthy platform. ONGC Foundation takes pride in collaborating with partners who go out of their way to impact lives.
Tanmay Tiwari studied in ONGC Community School established by ONGC Foundation in Sitapur District of UP. He was the district level topper in the academic year of 2018-19 with a whopping score of 97.80% (day boarding) in CBSE’s class 10th examination. ONGC community school was opened with motive to impart quality education to the students of this backward area and give them a good platform to showcase their talents.
According to Tanmay, ONGC Community School is one of its kinds to have opened in the rural area. Its quality and facility are top notch in the entire district. Before the opening of this school, they were lagging behind and didn’t have any access to quality education or a competitive platform. After the establishment of this school, it has not only provided them with good education but also helped them to understand their capabilities and make them a better version of themselves. When the people used to ask him how he became a topper, his usual reply was - “one should always fix a target and continuously work on it and the target should not be easy because when we achieve that target, we would be the happiest person at that time. And always keep an eye on your goal to see you are moving on the correct path.”
Struggles have been very common in their lives but the subsidized fees at ONGC Community School have helped many underprivileged students to have access to better education and eventually fulfill their dreams. The School has brought about significant changes in the past six years and it aims to bring monumental changes in the lives of the future generations as well. As Tanmay concludes – “I am blessed to be a part of this school.”
Being the eldest son, Jai Kumar Singh was expected to take up a normative career. His parents would have been proud had he chosen to become a doctor. But as fate would have it, Jai today saves lives, just not in a surgeon suit. He works with Save Child Beggar. He primarily organizes flash-mobs and street plays. With the support of ONGC Foundation, one such flash mob was organized in Delhi to raise awareness on the ban of single-use plastic. He stayed up late for five consecutive nights to write meaningful songs, gather volunteers, make placards and what not. For a greater outreach, they had targeted places with higher footfall, like metro stations and busy markets but it was also difficult to grab the audience’s attention in these spots.
Adding on to the dilemma, the security personnel at metro stations stopped them. However, after deliberations, Jai and his team were finally allowed to perform. If you see 20 people rising up and singing and dancing in one rhythm you would stop and watch. That is exactly what happened. Passers-by stopped and witnessed and learnt how single-use plastic is damaging the environment. Many amongst the audience came up to the team to congratulate them and asked if they could become members too.
Jai had never been so proud. His team conducted flash-mobs at 3 different locations simultaneously. He made sure that the message reached as many people as possible. He personally spoke and distributed pamphlets to hawkers, shopkeepers and vegetable vendors.
They were able to reach about 50,000 people in a span of 3 days. According to Jai, “In an urban setup, people don’t have time to sit and watch plays. If you get 20 young boys and girls to sync together to send a message, people will pay attention, even if it is for 5 minutes. Your job is done there. You have spread the word.”
Ashu Nain, 28, a resident of village Loan, Jind district of Haryana, is a passionate soil health conservator. For healthy plants, the soil should be healthy which means the soil should be rich in all the essential nutrients and free from toxins and infectious materials. Soil is a Mother who feeds the plant as her child. Thus, soil health should be maintained by adding organic matter rather than adding poison and chemicals in it. To increase soil efficiency it should be enriched with all the beneficial microorganisms. Soil is a house to billions of microorganisms who help to maintain the soil health. Ashu Nain has been farming for the last 9 years. But for the first 6 years he was unaware about the importance of soil health. Without caring much about the soil health, he adopted a mono-cropping system as all other farmers do. Continuously for 6 years he practiced mono-cropping. Later he noticed that his soil became less fertile. Due to the mono-cropping practice, the yield of the crop and the porosity of
the soil has been decreased and on performing crop residue burning, it led to the formation of a hard soil crust. These were the adverse effects that have been noticed by Ashu Nain after continuously practicing mono-cropping.
In 2019, Kheti Virasat Mission had initiated its Ecological Straw Management Project in Jind district of Haryana. Through this project, Ashu Nain had come in contact with Kheti Virasat Mission and his search for proper hand holding and guidance came to an end. He found his like-minded friends who are propagating No Straw Burning. He found a team of enthusiastic field workers, who started recognizing his efforts, his passion for soil health. He was honoured at Kisan Samwad organised by KVM under the ONGC Foundation sponsored project. This has encouraged him and now he is closely working along with KVM’s team to educate, aware and train the farmers regarding adverse effects of paddy straw burning on soil structure and soil health. Anshu Nain stated- “After meeting the KVM team working on Straw Burning in Jind, I feel encouraged and now I am not alone, my questions and queries about soil health and straw management techniques got resolved and answered. I found friends who are as passionate as me to stop this menace of Straw Burning through this project team. Now they are encouraging me, regularly visiting my farm to keep my enthusiasm high”.
As a soil health promoter Ashu Nain conveys a message to other farmers - “Soil health is as important as human health, if the soil is healthy it will give us healthy food, so let’s keep our Soil health by stopping straw burning”.
Rafiuddin Ahmed stays 25 minutes away from Su KhaPha hospital. He has been visiting the hospital for dialysis for the past 10 months. He earns Rs.15000 to 20,000 per month by renting rooms and is the sole bread earner in the family of 4. Earlier, he owned a few buses but sold it later on. In his family, his wife and two children are there.
Rafiuddin Ahmed praised the staff of the Sukha-Pha- hospital, saying that the staff are very caring and work on time. He is receiving free dialysis in the hospital as well. Previously, he had to go to Guwahati for dialysis, but after the establishment of Su-kha-Pha- hospital in Sivasagar, dialysis has become more accessible, easily available and reachable.
As dialysis is done free of cost in the Su-Kha-Pha hospital, Mr. Ahmed has to spend only on buying injections and tablets. ONGC Foundation’s initiative is bridging the gap between the accesses to healthcare and making hospital treatments easier and convenient.