VSSM Enables the Families from Vadia

VSSM enables the families from Vadia, now relocated to Palanapur acquire new Voter ID cards….

Since past few years VSSM has been educating and sensitising the families living in Vadia to give up their traditional profession and choose a different life. Heeding to the recommendation, a couple of years ago, 40 families from Vadia walked out of the village to escape its prevailing conditions. Not only did they walk out of the village, they walked away from the life they lived, they walked away from the attached stigma, they walked away from their identity… These families came and settled in Palanpur, a city near Vadia and did not wish to be know as natives of Vadia hence had applied for new identity proofs.

vadia - palanpur sarania family

VSSM Enables the Families from Vadia

Almost a year ago these 40 families who had settled in and around Palanpur had made application to shift their Voter ID cards from Vadia to their current address. The applications for the same were filed with the Mamlatdar’s office. 62 adult members from these 40 families have received their Voter ID cards today. We are thankful to the Additional Collector Shri. Jagdishbhai Desai and Mamlatdar Shri. Geetaben Desai for their support, “it is because of your compassion towards these families that their names have been transferred to Palanpur voter list.”

In the picture- Saraniyaa Families with their Voter ID cards..
વાડિયા છોડી પાલનપુરમાં આવીને રહેલા પરિવારોને vssmની મદદથી મતદારકાર્ડ મળ્યા
બનાસકાંઠાના વાડિયાગામમાં રહેતાં સરાણીયા પરિવારોમાંથી ૪૦ પરિવારો વાડિયાગામ છોડીને છેલ્લા કેટલાંય વખતથી પાલનપુરમાં આવીને રહ્યા છે. આ પરિવારો વાડિયાના ભૂતકાળમાંથી બહાર નીકળી પોતાની વાડિયાના વતની હોવાની છાપ જ ભુંસવા માંગે છે એમને વાડિયાનો કોઈ આધાર ખપતો નથી પોતાની દીકરીઓને વાડિયાગામની દીકરીને જે પરંપરાગત વ્યવસાયમાં ધકેલવામાં આવતી એ વ્યવસાયમાં ધકેલવી નથી.
પાલનપુર કે એની આસપાસના વિસ્તારમાં સ્થાઈ થવા ઇચ્છતા ૪૦ સરાણીયા પરિવારોના વાડિયાગામની મતદાર યાદીમાંથી નામ કાઢીને પાલનપુરમાં તબદીલ કરાવવા માટે ૧ વર્ષ પહેલાં મામલતદાર કચેરી પાલનપુરમાં અરજી કરી હતી. આજે ૪૦ પરિવારોના કુલ ૬૨ પુખ્તવયના લોકોને મતદારકાર્ડ મળ્યાં. જે માટે પ્રાંત કલેકટર શ્રી જગદીશભાઈ દેસાઈ અને મામલતદાર શ્રી ગીતાબેન દેસાઈના અમે આભારી છીએ. એમની આ પરિવારો માટેની સંવેદનાના કારણે જ આ પરિવારોના નામ પાલનપુરમાં તબદીલ થઈ શક્યા.
ફોટોમાં મતદારકાર્ડ સાથે સરાણીયા પરિવારો

VSSM For Sarania Families of Vadia

And miracle happens….

Rupabhai and his family  a sarania family reside in Vadia. The family has been allocated 3 acres of land, a portion from the government allotted land to the Vadia Women Cooperative society. Vadia being a dry and arid region government also made irrigation facility available for the residents of Vadia willing to take up farming. However one bore well isn’t enough to supply water to all the farmers. Hence Rupabhai takes water from the farmers who have bore wells on their farms. 3 acres as such is very small piece of land and returns on farming parent enough to sustain the family. Rupabhai felt that compared to agriculture cattle farming is a more viable option. He requested VSSM for an interest free loan of Rs. 50,000 to buy buffaloes. VSSM stationed his loan and Rupabhai has bought a buffalo from the money. Rupabhai now grows fodder on his land and sells the milk from his buffalo in Vadia. He also remains regular in paying back the instalments to VSSM.

VSSM For Saraniya Family of Vadia
VSSM For Saraniya Family of Vadia

“Be extremely careful, do not carry any extra money or wear any jewellery when you go to Vadia, people there will loot you!” is how everyone had warned me when I planned my first visit to Vadia in the year 2005. When I witness such honesty from the community in Vadia it really makes me wonder why and how such perceptions are formed to stigmatise a particular community. Rupabhai and many like him are honestly doing their jobs and returning back the money borrowed from VSSM. No on is bad, its the circumstances that make shape their behaviour. The community in Vadia need warmth and care and change automatically comes through. Its this miracle we are witnessing right now in Vadia.

The journey of restoring the dignity of families of Vadia has been extremely difficult and emotional we are thankful to Shri. Rameshbhai Kcholiya, Shri. Nimesh Sumti, Shri. Pradipbhai Shah, Shri. Rashminbhai Sanghvi and friends of VSSM for standing by us and providing us the support to keep going.

 

 

વાડીયામાં રહેતાં સરાણીયા પરિવારોને પગભર કરવાનો vssmનો પ્રયાસ
ચમત્કાર થાય છે…
રૂપાભાઇ વાડિયાગામમાં રહે. ગામની બહેનોને મળેલી સામુહિક ખેતીની મંડળીની જમીનમાંથી ૩ એકર જમીન રૂપાભાઇના પરિવારને મળેલી એટલે એ જમીન ખેડે. ગામમાં સિંચાઈનો એક બોરવેલ છે પણ એનાથી આખા ગામની ખેતીની જમીન પિયત થતી નથી. બાજુના ગામના ખેડૂતોની જમીનમાં બોરવેલ છે. તેમની પાસેથી પાણી માંગીને રૂપાભાઇ ખેતી કરે. ખેતીની જમીન ખુબ ઓછી છે. જો ખેતી સાથે પશુપાલન કરે તો ઘણો ફાયદો થાય એવી રૂપાભાઇની લાગણી. વાડિયાગામમાં રહેતાં અને પોતાનો સ્વતંત્ર વ્યવસાય કરવા ઇચ્છતા પરિવારોને vssm વગર વ્યાજે લોન આપે છે. રૂપાભાઇએ ભેંસ ખરીદવા રૂ.૫૦,૦૦૦ની લોન આપવા વિનંતી કરી. રૂ.૫૦,૦૦૦ની લોન મળતાં એ ભેંસ લઇ આવ્યાં. હવે ખેતરમાં તે ભેંસ માટેનો ચારો પણ કરે છે અને દૂધ વાડિયા ગામમાં રહેતાં લોકોને વેચાતું આપે છે. vssmમાંથી લીધેલી લોનના હપ્તા પણ નિયમિત ભરે છે.
૨૦૦૫માં આ ગામમાં પહેલીવાર જઈ રહી હતી ત્યારે એ વિસ્તારના લોકોએ કહ્યું હતું, ‘ પૈસા કે દાગીના કંઈ લઈને કે પહેરીને ના જતા આ લોકો લુંટી લેશે.’ આ વિધાનને સાવ ખોટું પાડી રહ્યા છે લીધેલી લોનના પૈસા ઈમાનદારીથી પરત ભરી રહ્યા છે. કહે છે ને કે, કોઈ માણસ ક્યારેય ખરાબ હોતું નથી સંજોગો ખરાબ હોય છે વાડીયામાં પણ કંઇક આવું જ હતું પણ પ્રેમ અને હુંફથી બધું જ બદલાઈ શકે છે. ચમત્કાર થાય છે અમે વાડીયામાં દરરોજ એ અનુભવીએ છીએ…
વાડીયાના પરિવારોને બેઠા કરવા સ્વમાનભેર જીવતાં કરવામાં જેમણે પ્રેમપૂર્વક મદદ કરી એવા શ્રી રમેશ કચોલીયા, શ્રી નિમેશ સુમતિ, શ્રી પ્રદીપભાઈ શાહ, શ્રી રશ્મીન સંઘવી અને ફ્રેન્ડ્સ ઓડ vssm સૌનો ખુબ ખુબ આભાર..

Human Rights Work at Vadia by VSSM

Vadia now has a “pothole turned lake” to conserve rain water …..

Pothole Turned Lake at Vadia because of VSSM's Effort
Pothole Turned Lake at Vadia because of VSSM’s Effort

In the year 1963, as a measure to rehabilitate and provide alternate livelihood opportunities, the government allotted 208 acres of land to the families of Vadia (Not all land is owned by the families. Some land has been encroached from the beginning). As Vadia is a drought prone and arid region the government had also created irrigation facilities by installing two bore-wells. But the neglect in maintaining the bore-well damaged it badly and the second bore-well had became dysfunctional as a result of land slide during the 2001 earthquake. In 2008 Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch -VSSM and government together repaired it but a single bore-well proved insufficient to meet each farm’s irrigation need. We have requested the government for approving installation of another bore-well but that is going to take time.

In the mean time we decided to reduce the community’s dependence on ground water and start harvesting the rain water. Although the region receives very little rain, saving whatever water falls from the sky is wiser choice. The village does not have any lake or other traditional water conservation bodies but it does have a large pot-hole in which during monsoons the water gets accumulated. After receiving the necessary technical guidance from Shri. Rashminbhai Sanghvi, who also sowed the idea of rainwater harvesting in Vadia, we decided to go ahead and deepen the pot-hole, allow the water to get collected in it and later use the conserved water for agriculture. The work to widen and deepen the pothole has commenced. The required financial support for the works is been aided by Shri. Rameshbhai Kacholiya.

A few days back I received a phone call from the villagers saying, “Ben, the pothole looks more like a lake now, if the monsoon is good we will be able to conserve water enough to take one crop.” Such delightful news are always music to our ears…….

Pothole Turned Lake at Vadia-01
Pothole Turned Lake at Vadia because of VSSM’s Effort

In the picture.. work of deepening the pothole in progress.

Mittal Patel of VSSM at Vadiya

 

Mittal Patel of VSSM at Vadiya
Mittal Patel at Vadiya

Mittal Patel of VSSM at Vadiya when VSSM started it’s journy for Vadiya village of Gujarat.

VSSM’s Early Journey Into Vadia and There After -2

VSSM’s early journy into vadiya and there after — Some Milestone Episodes —-

Here we are with our talk on our Early Journey Into Vadia – 2

• Nobody,  not a single person, was ready to come and work in the  vadia village!!

Water Boarwell at Vadia
Water Boarwell at Vadia

 Vadia is a bad place and its people are notorious, no decent man should enter the village, there are all possibilities that one shall be looted if he enters the village – was the image people have had about this village. There was a stigma associated with this place and its dwellers. Hence no individuals or agencies were prepared to come and work in this village. The small hill needed to be levelled ignored to begin construction but no one was ready to lend their JCB for the purpose, no one was ready to listen to us. Atlast an individual fro Siddhpur, who we knew  as well managed for the JCB but we had to pay double the market cost. No tractors would come, no masons were prepared all the work done was after lot of cajoling and double the cost and that too only when Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch – VSSM’s Shardaben remained present in the village.  Building 89 homes proved to be a herculean task for us.

• What is the need to construct the road to Vadia , the government authorities would argue!!

New Road at Vadia
New Road at Vadia
Our quest  of how to make Vadia a better place and give its residents what they deserve as citizens of this country required continuous efforts and inputs. Every month the district Collector Shri. Hareet Shukla called and chaired meetings of various departments to find solutions to the pressing socio-economic issues of Vadia. Majority of the officers would attend these meetings with a preconditioned mindset: nothing can be done and nothing should be done in this village was their approach. When we proposed construction of road to the village they said,  “what is the need? if you’ll make road it would give an easy access to people to to reach Vadia, the situation will go bad to worse!!” We argued, “if a road comes up the villagers will go out, will interact with other people, will get to know the world beyond Vadia. They’ll understand what it is to have a normal life. They shall have access to public transport  and reprieve from  the monopolised fares that private transport providers demand. Low fares means they’ll prefer going out more. Presently, the community members do not go out unless necessary, bad road becomes a hazard during some medical emergency  especially for pregnant women. They are forced to pay extremely high prices for this commute. Because the women of this village are into flesh trade does not mean they should be denied access to some of the most basic amenities. We are a democratic nation and every citizen has a right to live with dignity.”
Vadia was treated as some gangrened society, and as it with the gangrenous body part authorities and society looked forward to chopping it out from the system. Efforts for their inclusion in the society were none so far.
During one of the meeting the collector inquired, “will these families be interested in doing some alternate occupation?”
“Yes, definitely.”
New Road opp school at Vadia
New Road opp. school at Vadia
 He directed the District Rural Development Agency to sanction loans to these families to help them start their own business. “Saheb, these families do not feature in BPL list, so they aren’t eligible for any assistance,” replied an official.

“The women here sell themselves to survive, what more do you want from them to feature in a BPL list?”

 Later te collector inquired on the type of ration cards these families have – APL was the reply. He asked the officials of the civil supplies to begin the process of issuing Antoday ration cards to them whereas the Rural Development Agency was asked to begin the process of including the names of these families in the BPL list and process vocational loans for them.
Antyoday Ration cards were issued, road form Vadgaum to Vadia was constructed,  a bore well to facilitate agriculture was installed because without irrigation facility cultivating the land given by government was impossible as the region is arid and drought prone. Government had installed two bore wells but since power bills weren’t paid the supply to one was discontinued while the other was rendered non-functional because of a land slide after the earthquake. We arranged for the pending bill to be paid and restart the bore well. The situation has eased a bit, the need for second bore-well hasn’t reduced though.
All these efforts ranged from 2006 to 2011. VSSM received support from many of its well-wishers and donors, notable being respected Shri. Chandrakantbhai Gogri. VSSM’s founder member, trustee and our very dear friend Shri. Liladhar Gada has supported towards installation of bore-well ( as such does by government but purchase of  quality pipes, motor etc.) and construction of homes in Vadia. The long pending power bill was paid by Gujarat Sarvoday Mandal.
Thus heralding a gradual but consistent change in the ground realities of Vadia with all the efforts started from 2006 to 2011 at Vadia by VSSM.

VSSM’s Early Journey Into Vadia and There After -1

 VSSM’s early journy into vadiya and there after — Some Milestone Episodes —-

Let’s have part 1 of  our early journy into Vadiya.

saraniya families at vadiya
saraniya families at vadiya

It all began with one woman who got into the flesh trade that to under desperation – the need to fill empty bellies of her family.  Later few other women followed her and gradually the more and more families began involving their sisters and daughters into this trade until it became a common practice for women of that particular area and particular community. What could be the option to this  occupation??? Initially the government provided land to these families both for farming and building homes (actually they were moved to one specific region as a step to rehabilitate them). The land was allotted but wasn’t marked hence most of the families made their shades on a hill top (cause the land got flooded during rains). The living conditions were pathetic. One tap to provide water to entire settlement/village. Very few families had ration cards. That too APL ration cards through which they could only buy kerosene at subsidised price.

 Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch – VSSM initiated working with the Saraniyaa families of Vadia by filing for allotment  of residential plots to these families. Once the land was marked the families were allotted plots. Moving on it came to construction of houses on the allotted plots. The bureaucratic mindsets, rigidity and completing the  formalities of accessing various welfare schemes by the government  were nerve wrecking.
Saraniya Community House at Vadiya
Saraniya Community House at Vadiya
Some of the requirements were:

• Need money to build a home – photograph of husband and wife is mandatory!!

So from where will a women who has been pushed into sex trade, who is a sex worker, has never been married but has children and needs a building to house her family bring husband in the photograph need to file application for a government housing scheme!! And the officials as if deriving some sadist pleasure would keep poking by asking questions like where is your husband?? Why don’t you have a picture with him?? We need a picture!! (all these even after knowing the facts and we having briefed them about the status of these women). With an motive of upholding the dignity of these women we had made a conscious decision to never asked certain questions that would put them in uncomfortable situations. The entire exercise of filing the applications was mentally exhaustive for us. Ultimately with the help of then District Collector Shri. Harit Shukla and Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment Shri. R. M. Patel’s intervention helped in resolving the issue. The government assistance towards construction was sanctioned following which we initiated the process of constructing homes. Hence emerged another issue…

• Nobody,  not a single person, was ready to come and work in the village!!

To be Continute in next post……….

 

Nomadic Tribes Saraniya families of Vadiya Village

Nomadic Saraniya families of Vadiya Village
Vadiya Villagae

Tucked in one tiny nook between Gujarat and Rajasthan border is a village named Vadiya Vaillage notoriously famous for the trade the women of this village are into. This is a village were all its residents belong to Saraniyaa Community of Gujarat and most of the household follow the traditional profession of flesh trade. In 1963, the government  with the intention of providing rehabilitation options to these families,  who than lived in Tharad’s  Budhanpura, provided 205 acres of land from the wasteland of Vadgaum.  Since the land had no irrigation facilities and the region is very arid and drought prone, farming wasn’t turning out to be a profitable means of earning. The intent behind the allotment wasn’t met. But,  the government has  kept trying but with  little success.  No radical changes were observed. Infact the situation kept worsening over the period of time.

વાડીયામાં વિચરતી જાતિના સરાણીયા પરિવારો..

બનાસકાંઠાનું વાડિયા ગામ દેહવ્યાપાર માટે ખુબ પંકાયેલું. વિચરતી જાતિમાંના સરાણીયા પરિવારો આ ગામમાં રહે. મૂળ તો થરાદ પાસેના બુઢણપુર ગામમાં રહેતાં આ પરિવારોને આવી દોઝખભરી જિંદગીમાંથી બહાર લાવવા માટે ૧૯૬૩માં થરાદથી ૧૭ કી.મી. દુર વડગામડાના વીડમાં ખેતી માટેની સરકારી ચોપડે ૨૦૫ એકર જમીન ફાળવાઈ. પણ જમીન બંજર પાણીની સુવિધા નહિ એટલે જે ઉદેશ્ય સાથે જમીન ફાળવાઈ હતી તે હેતુ સફળ ના થયો.. સરકાર દ્વારા પણ વખતો વખત ઘણા પ્રયત્નો થયાં. પણ નક્કર કહી શકાય એવો બદલાવ ગામમાં ના આવ્યો. ઊલટાની પરિસ્થિતિ વધારે બગડી..

 

Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch – VSSM

VichartaSamudaaySamarthanManch –VSSM, is a collective platform of members from Nomadic (Vicharata) and De-Notified (Vimukht) Tribes (Samudaay), individuals and organizations’ empathizing with these communities. VSSM as a collective was initiated in the year 2006 and was formally registered as an organization in the year 2010, with the mission to give social identity, citizen’s rights, education, health facilities, housing and livelihood options to the various communities of Nomadic and De-Notified Tribes (NT-DNTs).

VSSM use below mention tools to fullfill its vision ” The Communities of Nomadic and De-Notified Tribes Atten And Lead A Life With Dignity.

VSSM’s activities are spreaded across 47 blocks of 9 districts of Gujarat. Below are the Districts where VSSM is working and having its presence.

  • Patan
  • Mehsana
  • Amreli
  • Rajkot
  • Ahmedabad
  • Sabarkantha
  • Surendranagar
  • Banaskantha
  • Gandhinagar

This blog is dedicated for VSSM at Vadiya Village for Sarania Community of Gujarat. We are going to share how was the Vadiya when we visited first time and than after our journy till today. We is representing Mittal Patel and its all Team.