We need to hear more about the numerous heroes and heroines in our midst, along with successful grassroots projects, and less about partisan politics and the like.
IDEX works with local organizations to overcome poverty. Vini combines incredible intellect with warmth and an engaging personality and uses it for positive action. I wish our media reported on more people like her.
Vini’s talk was called “India Shining” and it covered mainly positive initiatives on the ground in India. One of her stories was about water and women in Rajasthan. If you’ve ever been to that state, you know how dry it is. It’s a beautiful but very arid region that is home to many rural and desert communities. According to IDEX, desert families spend upwards of 70% of their income on water.
Not surprisingly, water, and water management, is a huge issue. This is especially so for women, who spend much of their time walking great distances to collect water for their families. Often it is young girls tasked with this burden. Fetching water is a priority that is put before school, so few girls are able to gain an education. As water becomes scarcer, the negative impact on women becomes greater.
GRAVIS, a local IDEX grantee with field offices in Rajasthan’s Thar Desert, strives to create self-reliant villages. One such initiative is helping implement a traditional way of harvesting and storing rain water to help Rajasthani communities. Using taankas, or underground water storage tanks, GRAVIS helped 20 villages construct these tanks that resulted in vastly improved water security during times of drought. At the same time, it eased the water burden on women.
A taanka reportedly costs about $250, and the tanks capture, filter, and store rainwater normally collected from rooftops. Each taanka holds 20,000 liters of water. Once a tank is filled, it can last a family for 5-6 months. Freed from the need to collect water, more girls are able to attend school. A win-win for the family and community.
Vini talked about how the most durable solutions to poverty come from the ground up. Not only that, but they come from resurrecting past, even ancient, traditions. Technology can be a saving grace for our societies, but tapping into knowledge and nature could even be better.