Project Disha is a community advancement programme by Yashoda Foundation. True to its name, Project Disha is about providing vulnerable rural communities with direction and hope.
The project is currently in operation in Renikunta village of Rajapet mandal in Nalgonda district. The main objectives of the project are to:
- Enable NGOs and networks to collaborate and act as social catalysts.
- Facility access to reliable health services.
- Transform schools to provide quality education and become community resource centres
- increase awareness about health and advantages of early detection and treatment of chronic diseases.
- Empower the under privileged sections of rural India through sustainable livelihood skill development.
- Provide a single window of information and access to opportunities to the rural areas.
As part of Project Disha, Yashoda Foundation held a 5 day information program at Renikunta Village. The program covered the following areas:
The Right to Information
The session was chaired by Mr. Rakesh Reddy, Director- United Forum for Rights to Information who spoke about the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2005.
Mr. Rakesh spoke about how RTI2005 ensures greater transparency and accountability in the Indian Government and Public Utility Services. He also differentiated between fundamental rights and human rights and spoke about consumer rights.
Mr. Rakesh also helped the villagers understand more about the consumer forum and how to fill form for filing RTI.
Organic Farming & Pest Management
The session was conducted by Mr. P.Damodhar, Secretary- Sarvodaya Youth Organisation and Mr. Lingiaha, Project Manager- Sarvodaya Youth Organisation and dealt with the practical issues with organic farming and group farming.
They spoke to the villagers about the concept of organic farming and its advantages. They also discussed how organic farming increases the health of the soil and allows the farmer to garner more yield and sell more successfully.
Then they educated the group on the concept of shared farming, where a group of farmers share the land area, the responsibilities and the costs of a whole harvest cycle. Once the crops are sold, the money is then divided amongst all the farmers. They discussed how group farming worked not on the amount of land one had, but the experience and expertise one had to sustainably increase the yield from the land.
Mr. Damodhar and Mr. Lingiaha also taught the group how to make organic fertilisers from neem, chillies, panchrasam and cow dung urea.
At the end of the session, the group discussed the various challenges it faced in implementing the models of group farming and organic farming and how they could overcome it despite the issues of shortage of electricity and ground water.
Health & Hygiene
This session was chaired by experts from multiple fields. Mrs.Shoba, a lecturer from a government college spoke about how health and quality of life are intrinsically linked. She spoke about how cultivating healthy habits leads to healthy thought which leads to healthy practices thus a healthy and happy life. She also spoke about the importance of food and nutrition for a happy and healthy life. She also discussed some food habits that must be cultivated and dispelled some food myths too.
The second set of experts were from a health related NGO called Chetana. They spoke about the importance of practising hygiene during the menstrual cycle. They also discussed the practical issues associated with the menstrual period and how to overcome them.
Dr. Madhavi, A gynaecologist spoke to the women about various silent diseases affecting women in rural areas, especially anaemia. She taught them how to do a first level self diagnosis and also discussed various eating and lifestyle habits that need to be enforced before seeking medical attention.
The villagers were then invited to get a free medical and eye check up. The check up was conduced by Dr. Rama Krishna, a retired Surgeon from Gandhi hospital. Around 300 villagers attended the eye check up, of which 28 of them had chronic problems requiring surgery and 25 were recommended to uses spectacles. The foundation has already provided the spectacle and has arranged operations for 10 of the chronic cases with regular follow ups. the remaining are on a waiting list and will be addressed in the next phase.
The session was chaired by Mr. Navin Kumar of Yashoda Foundation. Navin spoke to the villagers about the importance of vocational training and how vocational training equipped the youth with market ready skills.
The session had two objectives. The first was to identify youth who could be trained in skills required for jobs in the surrounding economies. The second was to identify men and women who could be formed into self help groups that could be trained in skills and market linkages.
At the end of the session, the Foundation had identified 38 youth who would be put through a vigorous livelihood skills training program. The Foundation also identified various men and women who were encouraged to form self help groups and get trained in various diary development practices like fodder preparation and milk vending procedures.
Importance of Water
This session was chaired by Dr. Narsimha Reddy, Director- Chetana Society. He spoke to the villagers about the importance of water and the role it plays in our society.
He educated the villagers about the concept of ground water and surface water. He spoke about practices of water conservation as Nalgonda is a drought prone area. He also discussed the dangers of water contamination and what it means for the villagers. He then taught them some simple methods of water testing and used commonplace items like coconut husk and charcoal to teach the villagers about water filtration and other practises.
There are various activities being planned under project Disha. Most of these activities are linked to health and livelihood of the villagers.
If you would like to be involved in Project Disha, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us how. We would love to hear from you.
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