Small Steps Big Leaps



Having borne the weight of child labour, 19-year-old Zainab has vowed to save others like her. Hailing from Chandora in Meerut, her family’s poverty forced her into child labour. Like most in her village, she used to stitch footballs in a factory, earning a measly Rs 25 per day. Yet, unlike other girls in her village she juggled work with school. Now she is a graduate about to take up postgraduation studies in social work. The teenager simultaneously runs a school in her village that currently boasts of more than 120 students. Apart from mentoring her students for free, Zainab also teaches their mothers to read and write. Impressed by her endeavours, the UP government proposes to open an intermediary college in her village which is expected to start functioning early next year.


In today’s world of self-obsession, it is indeed an endearing sight when a differently abled person makes an effort to reach out to aid those in any kind of distress. Paschimbanga Agragami Andha Samiti (West Bengal Association for the Visually Challenged, PAAS), is one such organisation in West Bengal’s Kareya Kadabagachi that is run by visually impaired people. It is a shining example of how one can survive odds and overcome any challenges if one is determined. PAAS was formed in 2008 and began with a simple step of teaching Braille to the visually impaired. Having come a long way since its inception, this organisation now actively engages in training the needy and helping them earn their daily bread. PAAS has reached out to people with visual impairment from diverse backgrounds including hawkers, singers and beggars. It has time and again contributed to disaster-affected victims and intends to continue doing so with whatever available means.


About a year ago, a man bought a 200-acre plot— a rocky, barren terrain dotted with dried palms. A year later, the same land had transformed into a giant patch of lush green. Ayyappa Masajii, 59, from Gadak, Bengaluru has achieved in a year what would otherwise have taken decades. Devoting his life to water conservation, Ayyappa blended native intelligence with technology to ensure an effective harvest, while optimising water usage. Limca Book of World Records extolls his feat of having constructed over 500 lakes and recharged lands. After anchoring water conservation projects in more than 4,200 locations, Ayyappa claims to have a remedy to the water crisis that our country is likely to face in the coming years. His chief methods call for the need to judiciously strategise, plan and invest in agriculture.


Brought up in a family that sheltered and provided assistance to poor youth from nearby villages, a young girl decided to follow her mother’s footsteps and continue the tradition of helping the less fortunate. Sridevi Ramesh, a resident of IIT colony near Velacherry in Tamil Nadu has come up with a simple yet unique idea. She collects and sells old newspapers in an attempt to provide financial aid to a couple of orphanages in the city. On a monthly basis, Sridevi and her volunteers collect Rs 250-300 kg newspapers. She has been able to successfully rope in dozens of volunteers from around the neighbourhood. Take S Muruganandham, a local kabadiwala (junk dealer) who pitches in for this noble cause besides the entire community. With the continuous support, these numbers are sure to rise in the next few months. Now, Ramesh aims to reach out to schools and colleges for support.




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