Sunday, July 14, 2024

Being the ‘Sahara’ of poor & needy

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This week for Community Wise, we bring to you the social cause of the NGO called Sahara, that aims towards the betterment and serve the underprivileged and socially victimized sections of the society.

Shikha Duggal

According to recent studies, 8.4 crores of Indians are poor. While Hyderabad is a developing city, poverty is still a big challenge here. We regularly see many  living in extreme poverty — many children unable to go to school, or they are married at a very young age, some spend their life working in homes for their survival and some are even sold to contractors. To serve them came a messenger of god: Sahara NGO, that save the kids from ending up being at brothels and save them from malnourishment.

“The NGO was started in the year 1986 to serve the underprivileged and socially victimized sections of society, the poor and needy.Back in the year, I was also associated with international NGOs that led me to help thousands of children from my city to at least have proper employment in the future. I noticed the importance of having a grassroots organization to fulfill the needs and wants of the local communities, especially in Adilabad and Karimnagar districts,” shares Narsing Rao, the founding member of the CSR organization.

He badly wanted the kids to go to school, didn’t want girls to get married when they are underage, and especially rescue kids from child labour. “There was a need to showcase the plight of the local aged and children who needed support. It also paved way for a decentralized approach to designing projects based on the needs.

With this beginning, we spread our wings to different districts and different activities. Presently the organization is working in Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Rangareddy, and Hyderabad districts. The activities have been expanded, taking different age groups and different activities under its wings. We are striving to bring an overall sustainable development in the community and through years of service have noticed that only by integration of different activities and age groups this shall be possible. We are presently working for children, women, youth, aged and in the fields of environment, health, life and employability skill development.”

He also saw mainly children were engaged in agricultural labour so he thought of making them attend educational institutions. He continued, “While implementing our projects in the initial years, we realized that we cannot separate a child, a mother, an aged from family and community and help them. Hence we felt the need that any welfare program should be an integrated approach for the development of the family and community.

We implement programs with a community-based approach; such as health, hygiene, environment, greenery, sustainable agriculture, etc. Our areas of interest are sponsoring a child program,  advocacy for aged, water conservation, tree plantation, awareness on climate change, family counseling, hygiene camps, and the list is endless.

We started supporting girl children for school education, especially the semi orphan, orphan and poor girls. Later on children irrespective of gender, caste, color or religion were provided help as we realized that everyone should get minimum education for a better future otherwise there is a possibility to get attracted to  unsocial  activities.”

Additionally, “We have seen the plight of poor and uncared destitute aged living in the society. We felt that old age homes are the only solution for a large section of aged living in the villages or cities. They have been living with the community in their own environment from their childhood. We feel that they should be supported by keeping them in their own environment and plan to support the maximum number of elders with community-based support. Muthamma Vaddera was about 80 years old, and lived in slums near Amberpet. Her husband worked as a labour and died about 20  years ago. She was having one son and a daughter, who also passed away and she was all alone.

She lived near a temple in the area. The people in the area used to give her something to eat. She was suffering from joint pains, back pain and other health problems and felt alone and isolated. She was unable to work to earn a living. Sahara adopted Muthamma and many such elderly living in the community and is providing their monthly nutrition, toiletries, health care and making them to live happily in their own environment in the evening of their life. This would solve their sustenance problem and also psychological depression which most of them suffer as no one is caring them. They spend their day living within their community which they are used to since childhood.”

Sahara has also been working for change management with farmers for sustainable agriculture and food security by providing management consultancy in using local varieties of seeds, organic manurel like vermicompost, compost manure to enrich the soils and reduce the quantum of irrigated water which has become very precious in drought-affected areas. It has also conducted bio-diversity exhibitions in rural areas for promoting and protecting usage of old local varieties of seeds, farming practices and food security. But working for the underprivileged makes Narsing Rao feel better about himself and at the same time makes their lives better.

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