With much debate going on today about water scarcity and conservation, a small group of students of a government school in Indragarh, a village in Alwar, decided to engage their community in the process of water conservation. These students believed that it was their inane responsibility to take action and secure their own future. Most of the students were girls, the worst affected by water scarcity. There was a shortage of drinking water in schools, and of water in toilets, which eventually made these impossible to use. A lot of girl-students had to drop out of school because of lack of water resources.
Tired of having to choose between education and health, the students decided to take matters into their own hands. Sehgal Foundation’s initiative, Transform Lives, came as a boon to them. Under the project, proper rain water harvesting systems were installed with connections to drinking water, and toilets. Digital Literacy and Life Skills Education classes were held, which gave the students an opportunity to learn computers, internet, governance and life skills. Through the classes, the students became more confident and understood the scope of the internet. Feeling empowered, they set through a journey of exploration on the internet about their biggest problem – water scarcity. They learnt how water scarcity was a global phenomenon, and how innovative techniques, in addition to advocacy, was helping in tackling the problem at hand. In order to contribute to the cause, understanding the limitation of resources and avenues, the students decided to take up Expressive Art as a tool to bring-about whatever limited change they could within their community.
The students collectively decided to showcase a street play on the importance of water conservation in their village. They went to their Digital Literacy Instructor for help, who guided them through the entire process.
The students gathered all their community members through door to door mobilization and performed a street play. Government school teachers were also extremely supportive of the students, and the cause they were championing. Having successfully spread the message on water conservation and literacy, the entire village together took an oath to conserve water, on their own, within their own capacity.
Having seen the impact the street play had on the community members, the school authorities decided that this had to be replicated in other villages as well. Upon the school’s request, the students also then performed the street play for a near-by village, Moreda, and a similar impact was seen there.
This little initiative taken by the students had a profound effect on the community members. However, this did not stop here. News spread fast. The students enrolled in digital literacy in Dholidhoop village, about 20 kilometers away from Indragarh, soon found out about the initiative. Having faced similar issues in their own villages and lives, they too decided to replicate the same in their village. They were able to mobilize about hundred community members to come and watch them perform. The community members were inspired to say the least. The parents of the students felt proud of the initiative taken up by the students and vowed to support them throughout. The entire village got together to take an oath to conserve water in their villages.