The fact that any particular village in the outskirts of the metropolis, Delhi, is remote by comparison was put aside by the visit to Ghaghas in Mewat district of Haryana. The flamboyant sun shone as a fellow student from Delhi and I entered the village wondering if there was any possibility of a mobile signal there. The first surprise that struck us was the perfect functioning of our phones. We came to the village community center of the NGO, Sehgal Foundation, and heard a yoga expert addressing women on its benefits in the training hall. Village women often face physical discomfort doing their never-ending household chores. The yoga expert was so well-versed in the art, and shared such a holistic way of looking at life that he made me believe that exercise is just a subset of yoga. Yoga is as divine as heaven itself.
The village community center also houses a community radio station that was set up by the foundation in 2012. Alfaz-e-Mewat, literally translated as Voices of Mewat, broadcasts at FM 107.8 and reaches out to over 225 villages in Mewat. The first question that crossed my mind while at the radio station was, How often do we see inhabitants of a “remote” village as radio jockeys? The radio station employed six staff and connected with quite a number of villagers. The day we were there, the special guest was a lawyer who answered live calls in a radio show Kanoon ki baat. The advocate and two intellectuals from the village answered the calls with zeal and debated on the midday meal scheme in schools.
What followed next was our interaction with school students from neighboring villages, facilitated by Ms Sonia Chopra who works with the Communications team that manages operations of the station. During the interactive session, we discussed the implementation of the midday meal scheme and its inefficiency. Many of the students there were of the view that they had not been provided with adequate facilities by the school. However they believed that organizations like the Sehgal Foundation were making their lives better, and children of the lower class, especially girls, could, as a result, do what they aspire to do in life. For students from urban areas, like us, it’s hard to put ourselves in the shoes of these rural students and deal with situations such as water scarcity and girls missing school just to take care of their siblings or fetch water from far away. All in all, the visit was an eye opener, and I feel that these children are real examples of courage and dedication and a constant reminder to share what we possess in whichever small ways we can.
(This blog was written by Eshaan Minocha, a student of class 10 from Modern School, Barakhamba Road, Delhi, who engaged with Sehgal Foundation in a village visit.)