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Amla Ruia known as ‘Water Mother’ brought water to hundred villages in Rajasthan through her initiative. Here is her story.
While most of us take water for granted, we can never truly understand the hardships people face in using it to make a living. Farms in Rajasthan are usually dry because of the area’s sweltering heat and baring sunrays, yet with the help of one Indian activist, these farmers’ lives just got exceptionally easier.
Amla Ruia was motivated to support the villagers who suffered from the severe drought. She said, “I saw the government providing water tankers to meet the water needs of the villagers. But I thought to myself that this was not a sustainable solution…there must be a more permanent solution that could help the farmers in the long run,”
After seeing the struggle that the people of Rajasthan were going through, Amla had to take action. “Rajasthan farmers are among the poorest in the country. Using rain water harvesting technology to alleviate the situation seemed like a good choice. It was important to involve the local community and engage them to make our model more sustainable,” she said.
This is when the Aakar Charitable Trust came into the picture. She founded this organization to build check dams (i.e. small, temporary dams) for villages to provide water security. With these dams, water was able to be caught just like a large dam, but more cost efficiently. Her first success was in the village of Mandawar, where two check dams were constructed.
The reason the Trust is so affluent is because they get each community on board with the idea of building the dams, this creates, essentially, trust between the organization and the citizens. It starts with the organization’s field workers contacting the individuals and spreading awareness of the drought situation, and how their problems could be solved easily, no strings attached. After that, a location for the dam would be decided and there would be no looking back. By the next monsoon, the dam would be constructed and everyone would be happy, thanks to Amla and ACT.
The villages in Rajasthan have completely transformed, from being dry and torrid to prosperous and hydrated. Women who had to walk miles to fetch water can now enjoy the facility we all take for granted. This was just the beginning to Amla’s journey in helping these villages. Now, Aakar Charitable Trust has constructed 200 check dams in 100 villages of Rajasthan, and has helped over 2 lakh people who earn a combined income of 300 crore per year.
Amla has also helped in the villages’ economies through diminishing emigration. “There is less migration to the cities now. Earlier, no one was ready to get their daughters married to the men living in these dry villages. That is not a problem anymore,” says Amla.
Amla Ruia, the “Water Mother,” has not stopped her environment expedition with her team as they hope to expand their positive effect to other states (most dams have been constructed in Rajasthan and Maharashtra), bringing liquid gold to all those who need it.
Find out more on the Aakar Charitable Trust website!
Cover image via Wikipedia
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