Sewa Sandesh September 2014
SEVA BHARATI EXTENDS HELPING HAND TO J&K FLOOD VICTIMS
The Sewa Bharati organisation extended its helping hand in flood-hit Jammu & Kashmir regions. Hundreds of Karyakartas worked day & night to rescue thousands of people trapped, arranged the last rites of the dead, built temporary shelters for the homeless, distributed blankets & warm clothes, arranged langars, milk for children, medical aid etc. Seva Bharti has appealed for generous donations for alleviating the sufferings and assist the relief and rehab work. For more information,firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Sewa International Bharat is also working with Jammu Kashmir Sahayata Samiti for providing relief and rehab to the flood affected. For more info, contact:firstname.lastname@example.org
SWAYAMSEVAKS COLLECT OLD NEWSPAPERS TO HELP ORPHANAGE
Sewa Vibhag of RSS in Banashankari under Bengaluru organised an old newspapers collection drive as part of the Sewa Sanghik onAugust 31. The swayamsevaks reached out to individual houses in Banashankari, Padmanabhanagar, JP Nagar and other nearby areas and collected old newspapers from them. The money collected by selling the newspapers would be used for education and food expenses of the children staying in an orphanage called ‘NELE’. Nele is a project of Hindu Seva Pratishthana and has six centres across Bengaluru city. This provides free shelter, food and education for destitute children. People received the drive very well and appreciated the effort. A total of 1,000 kg old newspapers were collected. About 1,000 swayamsevaks participated in the drive for two hours.
EKAL WINS IMPACT CONTEST-2014
Harvard University conducts a Model United Nations Programme (HMUN) each year in Hyderabad. It announced “Impact Contest-2014” in which participating delegates were allowed to nominate an NGO of their choice, which works towards the UN Millennium development goals. They were asked to prepare a three-minute video for a campaign to support the NGO. The NGO whose video has the most online popularity was to receive an award from them. The fund collected by HMUN India from their charity initiative this year was to be awarded to the winner. A youth member of the Ekal, Shyam Sriram, represented EKAL Vidyalaya. Shyam visited Amrakavas village at Alwar, Rajasthan to capture the good work being done by EKAL team and presented his video. The nomination was accepted and the campaign was on for about 20 days. The participants were judged on few factors—legitimacy of the organisation, the online popularity and their impact towards their communities. Finally, Ekal Vidyalaya won the competition.
SWAYAMSEVAKS IN ACTION IN VADODARA FLOODS
The alarming Vishwamitri River brimmed over in Vadodara, leaving several areas of the city in waist-deep water on September 10. Over 20,000 persons were evacuated to safer locations across the district due to the flash floods. In Vadodara city, 12,761 were moved to safer areas while 9,528 from villages were relocated.
The water released from Ajwa reservoir in early hours of September 10 lead to flooding in Vishwamitri and the water level of 34 feet. 15-20 per cent of the city was waterlogged due to the floods when level of water reached 34 feet.
SEWA USA – HOUSTON CHAPTER
The organisation is conducting multitude of activities, especially for Bhutanese refugees. Sewing and tailoring classes have been moving along smoothly due to the huge effort of the dedicated volunteers. Sewing classes are intended to help students develop their sewing skills and sell their products for profit. Computer Literacy Classes were launched on 8th July which help refugees develop their computer literacy skills that are important for their self-empowerment. Children’s activities have been a huge hit among the children living in Los Arcos. Activities include arts and crafts, games, sing-alongs, etc.
Sewa partnered with Texas Children’s Hospital to provide free immunizations for children living at the Los Arcos apartments. Get Inspired Houston (GIH) interns began holding weekly health camps in the Los Arcos apartment on Thursday, July 10th. In these health camps, GIH interns discuss various health topics with the aim of improving health within the community. These topics include nutrition and hygiene, women’s health, and tobacco.
HARVESTING FOR SURVIVAL
India is blessed with adequate rainfall as a whole, yet there are large swathes of dry and drought prone areas. Per capita availability of water is on the fast decline because of burgeoning population. Agriculture is said to be the single largest consumer of water, but industrial demand now shows the fastest growth. A disturbing fact about ground water is that it is increasingly getting polluted due to access use of pesticides in the fields. Bore wells and tube wells are either silting up, getting short of water or are drawing polluted water. Private purchase of water from tankers is unreliable in quality and also is expensive.
In this situation it makes ecological and financial sense not to waste the rain water available in large quantity on our roofs. Dr PC Jain of Udaipur realised this fact about two decades back and started persuading people to save rain water. Because of his efforts over 1,400 families of the city including various institutions like the Railways, medical college, etc conserve rain water. This system uses a building’s rooftop as a catchment area. After the rain falls, the water is channeled through pipe directly to the bore well or the tube well. A 1,000 square ft of roof area with one cm rain fall yields 1,000 litre of water in an average year of rain. This reveals the potential in rainwater harvesting.
Dr Jain clicked the idea around 1990 when he read a news item in a leading English daily. The news was from Dewas (Madhya Pradesh), where the people had decided to do something about their chronic water shortage. The entire city embarked on a massive rainwater harvesting programme and had phenomenal success in meeting their water needs and recharging their severely depleted groundwater table. Inspired with it Dr Jain started the work in Udaipur, thus becoming an unusual doctor. He encouraged all kinds of local citizens to install rainwater systems in their homes, offices, schools and community buildings. Interestingly, his wife, Dr Manju Jain, a homeopath, is his close associate in this endeavour.
Dewas water filter that Dr Jain has adopted enjoys the backing of Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) also. When asked how he started the work he says, “First I installed the system in my own house. It not only improved the water level but also bettered the taste of water. Buoyed over it I approached the Medical College to adopt it. But there were two opinions there on it. But the laboratory results silenced all the critics. Then I spoke to my friends, relatives and the people of the city at large. Meanwhile, the Railways also agreed to install the system to recharge an old well at Rana Pratap Railway Station.” Installation of the system in one house costs about Rs 10,000. If one installs it in the under construction house the cost reduces to just Rs 5,000.
The wonder that Dr PC Jain does
- 1,400 families in Udaipur opt for roof top water harvesting
- System costs Rs 10,000 in old buildings and just Rs 5,000 in under construction houses
- Conducts street plays, bhajans, songs, presentations in conferences, congregations in clubs to motivate people
- Both husband and wife dedicated to the cause
- De-addicted 3,500 people of alcohol, tobacoo, heroin, opium, etc.
Why Rainwater harvesting is need of the hour?
- >li>Provides supplemental water for the city requirement
- Increases soil moisture levels for greenery
- Mitigates flooding and improves the quality of groundwater
- Reduces demand on bore wells/tube wells enabling ground water levels to be sustained
Rajasthan has a rich tradition of rain water harvesting since ancient time. Majority of the old houses used to have water tanks known as ‘tankas’ in local parlance. The water stored in ‘tankas’ was used throughout the year. The old houses with ‘tankas’, in Jodhpur and in the capital city of Jaipur can be seen even today and they are very much in use. In Jaipur, it is known as chauka system. Unfortunately, the new generations have ignored this method. But now they realise the old system was better.
Dr Jain is committed to the cause so much that he conducts different activities to educate the people—perform street plays, organise bhajans and songs, conducts presentations in conferences, congregations in clubs and meetings with local people. “We can produce anything in the labs but not the water. Therefore the only option is to save it today for tomorrow,” he says lamenting that he has so far spent about Rs 80,000 on writing to different authorities but the response has been very poor. But he is satisfied with the outcome of his efforts in Udaipur. All the families who opted for it witnessed miraculous results both in quality of water and in water level. A salty well turned sweet. Similarly, a girls’ hostel, which used to spend Rs 3.65 lakh per year on water tankers, saves this amount every year after installing this system.
According to CGWB, hardly 10 per cent of the rainwater goes into the land and rest flows through the drains. It is because of the concrete roads, streets and the sewage system. The access drawing of ground water has adversely damaged the quality of the water. “Rain water has the capacity to maintain this balance,” Dr Jain adds.
Experts say India can save 85 billion cubic meter water through harvesting rain water alone, which is more than the water flows in certain rivers like Krishna (78.12 billion cubic meter), Kavery (21) Mahanadi (66), Narmada (45 billion cubic meters), etc. The Central Ground Water Board has identified 9,41,541 sq. meter area in the country where ground water recharge system can be adopted on large scale. But this work has to be done by the State governments and not by the Centre. The governments of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra have taken some effective steps in this regard. In Tamil Nadu alone it proved excellent and many states took it as role model. Since its implementation, Chennai saw a 50 per cent rise in water level in five years and the water quality significantly improved. Officially, rooftop rainwater harvesting systems are now mandatory for new buildings in 18 of the country’s 28 states and four of the seven Union Territories. But the poor implementation draws poor results. Dr PC Jain’s initiative is eye opener for all of us. Instead of erying for water pollution or scarcity, we should take steps to recharge the ground water level if we wish to keep the lifeline of our future generations functioning.
SWAYAMSEVAKS HELP BUS VICTIMS
On August 31, a private bus carrying 78 devotees from Kolkata unexpectedly caught fire at Thirupullanai, near Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu early morning at around 1 am. The devotees were moving towards Kanyakumari after having darshan of Lord Ramanathaswamy at Ramesh-waram. Five persons died on the spot and five were injured and hospitalised. On hearing the news, the swayamsevaks from Ramanathapuram district rushed to the spot. Shri Aadalarasan, Prant Karyavah, along with swayamsevaks coordinated the relief activity.
SWAYAMSEVAKS CLEAN HEBBAL FLY OVER SURROUNDINGS IN BENGALURU
The Sewa Vibhag of the RSS in Bengaluru organised ‘SewaSanghik’ on August 31 near Hebbal Fly Over. Nearly 259 swayamsevaks along with 50 BBMP workers cleaned the surroundings. They also cleaned areas near railway track and the nearby temples. Shri Krishnamurthy, RSS MahanagarSewa Pramukh requested the public, street merchants and others to maintain cleanliness at their surroundings. BBMP Yelahanka Commissioner Virupaksha Mysore, BBMP Member Ashwattha Narayan Gouda, Dr Jayaprakash, RSS Bengaluru Mahanagar Sah Karyavah and others were also present during the Sewa Sanghik.