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Roof for roofless: Harda-based NGO starts a pre-monsoon campaign for tribal families

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Senior Correspondent

BHOPAL: Concerned over the fact that numerous tribal families across the state and country will not be in a position to get their kutcha roof repaired before monsoon due to COVID-19 induced economic crisis and thus face serious challenges during rainy season, a Harda-based NGO has launched a campaign of getting roofs of such underprivileged tribal families repaired.

The organization, Synergy Sansthan, which works on various issues through empowerment of youth has launched the campaign ‘1000 for 1 roof’, wherein it is seeking public support of Rs 1000 per house to repair or thatch about 2000 kutcha houses of tribal families in Harda district.

However, with knowledge that several other families across the state and country will require similar support for repair of their houses, the organization has called upon the state and central governments to take initiative in this direction. It has also called upon individuals and organizations to help at their level.

“According to the census of 2011, there are 2.14 crore tribal families in the country and 31.22 lakh in Madhya Pradesh. In Harda alone, there are about 30,000 tribal families. Our field experiences suggest that around 20% families live in houses with temporary roofs that need repair or replacement before onset of rainy season every year,” Vimal Jat of Synergy Sansthan says.

He adds that this year, due to COVID-19 lockdown situation, underprivileged people are facing problems of even arranging for their food and this situation repairing or replacing roofs will be impossible for many of them.

“We have decided to help 2000 families in Hards with support of people, but this will not be enough and we appeal to the governments to take such concrete steps in this direction,” Jat says.

During the lockdown, the Synergy Sansthan came ahead for relief work with some unique initiatives. Apart from arranging ration kits for 1000 families, the organization also set up a COVID-19 helpline of about 18 youth volunteers to create awareness and provide authentic and scientific information about the pandemic to the people.

Vishnu Jaiswal of the organization said that they felt that people were very scared of the disease and were being deceived by fake spiritual healers and quacks.

“So we compiled a list of 18 volunteers of the organization to be circulated in the community. The list included names, addresses and phone numbers of the volunteers and message was circulated that people could approach these volunteers with their problems and help could be sought with any hesitation.

“We were told that occult practitioners and quacks had started holding gatherings in the villages and treatments based on cow-dung and cow-urine were being offered. We decided to equip all volunteers with scientific and authentic knowledge about the pandemic. For this help was sought from doctors and other sources. Also all 18 volunteers completed the World Health Organisation’s online course on COVID-19 pandemic and armed with this knowledge we decided to go to the field. Then we also launched our helpline number, through which we could help many people allay their apprehensions and misconceptions about the disease. Also they got information about prevention, treatment and care for the infection,” Jaiswal says.