Our trip with Aham Bhumika: a life changing experience for us.

 Our trip with Aham Bhumika: a life changing experience for us
                                                                            By Ashutosh Baranwal

My incidental tryst with Aham Bhumika happened on twitter. I saw on twitter some requests for donating old/ new sarees, request for supporting a grain program. Out of interest I spoke with them. Few things which I instantly liked about Aham Bhumika were, it is run by people who have full time jobs and this NGO is just their way to give back to the society. They're not funded by the Government or any big organization and it’s purely an effort of some individuals.

Since long, I was looking for an NGO to associate with and Aham Bhumika seemed to me the ideal one, only problem there work area was Bhopal.

Few days later, as I was scouting for a holiday destination, it suddenly appeared to me why not goto Bhopal and meet these amazing people. Wife agreed, so we were all set. At that time, Aham Bhumika needed sarees for donating to Village women of their Grain School, we decided to collect some and take them along.

In the fascinating city of Bhopal, we meet Subrat and Yogesh from Aham Bhumika. I can very well say that they were the two most inspiring people I've ever meet. Running an NGO despite keeping onto their full time jobs is no ordinary feat. They travel to remotest villages on their bikes (these are places where you can't take a four wheeler). Armed with their grit resolution they goto these villages talk to villagers, assess their needs and with their limited means do the best to help.

Aham Bhumika has run and is running some very innovative campaigns. Some of their most interesting campaigns are-

• Providing clothes, sports equipments, story books to children studying in remote villages primary schools.

• A bicycle donation campaign has been successfully run by people of Aham Bhumika.

• The most interesting caimpaigns is of educating village women in Lieu of Grain. Their plan is to provide them some vocational training after completion of basic literacy.

We accompanied Subrat & Yogesh to two of the villages where they're running their programs. Not knowing, it would prove to be a life changing trip for us. We went to a village called Bodakho around 15 K.M. from Bhopal. This village is 4 K.M.s away from any kind of road. Aham Bhumika is working with a school of this village to help improve lives of the village children and villagers. Because of Aham Bhumika efforts this village school got an Aganwadi status from the government. Aganwadi status means now children between 0-5 and pregnant women get some food and nutritious items from the government. So deep rooted is our corruption that even that food is some time stolen and never reaches the Aganwadi.

We meet two amazing teachers at this school who should be called the heroes of India. They work on salay of Rs. 2500 per month and yet have unmatched dedication to their work. They come to the school braving the weather and almost non-existent roads ridding their own bikes spending their own money on Fuel. One thing which Subrat told me is only because of their effort 1 bright student from this village got admission into a Navodya Vidayalya. What Aham Bhumika is trying to do is make this school and other such schools a better experience for these village children. They provide these students with clothes, story books, are planning to design a toilet block so that more girls are encouraged to come to school and are planning to get these some very basic sports equipment. Some story books or some small sports equipment like football, flying disks or skipping ropes could be great value addition to lives of these children. Their whole idea is to motivate children for education.

A little money from us can help boost their campaigns and bring a change to several lives. Think about it a children story book purchased by you in 10-20 bucks might just help and motivate a child to read and study further.

A hundred rupee by you might get them rag carpets on the floor and save them from ice cold floors during chilly winters. Is there a better way to spend your money?

We distributed some biscuits and candies to the school children. Around 300 bucks from us could bring smile on 40 faces. I've never spent my money better.

A random thought appeared to my mind, expenditure on education of a single child studying in one of those posh schools can actually transform lives of around 100 children in such villages.

The next village we went to is called Mahabadiya. Thankfully the village is accessible by road and has electricity too. Most women in this village work as stone crushers. Since no parent is at home children hardly go to school, the elder one's look after the younger children. Aham Bhumika is doing amazing innovative work. They're teaching these women in lieu of grain. Each woman who comes to attend the classes is given 20 Kg of wheat, some rice and pulses each month. It has been just 10 days and all these women can now write their names and Hindi alphabets to some extent. Aham Bhumika has plans to provide them some vocational training and help them earn better in a more human way. A literate mother can definitely give her family a better life. They also have plans to replicate this model in other villages.

The best things about Aham Bhumika were the personal level involvement of its members. They knew all women students of their grain school by name. They almost have a personal bond with these women. Same holds true for the children of Bodakho, they knew all the children by their name and shared a personal bonding with them.

Moreover, I loved the main objective of Aham Bhumika which is to provide basic support to underprivileged and make them self sufficient.

While the rich of our country are shinning there are a huge number of Indians who're not shinning at all and in fact, are moving into worst conditions. Around 70% of our country people still live at an income of less than Rs. 20 per day. I don't know how much we can change but if we all can lend our little support to Mr. Subrat and Aham Bhumika, I'm sure we'll make it successful movement and transform some of these lives.

Let’s pledge our support to them.

P.S. It’s been a week since we got back to Delhi but we can’t get over our visits to Bodakho and Mahabadiya. The best thing about these places was I didn’t find people cribbing. They were doing toughest possible jobs and earning so less still were content. It was a remarkable change for us from ever cribbing middle class to meet these people. We’ve decided to visit these places at least 3-4 times a year.

The writer of the above guest post is  Ashutosh Baranwal.He alongwith his wife Mridula  paid a visit to village Bodakho & Mahabadia. Both husband & wife are IT Professional based in New Delhi.They had also bought  with them many sarees and salwar suits from Delhi to Bhopal for the women of "Grain School". We are obliged to both of them for the support. Ashutosh can be contacted via e mail.His e-mail id is -  maverick.mm@gmail.com and on Twitter @MainKhuda


Niharika said...

Congrats for the achievement!!!
Welcome to the Blog Mr Baranwal

HeadWay said...

Great work no doubt by a few exceptionally dedicated men. Also goes to show the power of the social media network. More small NGOs should be using this tool to garner support both in terms of physical volunteer and cash and kind donations.
Brilliant work Subrat ji and Yogesh ji. This country needs men of honor like you.

mlost said...

@Niharika thanks :)

mlost said...

@Headway They're doing amazing work for sure. They need our support and we should ensure it in abundance.


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