This week, we’re going to take you back to the very first visit to the Dangs District. We asked our Project Manager, Jayesh, to tell us the story.
Almost one year ago, I received a call from my good friend and former classmate, Mr. Vijaykumar Goel. He had just started a new programming site for Help A Child of India and knew I was working for Nanubhai. He wanted to know if there was a way our organizations could collaborate and invited us to make a site visit to the Dangs District.
In April, 2013, our team visited Dangs to explore tribal realities and developmental issues. In 2006 the Ministry of Panchayati Raj named Dang one of the country’s 250 most backward districts (out of a total of 640). It is one of the six districts in Gujarat currently receiving funds from the Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme (BRGF). After visiting area villages and speaking with students and residents, the poverty of living in the Dangs became very clear.
The Dangs District is a mountainous region that receives a high level of annual rainfall but suffers from drought nearly every year due to poor infrastructure and soil erosion. Because farmers can only plant and harvest one crop per year, entire families migrate for the sugarcane harvest in other areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra. They become trapped in horrific debt cycles that spans generations because children who migrate with their families are usually unable to attain even basic literacy.
In terms of education, Government and civil society organizations are actively working to increase the level of education but student results are not satisfied yet. There are so many reasons behind it. We have seen the real picture during our research on migrant sugar cutter laborers.
Our visit was successful and we learned a lot about the Dangs. Our team came home inspired to develop new initiatives and partnerships to the students of the Dangs District. Out of this inspiration came our plan to make the Dangs District our first scholarship expansion area. In fact, I have just returned a tour of Dangs high schools where I met with principals and students to introduce them to our Nanubhai Scholars program. Already, the principals are calling to request application forms for their students.