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JOY OF GIVING

Village Adoption for Sustainable Development by MD 323

“Act on the educated young men, bring them together and organize them. Great things can be done by great sacrifices only.” Acting on the advice of Swami Vivekananda, Professor Ramesh Ohol from Lions Club of Satara United (District 323D1), Satara introduced his students to the humanitarian service being rendered by Lions Clubs across the world. Once they understood the vision and mission of the largest service organization in the world, the students were eager to join the family of Lions and serve their communities. This was how the Leo Club of Satara, came into being with 58 members.

To channelize the energy of youth in the right direction, Lions Club of Satara United, decided to adopt the Aawadwadi village, which is 6 kms away from Satara city, along with the Leo Club of Satara. Despite its proximity to the city, the village was sadly neglected. After several talks with the Gram Panchayat and Sarpanch-mukhiya of the village, an adoption plan was designed. As a permanent project, the Aawadwadi village has been adopted for five years during which time the Lions, Leos and villagers will work jointly to carry out sustainable development and need-based activities here.

The first activity conducted in the adopted village was an eye screening camp for villagers under the banner of Leo Club of Satara. While some villagers were provided free spectacles, others were referred to the Lions NAB-Eye Hospital, Satara, for free cataract surgeries.

One of the biggest challenges for the village was water scarcity during summers. Agriculture being the primary occupation for the villagers, the farming community largely relied on rain water. Despite having a brook running down the hills across the village, which would begin to flood during the monsoons, there was no provision to conserve the excess water. This would flow away and was invariably lost. It was therefore necessary to focus on water conservation and rainwater harvesting by taking up the following steps:

  1. » Building a temporary rock and soil dam - bandhara so that water would get percolated in the soil and increase the groundwater tables
  2. » Providing drinking water through an over-head tank. Previously water was lifted from an old well, which would dry up in summers
  3. » Removing the silt from the small well which was close to the big well. This was in response to the observation that underground water percolation rate was very low. The Leos along with a few villagers removed the silt and dirt from the well, so that the rainwater would fill the well and ultimately increase the ground water level. This simple action proved to be highly successful, as the well was filled to brim with the very first rain!
  4. » Digging of trenches at the foothills and artificial tanks with the help of the irrigation and water conservation department CCT. This helped in increasing groundwater levels and excess water was used for agriculture
  5. » Excavating an artificial water tank and using a plastic mulching paper technique to avoid water percolation. This technique helped in increasing water storage and enabling its utilization as and when required

Additionally, the Lions Club of Satara United along with the Leo Club of Satara, organized a blood type screening camp for the students of the Zilla Parishad school and identified the blood type of all 93 students studying here. Various saplings have also been planted on the roadsides of the village to provide shade and comfort in future.

Kudos to Professor Ramesh Ohol, members of Lions Club of Satara United and Leo Club of Satara for their dedication and selfless service.

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