Amla Ruia has brought
life-giving water to parched villagers through her water harvesting
Her endeavour teaches children to care for Mother Earth and create such gardens when they come of age.
Thanks to that background she ploughed herself in social work at the first opportunity she got.
Amla says, “I believe that the two foremost issues in our country are water and education, hence, the Trust has taken up both these sectors seriously. It has set up highly replicable model schools from pre-primary to higher secondary in Ramgarh, Rajasthan imparting the finest education at minimum cost.
From 2000 to 2005 they built 200 Drinking Water Kunds (ancestral type) in which a total of one crore liters of pure natural drinking water from the rains is collected year after year in the remotest areas where no municipal water is available. Here the villagers contributed 25% of the total cost. Thus, they have proved to be sustainable.
To encourage mass scale Water harvesting by the villagers the trust organized ‘The Aakar Jal Puraskar’ of Rs. 1,00,000 which was given annually to the village that did the best water harvesting in Maharashtra from 2003 to 2006.
The Good News Regarding Check Dams – 2018
From 2006 to 2018 we have completed 317 check dams. The outcome is quite outstanding -- Direct benefit that means greatly enhanced life, well above poverty-line to 1,98,000 people in 182 villages. Indirect benefit to 2,85,000 people in 210 village. Total number of villages 392 and total number of people 4,82,900 people.
A total of 11 crores of sponsors money and 4.7 crores of villager’s contribution has been spent on this project up to now. The villagers are earning a net income of Rs. 500 crores year after year now that the project has matured. This will continue for generations to come will a little bit of up keep by the villagers themselves.
Thus, the Trust has been really successful in the field of Water Harvesting as its constructions have withstood the test of time and the villagers who had initially contributed 30 – 40% towards the construction, have started maintaining their structures which have taken them to a new level of prosperity and self sufficiency.
The following are a few of the benefits of the check dams –
10. Check dams are an answer to floods and drought. Bihar is prone to floods and so if sufficient number of check dams are built the floods will not happen
Seeing the fabulous returns of the check dams, Aakar Charitable Trust genuinely wants to popularize the concept of water harvesting, first, in India and then in the whole world because, as Ruia puts it, “This is the answer to numerous problems facing humanity in the present day.”
They have decided to scale up their project 3 times. The annual goal is to construct 90 check dams per year which is really very ambitious because it means completing one check dam every four days!!! They are however dependent on in flow of 6/7 crores of funds from like minded philanthropists.
In The Field Of Education
In the words of Amla Ruia--
‘’For primary education, I have joined hands with an NGO called Grammangal. They have developed a Teacher’s Training Program, which competes favorably with the very best Models practiced anywhere in the world. They have evolved 800 Teaching Aids, which help to develop every faculty of the child.
Thousands of school children are taking Nature trails through this garden. A wealth of information about water and Environmental issues and herbal plants is being imparted to them personally by me and my friend Smt. Rima Shet.
In 2015 the Sri Aurobindo Society has taken over the running of the garden and with the active support of Aakar Charitable Trust have once again revamped it and taken it to a new height of excellence.
Again, for Sri Aurobindo Society, Mumbai branch, another item called ‘The Cosmic Embrace” was presented on 17th Jan. 2009 at Nehru Centre, Worli. In this program I had played an active role in direction, script writing, making the sound tracks and the lyrics. It combined three items viz.
An important side-feature of this performance was the creation of 3 beautiful sound tracks on which the school children could perform in their cultural programs thus imbibing a wealth of spiritual which is otherwise not part of our education system.
At present the prime focus of Aakar charitable Trust is water harvesting by constructing check dams. We feel it is the need of the hour and sincerely appeal to all like-minded citizens to open their hearts and help us lift up our under privileged rural brethren to a new level of prosperity, dignity and economic self- sufficiency which is the birth-right of every individual in this country.’’
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