Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Haryana villagers turn entrepreneurs with the help of Delhi University business students

For 21-year-old Neeraj, life was just about cooking and attending to household chores after she finished her schooling in 2010. But her life changed when a group of Delhi University students adopted Ghamdhoj village, where Neeraj lives, and started working towards its economic and social development.

Students from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies adopted the village, situated around 90 km from Delhi, under a project called 'Garmoddhar'.
A group of 20 students from various courses started a host of programmes for the benefit of the villagers, including the inauguration of a library for the all-girl school in the village .

Neeraj is now running a beauty-parlour with the help of the DU students. 
"My parents were not ready but these students kept persuading them and finally they agreed. Now I run my own business and earn money," Neeraj said. 
The students said the villagers were initially reluctant to any change, but they became more accessible with the passage of time. 
"We met many NGOs working in Haryana and finally decided to work on Ghamdhoj. There is a huge disparity in income and social level among the people there. The majority is poor and involved in part-time labour.

"The village also has gender issues so we had to be careful while working with women. We persuaded to make the villagers understand the importance of letting the women study and be independent," Nandita, a member of the group, said.
Books were collected for the new library in the all-girl school.
"We collected over 1,000 books and started a library in the school. Now the girls can access many new books," Priyal, a first year student of management studies, said.
The group has a clear cut aim which is to uplift the economic standard of the entire village.
"We can achieve greater social integration when the people are economically poised at same level. Otherwise, the poor are usually from the socially outcast communities. We started a poultry farm with a woman. We are planning to start again with her and other women. We also started mushroom farming with some people," Nandita said.
The group is also working on sanitation awareness in the area by providing sanitary pads at a reduced price to women.
"We get sanitary pads at low cost from manufacturers and give it to a selected individuals who then sell it at a small profit margin," another member Sarthak said.

A project titled 'ENACTUS', which is being run by a foreign NGO, is also getting active participation from these students. 
"We get some funding from CSR activities of few companies but rest of the money is generated by the other income generating activities," management student Aantika said. 
The group is now planning to start boutiques, chocolate making units and installing solar generators to meet the electricity requirement of the villagers. 
The activities of the students have come in for praise from the village.
"These students have done a lot for our village. We do our bit to help them and they are doing their bit to help us," sarpanch Satpal Raghav said.