We never thought we’d share a picture of fireworks, even if it is Diwali (festival of lights). And yet the celebration of this family is so real because their journey from darkness to light is so unreal!
Our one and a half years of effort bore fruit when just a month ago, nearly 80 indigenous families of the Irular community (traditionally snake/rat catchers) received pattas (titles) to small plots of land from the Government to build their homes collectively.
The picture shows a family living next to a garbage dump. Their livelihood is recycling from the dump. And their new plot of land is 20 miles away.
The day they received the pattas, the families shifted to the new place Irembedu, so that they can take possession of the land. They requested AID to provide dal-rice (basic rations) for a few months, and materials for construction of traditional huts. All of which need about $250/family.
Families spent their first night in the new place in darkness with just flash lights, cooking on stones, and mosquito nets for sleeping on the barren land. Next day a truck arrived providing bamboos and construction material. Soon traditional homes started sprouting. The families built 50 homes in a couple of weeks.
A week later the rains came and homes got flooded with water. The agony of sleeping in darkness in the waters was relieved when a couple of days later, AID provided for machinery to dig a canal to take away rain waters. But they were still in darkness — for their plots are isolated from the rest of the village and the government has not provided any poles/permission to take the electricity to them.
AID-India’s field workers insisted that the families should have lights by Diwali, just days away.
We rushed solar panels for street and home lighting, Today on Diwali they have lights in their homes, even if it be just a modest bulb.
We wish you a happy Diwali!!
$250 helps the rehabilitation of a family. Please contribute to AID’s All India Relief Fund.
These families have just begun their journey. They have to build rapport with the rest of the village. They have to find livelihoods locally so they can stand on their own feet. This will take time. AID-India plans to start an education program for the children.