I was in Madhubani, Bihar when I got to know about the next project, I was allotted from March onwards. I was occupied in a rural immersion program at that time, so I didn’t follow much of the mailing conversations between my team members about this new initiative. At first, the project sounded wild and impractical so my interest was also not there in taking it forward. So what was it? Believe me! I couldn’t understand it until I had several meetings and discussions with my founders and other team mates. I was going to work upon something for next 4 months about which I had no idea.
The plan was to restructure my organization “Drishtee” by sending me and two others to rural areas of Mathura district. So, we were supposed to find 3 separate villages for us to stay for a period of 3 months. The idea was to stay with the community and make 3 different groups of people – farmers, women and youth. These three groups would carry forward the projects undertaken in future. Now, the wild element was that we couldn’t let villagers know about our mission of staying in the village. We were supposed to act as if we were here for our own understanding of village setup which would help us in future studies. This would help in cutting down any expectation of the community from us or from our organization. Hence we didn’t have to take our organisation’s name explicitly during our first interactions. The vision behind this top priority project was to make villagers take the ownership of their own development projects. It was realized after numerous projects in last 15 years that whenever the funds or man power are withdrawn from the community, the impact comes back to almost zero. It happens due to lack of natural leadership within the community which can take the impacts of any project forward without a fixed income.
It will be an achievement for me if you could get something about the project I was given after reading the above description. My first question was that who would let a stranger stay in his house for 3 months. I had not seen or heard even close to something like this before. Next doubt was to find people who would work without salary. Even if it was for their community’s development, I don’t imagine such selfless people without any hidden interests. The biggest concern was to act as a catalyst in bringing the change without even telling them that we were doing it as a part of some project.