Deoghar’s Tribal Women Ensure No One Goes Hungry in Lockdown

Deoghar’s women are helping empower others.

Updated22 May 2020, 02:01 PM IST
My Report
4 min read

Red is the colour of energy and courage, dynamism and passion. This symbolism comes true in the story of 70 tribal women from Deoghar, Jharkhand, draped in red saris carrying food packets in their hands for distribution in remote villages at these difficult times of COVID-19.

Mamta Bist, a resident of Deoghar, has emerged as a motivation for bringing together tribal women of Sankalp Women Federation for helping needy households with ration during the coronavirus lockdown. Working as a professional, Mamta has more than 14 years of experience in rural development. Mamta decided to unite tribal women leaders through phone calls and a WhatsApp group for social betterment.

Women Lead the Way

Sankalp Women Federation was formed on 14 March 2019 and its members exceed 1,200 tribal as well as non-tribal women members belonging to 36 villages of Deoghar District, Jharkhand.

Around 1,200 tribal as well as non-tribal women members are part of the group.
Around 1,200 tribal as well as non-tribal women members are part of the group.
(Photo Courtesy: Sankalp Women Federation)

The drive started with four women on 10 April where they decided to collect money and ration as voluntary donation from their respective village households. A resolution by every woman to inspire at least two other women led to a rapid spread of the cause among rural women members. This was the first time these women took such initiative towards helping those who were in dire need of food grains.

The women took the responsibility of listing villages with low economic status along with a list of beneficiaries after conducting rigorous discussions with respective village leaders.

The food packets containing rice, pulses, potatoes and soaps got distributed to over 45 families across 13 villages.

The main objective has been to provide social security and bring in economic development to disadvantageous rural women.

The Federation works as a readymade platform for efficient implementation of government schemes and development based opportunities, as well as empowering women as leaders and providing in-house alternate livelihood options for their income generation.

During the lockdown, they’ve helped feed several families. Sunita Kisku, the Director of Sankalp Women Federation says the success of ration distribution has been nothing short of a dream.

“The first few calls for help were failed efforts but eventually I added 18 women to this movement and it kept on growing. I am so happy to see the power of collective effort towards betterment of humanity.”

Satyashri, who donated for the first time, says,

“My husband works in Tamil Nadu and was not able to gather the required amount of ration in lockdown. Here I donated 15 kg of rice and there he received a help of 30 kg of ration as donation. I believe donation has a positive chain reaction in human life.”
Satyashri is all smiles after making a donation.
Satyashri is all smiles after making a donation.
(Photo Courtesy: Sankalp Women Federation)

Sunita and Satyashri are only alone in this conquest. The vision of these women is to spread this movement to all the 1,200 women members. They envisage to build a contingency fund and ration stock for supporting as many as possible.

Mamta along with this determinant team of women says that they have a long way to go and this act of kindness is just a beginning of something big to happen in future.

The people they have helped are testimony to these women’s efforts.

“I have got the help at the time of crisis when I was unable to procure ration due to my physical disability.”
Rupye Devi from Chapri Village
Rupye Devi receiving ration.
Rupye Devi receiving ration.
(Photo Courtesy: Sankalp Women Federation)

Maiko Marandi from Fatehpur concurs.

“I never expected that I would get help from a team which is beyond government operations at the time of crisis. I am happily surprised.”
Maiko Marandi receives ration.
Maiko Marandi receives ration.
(Photo Courtesy: Sankalp Women Federation)

It is also commendable that all social distancing norms are being adhered to.

Mamta (in red), guiding  women volunteers on ration distribution plan in several villages.
Mamta (in red), guiding women volunteers on ration distribution plan in several villages.
(Photo Courtesy: Sankalp Women Federation)

These unsung heroes are the real inspiration, they prove that good intent is the strongest driving force to provide a helping hand while money is just a medium.

(The author is a social worker and freelance writer. All 'My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)

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Published: 22 May 2020, 01:58 PM IST
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