Women Unite on International Women’s Day in Kolar

 By Reena Pillai

The International Women’s Day celebrations organized by United Way Bengaluru and corporate partner AMAT brought together nearly 200 beneficiaries under the Rural Development Program in Chikkanallaguttahalli, Kolar on 8th March 2017. On the occasion, 60 roof top rain water harvesting units, the first of its kind in Kolar district, was inaugurated by Deepa Shashidharan and Priya from AMAT, David Kumar from United Way Bengaluru and other representatives of our implementing partner agencies.

David, Senior Manager- Community Initiatives, UWBe inaugurates a roof top rain water harvesting unit

David Kumar, Senior Manager- Community Initiatives, UWBe said, “We have pioneered the installation of roof top rain water harvesting units in Kolar where people for a long time have been suffering from acute shortage of water. Each unit will capture upto 15,000 liters of water during the rainy season which can be stored upto a year without any fear of contamination. People can use this water for drinking and cooking especially in dire times. It is a low maintenance set-up and very convenient for the beneficiaries to use. “

The event commenced in the traditional style with the feeding of a goat followed by nearly 10 beneficiaries sharing their positive experiences with the immense support they had received in the last two years.

Deepa from AMAT and David from UWBe inaugurate the program by feeding a goat
Students supported under the Scholarship program gather for a memorable click

College students supported under the scholarship program gave entertaining cultural performances, while young students spoke on the positive impact of the new educational model introduced in 50 government schools. Tamarind parcels packaged by beneficiaries were distributed to the lead representatives of the 12 villages supported under United Way Bengaluru’s Rural Development Program.

Tamarind parcels produced by beneficiaries gifted to lead representatives of other villages

The programs supported under the Rural Development program are 1) Women empowerment program which covers sheep rearing, mini poultry farms, kitchen gardens, tailoring, tamarind processing and other sustainable micro enterprises ; 2) Financial support through scholarships to college going students; 3) Academic enhancement through motivating and mentoring students studying in government schools; 4) Roof Top Rain Water harvesting and 5) Safe drinking water units.

Table showing the total numbers of beneficiaries in Kolar under various programs

There was also a conscious decision taken to make the entire event eco-friendly and minimize the use of plastics. Earthen pots were used to drink water from, lunch was served on plates made from arecanut leaves and large brass containers were used to store drinking water.

Earthen pots for drinking water displayed on stage

Pushpa, a beneficiary who was supported under the scholarship program last year was also excited with the roof top harvesting unit in her house. She said, ” Earlier, it was quite difficult to get access to clean drinking water. We had to wait for three days, sometimes even upto a week for the tanker to come to our village. Then we had to stand in queue to collect the water and later carry the heavy pots home. We are so happy with the roof top harvesting units in our houses and we cannot thank UWBe and AMAT enough.”

The implementing partners for the Rural Development Program are Sikshana, TREES, Chilume, C&R and Samarthanam. The event concluded with a sumptuous meal and an engaging interaction with the beneficiaries.

Bhargavi from UWBe team interacts with Pushpa one of the beneficiaries

Coverage of the event in local media

Samyukta Karnataka
Vishwa Vani