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Rajasthan is a state situated in the north western part of India. The western boundary of the state is the sensitive part of India-Pakistan international boundary covering four districts of Barmer, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Ganganagar. The land of vibrant colors, known for its valiance and chivalry of the Maharana clan, Rajasthan has an unusual diversity in all its forms - customs, culture, costumes, dialects, cuisine and physiographic. The panoramic outlook of the state is simply mesmerizing.

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Fishery Meeting
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Livelyhood Fishery Programme
 

With the lofty hills of Aravali - one of the oldest mountain ranges of the world and the golden sand dunes of the great Indian desert-the only one of the sub-continent. No other region in the country is conconglomeration of so many paradoxes and endowed with invincible forts, magnificent palaces, havelis, rich culture and heritage, natural beauty and natural resources. The beautiful pink city of Jaipur which is also the capital of Rajasthan is a treasure trove of arts and crafts, be it gemstones, paintings or hand - printed textiles, each one is truly a collectors delight. Amer, which is near the world’s biggest canon in the fort of Jaigadh. The picturesque city of lakes, Udaipur (150 km. from project area) and the most breath taking hill station Mount Abu (further 120 km. from Udaipur) are Banswara’s (where the project is operating) two privileged neighbors which is on every tourist’s map.

Though being a permanent bastion of Indian culture and spirituality Banswara has a totally different story to tell. On the southernmost tip of Rajasthan, sharing its orders with the states of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh is the district of Banswara. It is the most backward district in the state and especially the villages where the project is operating are remote and in the absolute interiors. Most of these villages are not accessible during the mansions, which is four months of the year. The project area consists of 186 villages in Garhi and Anandpuri block of Banswara District. The project office which was in Garhi has been shifted to the District Headquarter, Banswara.

Banswara is a predominately a tribal area with over 75 % of its population belonging to the Bhil Bagri tribe. They speak a dialect called Bagri which is a mixture of Guajarati and Mewari. The Bhil Baghdis are medium to small built and have a dark complexion with flat features where as in comparison a conventional Rajasthan is big built with sharp face features. There is an anthropological belief that this tribe could have a Mongolian ancestral background immigrating into this area in the third century. Continuing to be nomads since then, they settled down sometimes during the turn of this century. Though the tribe has stopped moving from place to place the pecularity of this tribe is each family has a house only on a hilltop, forming scattered villages while utilizing the flat land in-between for agriculture. This form of housing along with the rugged nature of the terrain contribute to his lifestyle at the same time making the provision of infrastructure difficult and expensive as in cases such as health centre, veterinary service center, schools and road networks. The density of population is under 200 per sq. k.m. and for this reason the government has not been able to provide the necessary facilities in the area.

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Flour Mill Provided By ASSEFA
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Women SHG Meeting
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SHG Meeting
     
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SHG Recovery Meeting
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Audit SHG
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SHG Meeting

The tribal of this area witnessed a unique reformation in 1908 with the BHAGAT MOVEMENT instigated by religious leader Guru Govind (not the Sikh spiritual leader) who preached love, peace, and brotherhood while propagating vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol and evils of dowry. Guru Govind was also known to be a freedom fighter and a meeting chaired by him under a religious pretext fell target to a massacre by the British army. The incident occurred on the local historian records a devastating figure of over 1500 deaths and over 2000 wounded. The incident further activated the movement .Even today traces of that movement are found in most villages and their mode of greeting is Jai Guru, a tribute to Guru Govind.

Religiously the Bhil Baghdi tribe believes in their own God called Bawsi and their temple Known as Dhunu besides being of late somewhat influenced by Hinduism. They believe that the ghosts of their ancestors decide their fate and future on a full moon night in October known as Chaudas which is one of their main festivals.

The Bhil Baghdi is habitually bigamous. It is common for a man to have two wives or more. The number of wives a man has, the higher is his standing in society. Contrary to the Indian custom of dowry, where a girl’s father has to pay an amount to the boy’s family for marriage of their daughter, the Bhil Baghdi male has to pay a price to fetch a wife. The price of a girl depends on her capacity to work and her other abilities.

The staple diet of the area is Maize Rotis(a type of bread) with Chilly Chutney (a kind of spicy dip). It is only on festive occasions that pulses and vegetables are included in the meal. Malnutrition is the order of the day and the area is rampant with Tuberculoses. The project area survey shows the number of suspected cases is above 15%. Majority of them do not even want to admit the fact that they suffer from this disease, forget getting themselves treated. This is mainly due to the social stigma attached to the diseases. The child mortality rate in the area is 122 for every 1000.

The devastation of forests has led to lowering of the water table, washed away the fertile top soil as a result unbalancing the economic system resulting in loss of forest produce on which the tribal once survived in the pre-independence era.
87.6%of the families (consisting of 7.3 members at an average) have a land holding of less than 1ha.which combines both leveled as well as low yielding sloppy land. The farmer has an extremely low risk taking capacity, cannot adopt modern technology.

Rainfall is diminishing and whatever precipitation that dose take place, flows into the another predicament is the another predicament is the recurring droughts which ultimately lead to famine, nallas and rivers due to shortage of watershed management. Rajasthan conjures the image of a desert and if immediate action is not taken to reinforce this area, we are likely to witness a rocky desert in the next decade.

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Milk Product "Mawa" Making By a Women
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Life Irrigation Provided By ASSEFA
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Blacksmith Making Agriculture Equipments
     
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Women's Making Banboo Basket
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Tokri Making Project provided by SMBT Guna
 

The Bhil Baghdi is habitually bigamous. It is common for a man to have two wives or more. The number of wives a man has, the higher is his standing in society. Contrary to the Indian custom of dowry, where a girl’s father has to pay an amount to the boy’s family for marriage of their daughter, the Bhil Baghdi male has to pay a price to fetch a wife. The price of a girl depends on her capacity to work and her other abilities.

The staple diet of the area is Maize Rotis(a type of bread) with Chilly Chutney (a kind of spicy dip). It is only on festive occasions that pulses and vegetables are included in the meal. Malnutrition is the order of the day and the area is rampant with Tuberculoses. The project area survey shows the number of suspected cases is above 15%. Majority of them do not even want to admit the fact that they suffer from this disease, forget getting themselves treated. This is mainly due to the social stigma attached to the diseases. The child mortality rate in the area is 122 for every 1000.

The devastation of forests has led to lowering of the water table, washed away the fertile top soil as a result unbalancing the economic system resulting in loss of forest produce on which the tribal once survived in the pre-independence era.
87.6%of the families (consisting of 7.3 members at an average) have a land holding of less than 1ha.which combines both leveled as well as low yielding sloppy land. The farmer has an extremely low risk taking capacity, cannot adopt modern technology.

Rainfall is diminishing and whatever precipitation that dose take place, flows into the another predicament is the another predicament is the recurring droughts which ultimately lead to famine, nallas and rivers due to shortage of watershed management. Rajasthan conjures the image of a desert and if immediate action is not taken to reinforce this area, we are likely to witness a rocky desert in the next decade.

The burgeoning rate of population growth, 31% in 1981-91 decade against a national average of 24% is another disturbing factor in context with the low land holdings. Livestock is of poor quality with extremely low milk yielding capabilities and maintained purely for their dung value. Though the livestock population is comparatively high there is insufficient pasture land and as a result starved cattle.

Avenues to develop resources for self-income generation remain unexplored and totally mismanaged if at all mobilized. Lack of local employment leaves the tribal with no alternative but to migrate for 7 months of the year (November to February and April to June) along with all working hands in the family.

Total mismanagement of resources and low productivity on all fronts lead to a chronically deficit budget and an unfavorable balance of payment in the tribal relationship with the local Baniya (trader/moneylender). This is the Baniya’s two prong attack on the tribal, encouraging him to take loans at exorbitant interests and later compelling him to sell his produce at lower than market rates.

Based on experience, interaction with the community, school mapping and resource mapping certain issues have been identified and simultaneously the project has been operating with objectives that have been set considering the needs of the area.

. Unfriendly environment due to the ruthless ecocide in the area.
. Poor social status of women due to economic dependences.
. Low agriculture production as a result of low land holding, unscientific practices land and water resources.
. Low animal based production due to lack of fodder and mismanaged resources.
. No alternative income / employment generating sources resulting in mass migration by women.
. Highly exploitative marketing sources resulting in losses on both count of rate a weight.
. A chronically deficit budget leading to a money lender dictated economy.
. Burgeoning population growth. Low literacy rate.
. Undeveloped human resources.
. Inadequate government infrastructure for Education mainly due to scattered inhabitation.
. Poor functioning of government schools.
. Inadequate government infrastructure for health, again  mainly due to  scattered  inhabitation resulting  in neglect if  mother and  child  health care and promotion of Witch craft by witch doctors.
. Malnutrition children and pregnant mothers due to unavailability of required nutrients in daily food.
The Teachers are youth of the same village who have a minimum qualification of class XII pass. These have been intensively trained to become teachers. These trainings are an ongoing process to increase the efficiency of the teachers and to ensure the quality of education imparted.

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Papad Machine Provided By ASSEFA

 

The community participation in all activities concerned to education is simply incredible . For every school there is a Parent Teachers Association (PTA) Which looks into the day to day affairs of the school, purchases the nutritional food material and checks its distribution, supervises the quality of the education and the efficiency of the teaching staff . The PTA organizes a meeting every month in which a representative of the project is invited and matters related to the school are discussed. The PTA looks into matters such as total enrollment of all children in the village especially all girl children.

The teacher is answerable to the PTA.

In its third year the project has every reason to be satisfied with its performance.

ASSEFA start work Integrated Rural Development Programme for Socio and Economic sustainability in this concern, we have implemented many schemes under Agriculture, Live Stock, Self Employment and Rural Industries, Forestry & Energy Development, Community Development, Health, Education, Infrastructure etc.

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