RDT has been working with Chenchu tribals in the Nallamala forest areas around Srisailam since 2009. The drinking water situation and sanitation was very poor in the tribal hamlets both in the interior forest as well as in the plains around the forest. A special health mission was the need of the hour. A team of health organizers was first sent to provide necessary health awareness and basic primary health care in the ‘chenchu gudems’. A batch of literate young women was trained as community health workers to care for children and mothers. However, the non-availability of doctors in and around the forest area was badly felt. Finally in 2015, RDT started a mini hospital at Mannanur in Achampeta area in Nagar Kurnool district of Telangana state. But still, people had to travel long distances to come to the hospital. We needed to go to the homes of the people. Therefore, a mobile clinic was also started soon after. The mobile clinic has a doctor, nurses and medicines.
Dr. Saifulla khan and Dr. Ayesha work in mini hospital and Dr. Khuddoos works for the mobile clinic. Some patients who availed the services of both the hospital and the mobile clinic have this to say:
“My name is Nanu naik. I am 69. My wife died long ago and I am living alone. I did not even know that I was a diabetic until I had a wound in my leg. It became very painful and some people frightened me that my leg will be amputated. Then I came to know about Mannanur hospital and went there. They treated me for two months. Now my wound has disappeared and I am alright.”
“I am Pothamma from Maddimadugu village. One day, as I was hunting, two arrows pierced into my body, one into my stomach and one into my thigh. I fell unconscious and when I opened my eyes I was in the hospital. The doctors gave me medicines and injections immediately. Later they also did a surgery on me to remove the arrows. I am damn lucky to be still alive.”
“I am Lingamma aged 26. I come from Appapur penta. I was pregnant and did not go to any hospital until time came for me to deliver the baby. That is when I first saw Mannanur hospital. I had a normal delivery and a female baby weighing 2.5kgs. I was kept in the hospital for 2 more days and received very good care before I went home.”
“I am Dr. Khuddoos, who work in the mobile clinic. The chenchus in and around Nallamala forest have to travel long distances and spend a lot of money when they are sick. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that we go to them. Whenever we go to a ‘gudem’ or ‘penta’ (Telugu names for tribal hamlets), we do blood investigations for all who are sick. We diagnosis the disease then and there and give them necessary medicines. We take the more seriously sick persons to Mannanur hospital for further treatment. In the last one year, our mobile clinic has served 6621 adults and 2603 children. More than the numbers, it gives me great satisfaction to go to their doorstep and rescue them in their hour of need.”
RDT has been sending promising talented young men and women to colleges of music and dance for the last 10 years. Some studied vocal music and some mrudangam. There were also two Bharata Natyam students. But no one tried Ghatam, a Karnatic classical percussion instrument until Meesala Nagaraju came on the scene. Nagaraju is from Kesepalli village in Narpala Mandal of Anantapur district. His parents were agricultural labourers. When he joined Sri Venkateswara College of music and dance in Tirupathi, he too was thinking of learning mrudangam like many of his friends. But his gurus in RDT and in the college encouraged him to go for this special instrument. Ghatam artistes are a rare breed nowadays. Mr. Ushtnam Raja Rao, his Ghatam master not only taught him the art in the college but also took him to his concerts to Chennai, Hyderabad, Tirupathi and Kerala. Soon enough Nagaraju became an expert Ghatam player. As one of the very few Ghatam players around and an expert at that, Nagaraju is giving many concerts with many esteemed co artistes. His parents are proud and delighted. Calling from Tirupathi, Nagaraju expressed his joy not only about his success but also for being a great support to his once poor parents.
– The story of 254 helpless migrant families in Nellore city
`Forty years ago, 254 families migrated from Tamil Nadu to Nellore city. Nowhere to go, they settled in a cemetery. They made their tents between graves. Some of them belonged to scheduled castes and tribes and others to backward communities. They did variety of jobs for their living like rickshaw pulling, rag picking, digging pits and other odd jobs. As they lived in obvious unhygienic conditions, they and their children fell sick very often. There were deaths of children and young women. One day a police officer came to the cemetery for a funeral. He saw children playing with skulls and bones. He was moved. He enrolled those children in a government residential school. But soon they ran away from there. In 2016, the then District Collector visited them and saw their plight. She decided to look for a place where new house sites can be allotted to them. Having done that, she requested RDT to construct houses for them. RDT sent a team to study the situation and work with those people. Since June 2017, RDT has organized them as responsible groups for the construction of houses. The construction started in December 2017. The design of the house has a kitchen, a bedroom, a hall, a verandah and a bathroom. Each house costs Rs. 3,50,000. The people just can’t believe their eyes that they are going to live in these houses. They are so happy. Soon the new housing colony will be opened and the helpless migrants who once lived among graves will indeed live in these beautiful houses.
Ever since RDT introduced the Seva hundi concept in 2012 with the slogan, ‘Let your hearts respond and hands help’, the India for India movement spread fast initially through the awareness created primarily by RDT staff. Seeing the poor in the villages contributing through their hundis, people from different walks of life, like employees of government and private companies, business persons, students joined the movement either with the hundis or from a monthly contribution from their salaries. To RDT’s pleasant surprise, people far away from Anantapur and in no way connected with RDT, became not only contributors but also volunteers to spread this movement among many others. Following are the stories of two such volunteers who have done amazing work all on their own for the India for India movement.
Venkataramana Reddy, is a retired RTC driver at Punganur in Chittur district. He had a great record of zero accident in his service and won best driver award twice. He also had the distinction of returning Rs. 50 Lakhs of cash which a passenger left in the bus. After his retirement, he engaged a van to carry orphan dead bodies and conduct funerals for them. He tells us how he came across India for India movement.
“It was 11th of May 2014 and Sunday. I was reading Eenadu daily news paper early in the morning. On page 11, I saw an article with titles like, ‘we for us’, ‘poor for other poor’, ‘a seva hundi in every house’. I was inspired. It increased my faith in humanity. This article gave me a new responsibility. I immediately took my mobile phone and called RDT officials and requested them to give me an opportunity to participate in this movement. I started a hundi in my house. I talked about it to many friends. They too started hundis. All of us together have identified a few orphan children. So far four children have been educated under this program. Two are in class X and two are doing their under graduation. We visit them regularly and celebrated their birthdays. With RDT’s permission we will educate four more children. I met Moncho Ferrer. His encouragement strengthened my motivation to continue as a volunteer in this great movement.
“I am Roddam Vijay Bhaskar Reddy. I am from Sivapuram village of Singanamala Mandal in Anantapur district. From the age of 12, I had a place for the image of Vincent Ferrer at the center of the images of Deities in my house. I saw with my eyes all the good work done by RDT in our villages and I believe that Father Ferrer is certainly a God. I myself benefitted from RDT’s horticulture program. I received 630 fruit plants with drip irrigation and solar energy. With this I received model farmer award from the state as well as central governments. When I came to know about the India for India movement, I instantly decided to do my bit as a volunteer. I am contributing regularly from my income and I am motivating many friends to be partners in this movement. There are daily wage labourers, farmers, businessmen, employees and lawyers in this list. All of us together have contributed Rs. 2 Lakhs in 2017. In the coming days, some non – resident Indians will also join. I will continue this good work till my last breath.”
Yerramanchi Gangulappa discovers that after groundnut and sheep, solar power is the latest wealth of Anantapur distrtict
Yerramanchi Gangulappa is a farmer from Buchaiahgaripalli village, which is about 100km from Anantapur. He has 5 acres of land with a bore-well hand pump. Gangulappa spent `5500/-and bought 200 mango seedlings and planted them in his land. He, his wife and his eldest son worked hard to water the plants. They used to fill water into four drums from the hand pump and carry the drums on a bullock cart and then pot water the plants. With their hard work and occasional rains, the plants did well. In 2011,Gangulappa applied to RDT for a solar pump set and RDT sanctioned it. Now, with a combination of a solar-powered pump and borewell, Gangulappa laid pipelines to water the plants. This reduced the labour in watering the plants and also water wastage. The number of mango plants increased to 370. The plants grew healthy. Gangulappa got eight tons yield and `15,000/- per ton in the Dharmavaram and Kothacheruvu markets. Excluding `20,000/- spent on fertilizers and pesticides, Gangulappa received a net income of `1,00,000/-. Gangulappa says, “Workload has diminished and fruit size has increased. I have been earning `1,00,000/- every year, since 2011. I am able to buy `30,000/- worth of rice for my family and clothes and books for my children’s education. I could repay `50,000/- of my previous loans. Now I am even able to help others in need.”
J. Gouramma transforms herself from a stubborn groundnut farmer to a successful and eco-friendly horticulturist
“My name is J. Gouramma. We belong to KP Doddi village, which is about 35km from Rayadurg. Like all farmers, I was crazy about groundnut crop, despite incurring losses year after year. In 2001, after attending an RDT-organized workshop on horticulture, I decided that I should try it. In 2002, I planted mango in 4 acres, which is half of my land. Three years convinced me and I planted mangoes in my entire land. But I was still doing it in the irrigated way, wasting a lot of precious water. RDT proposed drip irrigation. Changing to drip saved me a lot of water, transportation and labour. Between 2008 and 2017, I had two drip irrigation units installed in my field. By 2017, my net income increased to `4,00,000/- per year. The income did not drop even in drought years. My family and I are happy not only for our economic growth but also for contributing to the increasing vegetation in our village.”