Dehradun: Taking a significant step towards helping those affected by the calamity in Uttarakhand, an NGO on Thursday adopted a village near Kedarnath where 32 young women lost their husbands to the tragedy.
Though not yet declared dead by the state government, husbands of these women, who went missing after the June 16 disaster, are yet to surface, prompting Sulabh International to adopt Deoli Gram Sabha, consisting of six small hamlets, to help rebuild the lives of its 191 devastated residents.
Launching `Sulabh Help Programme`, Sulabh Sanitation Movement founder Bindheshwar Pathak said though it was a small step considering the size of the state, it may inspire other organisations and individuals to come forward and help the flood-ravaged people of the state.
A total of 191 people who reside in villages under Deoli Gram Sabha will benefit from the campaign under which women and elderly members of a family will receive Rs 2,000 per month from the organisation which will also give Rs 1,000 to each child of a family.
The organisation will also help orphaned children get admission in the schools of Dehradun, besides arranging for wedding of girls of marriageable age, Pathak said.
Young members of families in these villages will also be provided vocational training to help them back on their feet and lead a life of self-reliance.
Pathak gave Rs 2,000 each to 22 women whose husbands went
missing in the calamity last month.
Husbands of most of the women either worked as pandas or mule operators at the Himalayan shrine.
Among the beneficiaries was a woman named Vasundhara Devi who lost all the members of her family in the tragedy, including her husband and two sons. She broke down as she received the amount from the Sulabh founder.
Leela Devi was another beneficiary who lost her husband and the sole bread winner in the calamity.
Pathak said the NGO will also ensure all-round development of Deoli which is some seven km from Guptkashi.
"We do not want the village to get a tag of `Village of Widows`. We want it to become `Model Village`. Now, we will take care of their needs. We will impart vocational training to widows and ensure proper education to the kids," Pathak said.
The NGO will also give Rs 2,000 to the unemployed youths as monthly allowance so that they can start earning their livelihood and children can pursue their studies.
From next month, the villagers will receive the amount from nearby bank. Accounts are being opened for them.
The devastating flood and landslides has left the twin villages with a population of just 154 people.
71 of them are women, whose husbands are still missing, and their children came to Dehradun to attend a function organised by Sulabh International.
Sulabh has recently set up `Sulabh Hope Foundation` to serve the widows in India under which all the widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi have been adopted.
It has also decided to impart training to women in this Uttarakhand village on the lines of its efforts for widows of Vrindavan and Varanasi.