My Vanyatra In The State Of Maharashtra

I wish to share the experience of my Vanyatra of 29th October 2012. The one-day-trip from Mumbai (India) to Manor Naka to Wada to EKAL Vidyalayas was approximately of 276 km (both ways). Here, I must express my gratitude to Ms. Namita Pandya (Vice President, FTS-Mumbai), Ms. Seema Goyal (Project Coordinator, FTS-Mumbai), Shri V. C. Kothari for taking their time out to accompany me for the Vanyatra.

Covering the areas of Wada and Gargaon, in the state of Maharashtra, gave me first hand knowledge of how EKAL-FTS (Friends of Tribals Society) link up in connectivity to share social responsibility. This mode of partnership is definitely giving a sense of hope and progress to the less fortunate sections of our society. The village schools of Umbardachapada, as well as Galachapada have been examples of illustrating these facts of encouragement. I am sure EKLAVYA SWAVALAMBAN Trust, at Rural and Tribal Development Resource Centre, Gargaon (Wada) will grow in its services and training programmes. I learnt that the Trust is an integral part of Friends of Tribals Society.

At Umbardachapada and Galachapada, there were around 30 children respectively, who made up the two EKAL classes and began the session by reciting a prayer in Marathi, their mother tongue. Jagdish, the coordinator between me and the children translated our Hindi and Marathi conversation, back and forth. I tested the kid’s ability in simple addition and subtraction and their Maths was found to be strong and correct. I also picked out kids at random, to see how they were in their ability for basic Hindi words and a couple of them came up to write on the blackboard with full confidence. Along with my team members, I had a good opportunity to speak to the village Head, the village EKAL Teachers, the parents of the children – the conversation was helpful to all of us.

In Umbardachapada, the children showed me with great excitement how they had planted the jackfruit plants in a small patch of land. I showed them that the distance between the plants had to be more. It seemed the government-run-school in this part was not too regular, but most of the people did not want to express that openly.

In Galachapada, the hamlet where the EKAL classes are conducted – is flooded from its point of residences to the main road, during the monsoon season. We learnt that the population of the hamlet, during the monsoon months has to swim across to get to the main road for any facility by the way of food or medical.

We saw that the villagers sow paddy and also get produce of vegetables from their land. The proof lay in the pudding! The villagers presented us with giant-sized cucumbers and pumpkins.

The general condition inside the villagers’ huts was neat and clean, though the rooms were dark due to lack of sunlight coming into the inner surroundings. I recollect clearly that a buffalo was in full view relaxing in the adjacent room of the make-shift-EKAL classroom.

A small group of women at Galachapada made tea for us and the secret of the recipe of a fire-hot-chilly-chutney was readily given to us! The village folk were spontaneous in showing their feeling of cheerfulness and gratitude – inspite of the day-to-day challenges which they face. It gave me satisfaction to refill both the EKAL centres with new First Aid Boxes. I have also requested that my 10 new schools (if possible) to be allotted in the state of Maharashtra.

Additionally, during this period in Mumbai, I also had the opportunity of attending FTS’s Diwali dinner – where I enjoyed the chance of having a dialogue with the members about EKAL activities in Dubai (UAE). I must express my gratitude to Shri Jitu Bhai Bhansali, Shri Pradeep Goyal who are prominently engaged in expanding the vision of EKAL and who also played a role in my Vanyatra.

To view the photographs of Vanyatra, kindly click on:

For information on EKAL, kindly click

Geeta Chhabra President
EKAL UAE Chapter

Geeta Chhabra Comment Form
Form a link. Comment inside the box below. Your views will be published in a coming edition.