“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” goes the famous American cultural theorist, Margaret Mead’s frequent
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has,” goes the famous American cultural theorist, Margaret Mead’s frequently quoted aphorism. And Mead’s words can’t be more true than in the case of this group of students from a city college, who are attempting to change the state (if not the world) one drop at a time. The students, who belong to Hassaram Rijhumal College of Commerce and Economics, commonly known as H.R. College, are helping villages in the parched state of Maharashtra through their pet-project, Boond, which is aimed at helping villages raise funds for building water wells. Until now, they have already completed four wells in Kumbharwadi, located about 350 kms from Mumbai, in Kolhapur district.
“The initiative was started by our seniors four years ago,” says Simran Talwar, who is a part of the project. Simran, who is a second year BMM student, has been associated with the initiative since the very beginning.
The students have partnered with Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) an Indo-German non-profit founded in 1993. “Since they are the experts in finding places suitable for building the wells, we transfer our funds to them and they initiate the process,” says Simran about how it works.
This year alone, they have raised about Rs 5.5 lakhs, out of which they have already utilised about Rs 1.5 lakhs. With the project progressing steadily, the students have recently extended their efforts to another village called Varvandi in Nashik district.
“We keep visiting the villages once every three months to monitor the progress. However, building wells isn’t the only effort we’ve undertaken. We also have several other projects such as Gazab Maharashtra, under which we teach entrepreneurial skills to the young kids in the village and motivate them to start their own businesses,” says Simran about the efforts taken by her team.
The project, run by students of the college has a new team every year along with the academic session. As one of the few students to be continuously associated with the project since its start, Simran narrates her experience. “The first time I had gone to the village, I remember that I was shocked at the state of affairs. Being a city-dweller, it was hard-hitting to see how often we take things for granted. When I had first visited four years ago, the residents in Kumbarwadi had to walk about 4 kms to get water. Now they had to walk for just 4 minutes — and that’s a big achievement for us,” she adds with a sense of pride in her voice.
“After doing the math, our team realised that a paltry Rs 3,500 can assure an individual of clean water for a lifetime,” she says. However, she insists this is not the only way to help. “In this hard time, we must not forget to do our bit — to save water however we can, at least in simple things like everyday use.”
Like Simran, her entire team is proud of the fact that while most of their friends are worried about hanging out and shopping, these kids are “being able to help a few people and make a difference.” And whether or not they change the world, their efforts certainly are succeeding in inspiring many others to take up the mantle too.