News Karnataka
Friday, March 31 2023

Collegian adopts village in Bengaluru, drives in change, RV College of Engineering

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Ramanagara:  When Rahul Prasad, final-year student of RV College of Engineering, first visited Bhadrapura, a small village 3km off Mysuru Road, in Ramanagara district, he wasn’t even 20. He remembers going there with toothbrushes, soaps and other material for its Hakki Pikki tribal populace. Rahul was part of a medical camp for children, and remembers taking classes on hygiene with fellow volunteers.

Today, at 24, Delhi boy Rahul looks at Bhadrapura with a possessive pride. There is a palpable change, and he knows he is driving it. Last year, after many such hygiene camps, Rahul realized nothing had changed; Bhadrapura needed more than soap and toothpaste, it needed continuous engagement to bring in positive results.So the lad adopted the village, with all its 140 households, and is garnering the support of volunteers and corporates to change lives here.

Rahul’s organization, Juvenile Care Charitable Trust, which works for the uplift of underprivileged children, has signed an agreement with the jurisdictional Manchanayakanahalli panchayat development officer, to take up work. While Rahul is a regular visitor to the village, his volunteers drop in during weekends to participate in welfare activities.

Three Concerns
“We’ve identified three major issues bothering the villagers. They lack hygiene, with clogged roadside drains turning into breeding e grounds for mosquitoes. Open defecation is still a reality, despite the village being within 50km of IT City. The nearest hospital is about 8km away,” explains Rahul.

Deepthi Chandhavar, 19, first year industrial engineering and management student at RV College and a volunteer, explains how they pooled in clothes for the villagers, especially pregnant women. “We have just distributed about 700 items of clothing,” she added.

Hitting the road
Last March, Rahul Prasad, who sees himself as a social entrepreneur, was presented the prestigious UN Karmaveer Chakra Award and REX Global Fellowship, instituted by the Indian Confederation of NGOs in association with the United Nations-a national medallion for proactive voluntary action.

Doesn’t he miss the fun people of his age have -partying, hanging out or off roading?
“It all depends on the definition of fun. I do like road trips and hanging out with buddies. If I have to go to Chennai on work, I don’t take a bus or train, I hire a car with volunteer friends and turn the journey into a road trip,” he smiles.

The journey hasn’t been hunky-dory for Rahul. “A village is a complex phenomenon. There are positive and negative vibes, but it’s good I’m encountering all this early in life. I prefer to increase the number of positive-minded people and drive them towards change. For me, the village has become second home now,” he signs off.

Nomadic Tribe
“Since the Hakki Pikkis are nomads, parents prefer to take their kids with them, wherever they go. They make garlands and decorative household items with plastic, and clothes to be sold during Diwali and Ramzan. They also attend melas across Karnataka,” explains B Byaralakhmamma, an anganwadi worker.

Rahul’s team is planning to institutionalize the business they do, by providing a cooperative platform. Villager Kiran Kumar, 23, and his wife Anushree A, 19, are glad about the development. “The elders are skeptical about these college guys. But we youngsters don’t want to pass on our nomadic lifestyle to our children. This can happen only through good education,” he added.

Guruvaiah, a gram panchayat member, hopes the NGO’s plans to increase groundwater level and tap a nearby lake for water, will work. Rahul has more exciting plans in the pipeline. “We’re looking at alternative power sources such as piezoelectric generators, by installing sensors below the main road. There are plans to improve connectivity to the village by setting up startups here to create jobs,” he said.

Times View
More young people are showing the way forward.People like Rahul Prasad, who along with some volunteers, has adopted a village and ensured its residents get basic amenities and healthcare. When the government fails to provide these things, these youngsters are stepping in, doing the needful and engaging with villagers so that there is a change in their lifestyle. Such inspiring people change the lives of those hoping for improvement and perhaps shame the government into supporting their endeavour.

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