Manjari Corner
In Sisona village, Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand, solar street lights installed as a part of the Focused Rural Development Project. Installed a solar pump for irrigation in Sitarganj (Uttarakhand) under the FRDP project. New Production house inaugurated in Nurabad, Muraina (MP), in collaboration with JK Tyres. Community Awareness Camp organized in 8 new villages in association with UN Women under 'Build Back Better' project. Goat Farmers Training conducted at Jara and Dangdiroli (Seondha) with KVK scientists. Training and animal feed distribution program organized at the Manjari office in Sarmathura, for 100 scheduled tribe goat farmers.
The DOCC Experience – A tale of changing perceptions

The DOCC Experience – A tale of changing perceptions

May 06, 2024

Written By: Shazen

Born and brought up in Mumbai, the idea of spending an entire month in a village was a daunting thought to say the least. The privilege of my upbringing has made me accustomed to easy transport, fancy restaurants and even swiggy orders at 2am. In addition, the perception that I have held of Indian villages has always been one of hardship and extreme poverty. These perceptions were built from limited information and the portrayal of villages in movies and other content. 

However, I have always been adventurous and open minded, and I decided to use this one month compulsory social internship into the heart of the country as an opportunity to widen my horizons and challenge deep rooted stereotypes. 

Having arrived in Seondha on the 5th of April, a bunch of these myths were busted within the first week itself. As we travelled from village to village, meeting the locals and interacting with the women and children, I realised that most of what I knew about rural India was false. 

While people here definitely do have their fair share of hardships and problems, they rarely let it dampen their spirits. Every person that I interacted with was exceedingly warm and whole heartedly offered us food, water and all the possible comforts they could provide irrespective of their financial or social status. We were treated with utmost respect and I was very touched by this reception. 

The next standout observation that struck me was the difference in the pace of life in the village. While everyone does work hard and contributes to the household, there is a latent sense of calm and peace in the workings of the village. Life here is slower and people do manage to find time for themselves and for each other. 

I always believed that women in these villages were often treated badly and struggled for equality and support. However, largely thanks to the excellent work of the Manjari foundation and other such social organizations, women have found their voice in these villages. They have achieved unity in numbers by forming self help groups, village organizations and federations, to collectively voice their needs and opinions. They have also increased their technological efficiency and are very capable of using smartphones. 

Contrary to what I thought, most boys and even girls in the village do attend school, and are getting themselves educated. While dropouts still exist, especially among female children, the situation is improving gradually and it is a promising sight. 

All in all, this adventure was very enriching and unlike anything I have experienced in the past. I have a newfound understanding and appreciation for village life. However, the fundamental character change that can be attributed to the DoCC experience is the learning that stereotypes and preconceived notions are often incorrect and we learn a lot more when we keep our eyes and our mind open.