It has been 19 years since Jeevantirth first set its foundation stone in the field of community work. On 14th July, 2016, we celebrated the 19th anniversary of Jeevantirth the school of life lovers. We talked to Raju Bhai and Deepti Ben, founders of Jeevantirth, on this occasion. “We believe that the greatest gift to a human being is life itself. With this attitude Jeevantirth has been working for human wellbeing; It is only with gratitude towards life that we can spread joy, love and understanding.”
Humans everywhere have been functioning as programmed beings, which becomes quite evident through a little scrutiny. Jeevantirth adheres to the motto that instead of propagating a belief or an idea people should be able to use their ability to think for themselves and break free from the shackles of mind. Several programs have been developed for both of Jeevantirth’s chief interventions: urban initiative and tribal initiative. Urban initiative chiefly works with the slum community of Ahmedabad; to address their issues Jeevantirth has set its headquarters in midst of the largest slum of Ahmedabad Ramapir no Tekro. It houses 37,000 families which bring the population to about 2.75 lakhs! It is the largest community of rag-picking women; Around 7000 women spend their nights collecting waste material strewn in the city. They walk kilometers on end and one needn’t tell about the dangers of night for a lone woman. These struggling beings have a hard time finding basic necessities, let alone equality and equity. Raju Bhai and Deepti Ben acknowledged their hardships and have been working for the betterment of this community. Programs pertaining to issues of each age group have been designed like Baal Sanskar Kendras, Nirant Vrudhdh Mandal, Self Help Groups, Vocational Training Center, Girl Child Education, Value Education Program, etc.
Since its initiation Jeevantirth has been working with education and environment. Near the Gujarat – Maharashtra border there is small village called Dedidapada in the Narmada district. It has rich jungles and indigenous tribal communities. One such community, Vasava, consists of traditional healers. Since generations their families have mastered and passed down traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in Dediapada, Nani Singloti and Relwa. Jeevantirth is involved in training and capacity building of these communities. The program is called Aadi Aushadhi Group wherein the traditional healers are encouraged to cultivate, harvest, process and market the medicines that they make. We provide pre-harvest and post-harvest support in creating superior crop and high quality value added food and medicinal products. Moreover we have processing units with food processing machines, driers, mixers, pulverizes, etc. The program has proven to be a success as the group is now managing the initiative by itself.
In order to make use of the good rainfall this year and also to encourage people of Ramapir no Tekro to be more inclined towards their environment, Jeevantirth distributed saplings from Lok Seva Kendra. More than a hundred saplings were planted on 14th July, 2016.