“For those who have very little, even a little help goes a long way”
How we treat our tribal communities, the most ancient residents of our lands, is a representation of who we are as a people. By bringing them self-sufficiency and a better life, we don’t just provide them with their basic rights, but we also become a more enriched and inclusive society.
Through small, but pivotal initiatives, CACTUS tries to improve the lives of some of the most marginalized tribes, living at the edge of India’s largest megapolis.
Empowerment of tribal communities is very important for the inclusive development of society. Vastly ignored tribal regions located just outside the city of Mumbai, India, are still deprived of basic facilities. CACTUS has taken the responsibility of bringing positive change in the lives of these communities, with a major focus on the empowerment of tribal women, community development programs, and providing resources and systems for improved yield.
CACTUS as a CSR partner for Keshav Srushti’s Project Green Gold is empowering tribal women of Vikramgad block in Palghar district through skill-building in bamboo handicrafts. Over 500 women in 15 villages have been trained to make bamboo crafts. These tribal artisans have designed around 125 types of bamboo articles. CACTUS purchased 200 handmade lanterns during the festival of Diwali and 500 rakhi sets to support them. The project aims to make these tribal women self-reliant and contribute to the environment by providing alternatives to everyday plastic items. These tribal artisans have already done business worth INR 40 lakh (approx. USD 48,500).
Community development programs
Through Parivartan Mahila Sanstha, CACTUS has supported community development programs in the Mokhada block of Palghar district. This region is known for extreme poverty and lack of basic facilities. Owing to its location far from the city of Mumbai, very little support has reached this region. CACTUS has set up khelwadi (primary schools) for better education of tribal children and conducted training programs for women self-help groups to help them take up micro-businesses. Awareness programs are being conducted to help the tribal communities know their rights under government schemes and how they can seek benefits.
Solar-powered water irrigation
Water scarcity in the tribal areas of Palghar district near Mumbai has been a serious issue for decades. Arranging water for daily use like drinking and bathing becomes challenging during summer. In the monsoons, farmers only grow rice. Due to water scarcity, for the rest of the year, they migrate to other parts of the country seeking labor jobs. To tackle this problem, CACTUS has collaborated with Keshav Srushti to bring water from nearby rivers to farms with the help of solar energy. Long pipelines are laid underground and drip irrigation systems are installed for the efficient use of water. The most recent project in Pashte village of Wada block has helped 42 farmers and made 43 acres of land cultivable. This will help farmers grow three crops annually and raise their income. As a result, migration will stop, which will lead to a good family life and uninterrupted education of children. CACTUS has supported similar projects for Dongripada village.