A March Against Desert March ‘ A March Against Desert March’ Satya Bharti School , Belwa Ranaji , (Jodhpur) , Rajasthan , Bharti Foundation Problem Being attempted : The western part of Rajasthan is covered by Thar Desert (western part of Jodhpur where our school lies).Every year in Summers strong sand storm blows from South- West to North-East. The sand of these huge deserts blow and change their place. The moving & changing of place by Deserts is known as Desert March. The Deserts cover the plains, even nearby hills which are fertile, useful for farming & transportation makes this land unfertile & of no use. The only way to set back these Deserts is to do plantation on them which consumes less water.
Geographical Location : The school is located in the mid of sand dunes & hilly area where there is lack of public transport & other basic facilities. Its 110 Kms away west to Jodhpur nearby Jaisalmer_Jodhpur highway. To reach school there is 2kms damaged Gravel Road covered by sand.
Cultural Background : Most of the villagers are occupied in farming & Anial Husbandry. Literacy rate is very low. Worst condition in Girl Child education. People are unaware of latest IT inventions which are still like fairy tales for them.
Role of Satya Bharti School in the Village :
The school is providing Quality primary education in the village. The computer education & a close relationship with parents ignited awareness towards the importance of education. The literacy rate is raising. The only Primary school having the higher enrollment of 226 than the nearby secondary school.
Participation in ‘Design for Giving’ School Contest : The students & staff were so excited about this contest as they haven’t taken it as a contest but as a their daily life problem & its time to share it at a mass level & to make a caravan of ‘March Against Desert March’.
Grandparents & elder local community told us that these sand dunes have digested their ancestral house, under-ground water tank farm lands etc. For which they have no pictures to support their statement ,but will always remain in their memory.
A same huge sand dune is nearby our school when we discussed about it with our class teacher he also said that in next 30-40 years your school will also be covered by these sand dunes. If unfortunately this happens then the only difference is that we will have pictures to support our statement
One day these sand dunes will cover the fertile land, nearby hills where windmills are functioning & have a great loss.
We ‘Imagined’: Due to the Lack of proper supervision by the Govt, positive attitude of general public and the will to implement the program, the scheme itself becomes the part of Deserts. Plantation seems to the only remedy to improve the situation.. So the easiest, economical and the best method which can stop Desert March is to do plantation on these Deserts. We thought that we can share our ideas, through rallies & by sensitizing local leaders like sarpanches ward panches etc who can move the community easily
We organized rally & plantation drive along with the community.
We had a meeting with Sarpanch who sanctioned for 300 free plants from the government Nursery.
Fixed a date for the plantation drive along with the community.
Showed a video clip on Desert March.
Shared our experiences & asked community to share their experiences regarding the shifting of Deserts.
Meeting with the Sarpanch for the approval of plantation & free plants from Gram Panchayat we wrote an application & got permission in written from Sarpanchji to avail free of cost plants from Nursery which is 35 kms away from our village. When sarpsnchji heard about our March he himself came to know about the program, see the image below & approval letter right.
Letter from Gram Panchayat Office by Sarpanchji
A rally in whole village to for the plantation on the sand dune on te same day.
We never missed even a single a opportunity of plantations with the active support of Community member and the young brigade.
We ‘Did’: Students from nearby government school also joined in our March against the desert March Plantation on desert can be seen easily image taken from our school This March was flagged off by plantation in school premises by Sarpanchji who joined hand with us Plantation alongwith the community
The news of our campaign “March against desert March” spread in nearby villages too & even the students -satff from Government school lend a hand in tis program.
Reporters on Dainik Bhaskar & Dainik Navjyoti also gave a coverage to this March.
The elder can feel the loss from Desert Marchs so they also lend a hand on the plantation drive.
Impact on Community:
When we thought of this March it was quiet hard for us that will we be able to get the land for plantation & support from Gram Panchayat but as it is said that the true efforts never fail & we were proud of it.
Before this March we were never aware of these Desert Shifting.
We strengthen ourselves that we can bring change in community if the issues are put forward in right direction.
Proud of ourselves to be known as little changers I our village.
Wherever we went praised by our villagers.
Hope that one day these Deserts too will covered by plants.
Impact on Us:
“ I have heard about the Government programs to stop the deserts from increasing but never thought of such program. These little kids have done a wonderful job 7 sensitized us to pick up a such program. I am planning to have meeting with Forest Department to declare this area under Reserved area which will be handed to govt. for plantation & to look after it.” - Mr Khet Singh Sarpanch of Belwa Ranaji.
“ This sand dune is heading gradually every year but anybody never thought of such March against these deserts. If such plantatin is done seriously & government take care of it then the picture of Thar Desert will be changed in next 5 to 10 years.” – Ranmal Class Teacher
“ We can just imagine the days when the land under this desert we use to plough & play. These kids sensitized us thankful to them.” - Kheenv Singh Villager Belwa Ranaji.
Experience of Community Members & Teachers:
We know that road ahead is very tough.
We have alrady shared with sarpanchji to declare this land piece protected.
Not only the small part wher we have did plantation but the whole desert must be covered by plants.
Plants have been assigned to the whole school & every day different groups will water these plants.
This is not the ending but the beginning of ‘March Against The Desert March.’