Sustainable Farming

Food production should never come at the expense of human health. Sustainable agriculture is the production of food, fibre, or other plant or animal products without relying on toxic chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified seeds or practices that degrade soil, water, or other natural resources. This form of agriculture enables us to produce healthy food without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same. Sustainable farms produce crops and raise animals by growing a variety of plants and using techniques such as crop rotation, conservation tillage, and pasture-based livestock husbandry, sustainable farms protect biodiversity and foster the development and maintenance of healthy ecosystems.

The Village Group has taken an initiative to educating farmers about the benefits of sustainable agriculture, through awareness training on organic farming to farmers, input support on bio fertilizers and bio pesticides.

A Save Soil Campaign (a complete package of practices on organic farming) was also organized for 230 farmers covering various districts of West Bengal like Howrah, Hooghly, Burdwan, South 24 Parganas, Jalpaiguri, Haldibari etc. and parts of Assam.

Drinking Water Project

Water is a fundamental human need. On an average every human requires at least 20 to 50 liters of clean, safe water daily for drinking, cooking and keeping themselves clean.

Polluted water isn’t just dirty—it’s deadly. Around 1.8 million people die every year of diarrheal diseases like cholera. Tens of millions of others are seriously affected by a host of water-related ailments, many of which are easily preventable.

The United Nations considers universal access to clean water as a basic human right and an essential step towards improving living standards worldwide.

Through its group entity, VFS, along with IOCL-Pipelines, completed and handed over three community-managed drinking water projects at:

  • Banshra, Ranigunj block, Burdwan,
  • Gurap, Dhaniakhali block, Hooghly, and
  • Satidaha, Dhaniakhali block, Hooghly

Literacy Programs

To create awareness among customers about financial literacy, VFS has joined hands with the RBI and conducted customer awareness programs at Chhagulia, Kaldoba, Agomoni and Golakganj in Dhubri District, Assam, through which VFS reached out to a total of 424 customers.
The RBI Guwahati representative, Mr. Abbas Ahmed, along with VFS operation head, Mr. Manas Sarkar and other employees of VFS, Assam, were present to make the program a grand success.

Medical Aid

Health is the topmost priority for any empowerment activity.

As a part of the Village Group, Out Patient Clinics (OPCs) have been introduced in several areas where VFS has presence. These OPCs are providing medical services to the patients through qualified medical practitioners. Mobile clinics have been arranged for patients in remote localities.. Doctors visit the camps 2 days a week.

In March, 2017, VFS organized medical camps in collaboration with JCI. Six medical Camps were conducted at Kolaghat, Haripal, Jangipara, Champadanga, Khanakul and Jirat areas under Sheorafuli Region, Hooghly, and 4 Medical Camps were conducted at Golabari, Benki, Gaighata and Baduria areas in the Barasat region, North 24 Parganas. Medicines were also distributed at these camps.

So far, through this activity, VFS has reached out to 1639 patients.

Solid Waste Management

Solid waste management is a term that is used to refer to the process of collecting and treating solid wastes. It also offers solutions for recycling items wherever permissible.

From the time when people have been living in settlements and residential areas, garbage or solid waste has been an issue. Waste management is all about how solid waste can be used as a valuable resource. Solid waste management should be taken up by each and every household, including the business owners across the world.

Industrialization has brought a lot of positive changes, but it has a few shortcomings as well. One of the negative effects of industrialization is the creation of solid waste.

Through its group organization, VFS organises street plays & human puppet shows on the importance of hygienic food and solid waste management. Trainings are also organized for food hawkers on the hygiene and nutritional aspects of street food in collaboration with National Food & Nutrition Board, Kolkata

Old Age Home Programs

With rapid advances in healthcare and urbanization, senior citizens are living fitter and longer lives. There are heart-rending illustrations in our society of families abandoning their parents or family members when they grow old and “unproductive”. The hands that had rocked their cradles, fed and clothed them, sacrificed their small pleasures for the sake of happiness of their children are now felt “unwanted”. Their presence is an embarrassment in the so-called elite societies that the children socialize in! For the sake of such deserted, abandoned, unwanted poor old women, VFS has established an Old Age Home. These hapless women are given shelter, are fed, clothed and above all cared for. Care is taken to see that they are given respect and dignity that they deserve.

Since 1st December 1993, the old age home for the most marginalized women has come into being at Pancharul village in Udaynarayanpur block under Howrah district of West Bengal state with the financial support of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.

In adherence of the overall objective for providing a better quality of lives with proper shelter and to fulfill the basic needs of the aged, who are widowed, neglected and have no one else to look after, women from the pro-poor category and really needy in every respect were selected from a long list of applicants. The residents are kept engaged with day-to-day household work, helping in kitchen, prayers, yoga, meditation, pranayama etc. and spend their spare time reading newspapers & magazines, and gardening etc. Special attention is provided to each member so that she never feels left alone. Special arrangements are also made so that they get company from the community. Considering their requirements, morning tea, breakfast, lunch, snacks and nutritious foods are served to the residents. Adequate apparels are provided twice a year. Woollen garments, shawls and blankets are also provided. Special care is offered to sick persons and one visiting doctor attends on the sick persons regularly. For entertainmen,t the centre also has the provision of color television with cable connections.

Educational Initiatives

The Village Group has always promoted education among the young children, especially of families belowthe poverty line.

VFS celebrated ‘Sishu Utsav o Milan Mela’ on the occasion of the 120th Birth Anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at Village Model School in Udaynarayanpur, Howrah.

The festival started off with a morning rally and a road show by the students and teachers of the Village Model School and other local schoosl. Various cultural and extracurricular activities were organized during this four-day festival. Besides the students of Village Model School, children from other local schools in Udaynarayanpur and adjoining blocks of Howrah and Hooghly districts also participated in Inter-School competitions of painting, yogasana, martial arts, singing, recitation dance, debate etc. The winners were felicitated with medals and certificates.

To make the villagers more aware, employees of VFS staged musical and theatrical performances which highlighted many social issues like Child labour, Women’s Empowerment,Ssave the Girl Child (Beti Bachao), Swachh Bharat, safe driving, over indebtedness, abandoning parents in old age etc. in the form of light comedy to generate collective consciousness. Additionally, the efforts of a few women entrepreneurs, who took multiple assistance and developed successful businesses, were acknowledged.

Village Group has also designed and initiated a scholarship program for deserving children of poor families to encourage them to go for higher studies and make a difference in their lives. The monetary assistance provided to spur talents to help secure a better future for their family and themselves.

 

Targeting the Hardcore Poor (THP)

As a part of the group initiative, a program has been launched to transform the livelihoods of a 100 ultra-poor families headed by women in Siakhala, Haripal/Chanditala Block, Hooghly.

Under the Targeting the Hardcore Poor project, the families were given hand-holding support socio-economically for a duration of two years, ending in the month of December, 2016.

Through rigorous follow-up, nurturing and other support practices, the beneficiaries became accustomed to small business operations coupled with enterprise development as well awareness on social issues.