To reach the village of Morjada, one has to pass through fields of banyan, coconut and hibiscus trees, which seem to give the area a red coat. But hidden behind this beautiful scenery are villages filled with murky water, poor roads, and no electricity.
“Girls from this village suffer a lot. I myself did. Tarini didi was my teacher in school. Like all other girls in the village, I was to get married at a very early age. I was apprehensive and shared the same with Tarani didi. She motivated me help other girls like me cross over the river of early marriage. The whole school looked up to her in those days, ” adds Sachitanandamayee, the organisation’s present secretary.
We then went upstairs where the girls reside. They looked as fresh as daisies even in the scorching heat and humidity. They had just returned to the ashram from a vacation and were all busy greeting each other with hugs and high fives. As I entered the room, they came running to greet me. I spoke with one of the girls and learnt that her parents work in Guava orchards and earn just about Rs. 500 a month. Monetary constraints is why she had been sent to Sevashram where she now studies and also gets overall care.
Sachitanandamayee went on to share with me that the area is a saline affected one, so only allows for a mono-crop paddy. There are also many old people in the area who are now living alone with no family members to take care of them. Many elderly folks used to come to the organization for food. The organization used to provide them with rice, biscuits and more.
We then went to the village to meet up with one such beneficiary. Through a host of tiny lanes, we reached a one room thatched hut, where Urmila, an 70-year-old woman lived. She stays alone and is now dependent on the organization.
It’s not just girls and women but the holistic development of the village that the ashram looks after. It became a voice to these girls who were once without hope and a family to abandoned, old people.