Youngsters can greatly contribute towards nation building and also help towards issues that need immediate attention, for instance, water scarcity. Which is why actor Aamir Khan is urging students to volunteer for Paani Foundation, of which he is the co-founder. Recently, he was in the city at Symbiosis International (Deemed University) where he interacted with students and urged them to dedicate just one day towards the cause of farmers.
Paani Foundation, a not-for-profit company set up in 2016 by the team of the TV series Satyamev Jayate to fight drought in rural Maharashtra, primarily works closely with drought affected villages helping them deal with water crisis and also spreads awareness of using and storing water the right way. The foundation has managed to leave a powerful and positive impact not only in rural India but also in the lives of farmers and the people who participate in the community service.
At Pune’s talk, Aamir spoke about the severity of the situation in the drought-hit villages in eastern Maharashtra and the hardships that farmers have to face. He appealed to students to contribute one day of their summer vacation to the development of a village.
The youngsters attending the talk were not only thrilled to see Aamir but also keen to know more about the initiative. “More than social work I believe this is community work, which is the need of the hour,” said Nikita Gupta, a final year student of Symbiosis College of Hospital and Healthcare Management, who attended the session.
She added that a country’s progress cannot be measured by how many citizens move around in luxurious cars but whether the farmer who feeds us goes to sleep peacefully without worrying about what the future holds for him.
She strongly believes that more and more rural villages must be identified by such initiatives. When asked if she would sign up for the programme, she readily agreed urging that other youngsters too must take up this cause seriously.
“For us, volunteering for one day for the cause may not seem like a big deal, but for the farmers it would mean a lot,” she said further mentioning that she is ready to work for the betterment of the community and help them grow. However, she pointed out that it is not just the farmers or villagers who need greater awareness of water conservation but even city youngsters for whom most things are easily accessible need to value our natural resources.
Tanvi Mehta, another final year student of Symbiosis College of Hospital and Healthcare Management, said, “As doctors, our profession demands serving the community and volunteering for such kinds of initiatives. And I also feel it is the right thing to do.”
However, she points out that most youngsters living in urban areas spend a lot of time on mobile phones and tablets which is not at all constructive. “A few hours spent to create awareness and knowledge is definitely going to help us in the long run not only as individuals but also as a community,” Mehta further mentioned.
She is of the opinion that such initiatives should be made a part of the college or school curriculum so that students have a clear picture of the actual scenario in rural areas, which in turn will make them sensitive towards such issues. “A life experience teaches much more than a textbook,” Mehta noted.
Rushabh Krupal, also studying at Symbiosis, believes that the work done by the foundation is one of a kind. “This initiative will definitely help but to be successful it needs the contribution of all the people and not just a few,” he said adding that farmers need to be made aware of how they can store and use water more efficiently. Apart from engaging people in community service this initiative is good because it helps spread awareness about various water management techniques at the grass roots level, Krupal added.
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