There is an urgent need to create mechanisms to empower widows in Yavatmal and Vidarbha, and give them the support they need to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward. However, such initiatives are rare. One of the few such projects for the welfare of the helpless women is run by Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) and its sister organization Sampada Trust.
“I was born and brought up in Ahmednagar town. So, I have done my schooling in Ahmednagar from Bhausaheb Firodiya High School, Ahmednagar. After that, I did my graduation in commerce from Ahmednagar College. Then, I completed my Masters in Commerce (M.Com.), Institute of Management Studies (IMS PUBR), Pune University.Then, I did Diploma in Business Management. During my graduation, I was working with a chartered accountant for three years. And, after completing my graduation, I immediately joined WOTR. So, before that, I had experience of accounting due to my past experience of working with a CA. The zeal to work for the society motivated me to join this sector and WOTR. I had been working for youth when I was the President of Nasik Diocesan Youth Commission (it’s a church based activity and they work for the youth. They conduct leadership camps to motivate and give career guidance to youth. I had initially I wanted to do an MSW but since I got a job and was working as an accountant. I thought to pursue my higher studies in the same field of accountancy. That’s why I did my Masters in Management Science. In fact, I went to Lonavala to become a priest because of my passion for serving society.
When I joined WOTR, I met Father Bacher and Crispino, I saw their dedication and commitment. I was the first employee of WOTR, so, that commitment, hardship and work motivated me to continue in WOTR itself. I joined WOTR IN 1993 as an accounts trainee (because I didn’t have much experience) and I used to help Crispino in keeping accounts. But, later on, Mr. Shidore, ex-treasury officer, came as a senior accounts officer in WOTR and I was trained under his guidance. And, then, I was promoted slowly, I became accounts officer, senior accounts officer, deputy manager, manager and now, at present, I am deputy general manager of accounts and finance department. So, this was my long journey in WOTR.
Now, apart from this, I got an additional responsibility of coordinating all external training programmes, which happen in Darewadi. You see, after 15 years or so, I got bored with handling figures and accounts. I wanted a change. So, the management offered me this chance and I also liked this work of training programmes. Therefore, I took up that responsibility and since 2009, I have been coordinating this external training programmes. I have got a very good opportunity to organise different training programmes, prepare modules when I was involved in this exposure dialogue programmes which we organise with different universities, that gave me a good boost and challenge to work for the organisation.
Difficulties and challenges are ever present. As the organisation grows, there are lot of complexities, lot of legal compliances but we have handled these legal compliances and complexities at every stage of our growth. Later on, as we grew there many challenges with legal formalities of different kinds. It is tough to be very careful with all the legal compliances, accounts and other important documents because if one thing goes wrong, it will impact our organisation. So, we have to be always alert and be strong and attentive to meet these legal compliances.
I enjoy the work, since I am involved in coordinating training activities, I get to know more people and interact with different kinds of people. I can create awareness about the work which we are doing to the public at large, so that our work gets replicated outside our organisation and India also. That really motivates me to work for WOTR.
When I joined WOTR, we were not sure what will happen in future because we didn’t know what would be our future. But knew that we had a good leadership and they had a good vision and I was sure that this organisation will grow and I will have a good career path in this organisation.
WOTR has given me ample opportunities to grow personally and professionally also. Conducting training programmes helped in developing my personality. Apart from this, WOTR also gave me chance to attend four months’ Atma Darshan training from December 2013 to May 2014 from Atma Darshan Jesuit Centre, Patna which helped me in my self-awareness, to develop my personality and to understand myself- who am I and what I am supposed to be doing, my vision, mission and goal. And, now I conduct a lot of meditation and healing sessions for our staff as well as the village people. I see many smiles on their faces when they complete this exercise. This energizes me to do more such activities in future.
In 2002, we conducted many atma darshan sessions for staff. With the help of this, we could understand ourselves and try to resolve various issues and difficulties. It helped us to take informed decisions. I was also given the opportunity to go to Germany for a one-month training programme based on microfinance in 1999 and I was the only participant from India; the rest of the participants were from Africa. It was a very good and different exposure altogether for me, how the world looks at issues like microfinance and development. It helped me to grow and understand the world better.
Under Participatory Net Planning, we had to train villagers to to do net planning. So, our engineers took a lot of efforts and by demystifying the technology (to teach people in simple way so that they can understand), we could successfully implement it on ground. It became a movement and was accepted in all the states and the central guidelines that all watershed activities should be done through net planning.
For our CAPA (Climate Action and Poverty Alleviation) project, we prepared some guidelines and spent a lot of time in planning the project. We had to work simultaneously and get the contribution. So, shramdaan was always there as a part of this project, the only thing that was different was planning and it was spread all over Maharashtra. We were working with other partner NGOs like Gard, Manav foundation, Loksaathi to name few and implementing some projects on our own. We didn’t bypass the systems and procedure. We completed all the formalities which helped complete the project in six to seven months.
My long term goal is to help the poor and work for society at large. I could do this by working in this organisation. Since, I am working in accounts department, my vision is to have all the systems in place which will be sufficient to comply with all legal requirements. I see WOTR as a national NGO working all over India and also helping African countries to do watershed development.There are lot of memorable experiences of working with WOTR. One of them is of going abroad to participate in international training programmes was an eye-opener for me as I got to see a different world, to meet different people, to understand and learn . My fondest memory in WOTR is working with Father Bacher and Crispino. I enjoyed myself a lot. There were lot of times when I was afraid of taking new initiatives, but they motivated me, encouraged me to work and go forward in my life.
As the organisation is growing very fast and we are entering in different thematic areas, I think we will have to consolidate and see what we can do, what we can achieve and how can we do it in future.
At the end, I would like to conclude by a quotation for my audience
“Always Be active, Be motivated and Be committed to the work”