Nearly 70% of the country’s population resides in villages and rural areas. Of 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crore live in rural areas while 37.7 crore stay in urban areas. India has around 640,000 villages inhabited by 830 million people. India’s villages have been the backbone of her existence when it comes to her socio-cultural character.
Mahatama Gandhi once rightly quoted that “India’s soul lives in its villages”. Means that so as to know the complete socio-culture and background of India, once must look into its villages and rural areas.
But weak village economy is causing disparity in the society and the village people are forced to migrate to towns and cities abandoning their cultural roots. City slums are filled with people from rural villages. At the core of this problem are:
- Lack of opportunities
- Lack of resources
- Lack of availability of modern technology
- Lack of information
- Lack of structures and processes that can enable people to participate in the mainstream socio-economic activities
Gramothan Resource Centre (GRC) is at the core of Ekal’s approach to empower rural Bharat. Established at the heart of rural and tribal villages, GRC acts as training-cum-resources i.e the provide training, resources and initial hand-holding to village micro-entrepreneurs GRC tackle the following needs of target population:-
- Providing skill training to empower youth, women and farmers.
- Promote suitable farming with latest techniques and equipments for soil, manure and seeds.
- Create micro-entrepreneurs in village.
- Bring modern techniques to solve local rural problems.
- Support micro-entrepreneurs, SHGs, FPOs by facility incubation.
- Develop sustainable practices for holistic growth.
- Do continuous impact assessment to improve processes and intervention.
A GRC TEAM CONSIST OF THE FOLLOWING:
- A chapter Committee: To oversee the operation at the GRC.
- GRC, Karyakartas: GRC incharge, village coordinators etc.
- Gramothan village representatives ideally four in each village.
Using its eco-system of village coordinates and village representatives, 20 families are identified in each village. GRC then start engaging with these 2000 families at various levels. The idea is to skill 80 potential micro-entrepreneurs (20 women, 20 male farmers, 20 young girls and 20 young boys) in each village. A GRC project primarily focuses on the following activities:-
- Digital literacy through computer lab.
- Women Empowerment centers ( tailoring + handicraft).
- Rural entrepreneurship (through SHG and FPO formation)
- Sustainable agriculture (includes organic farming, gaushala, vermicompost, nutritional, garden set up).
- Rural and tribal market channelization.
- Promote Entrepreneurship
- Support micro-entrepreneurs, SHGs, FPOs
Further the skills activities are based on demands and employment opportunities available in the local market GRCs are opened in those areas where Ekal Vidyalas are already functional. Currently, there are 16 GRCs, some are fully development while some are in the early stages of development.