Neelkanthachari pic 1

Neelkanta Chari a daily wage labourer from Bheeram Panchayat in district Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, worked day and night to make both ends meet. His meagre and irregular income was not sufficient to buy food for his family comprising of his wife and child. Often he and his wife would be forced to go to bed on an empty stomach. The family was in such dire  straits that they were unable to even buy oil to light their lantern at night.

 

Neelkanta tried desperately to get a ration card for himself and his family members. This could have lessened his financial burden as he could have then purchased essential food items at a lower subsidized cost rather than being dependent upon the open market.He ran from pillar to post to access his entitlement but in vain and finally gave up thinking that it was not meant for him. His days were passing in misery,struggling to even earn his daily meal.

 

 

However, a flicker of hope emerged when he came to know about the VAC (Village Action Committee) from fellow villagers who were members of the group. VAC was formed under the livelihood intervention of IGSSS and was implemented by the partner organisation, ORRC.

 

One of the significant functions of the group was to mobilize the villagers, sensitize them on issues concerning village development and facilitate them towards availing their own rights. When Neelkanta approached the VAC about being denied his ration card, his issue was taken up by the group on a priority basis. Guided by the staff of ORRC, he put forth his plea for ration cards to the concerned official and continued his quest. Persistence ultimately paid rich dividends – he received the ration card in his and his family’s name.

 

Neelkanta is now able to regularly purchase 3 kg of rice, 3kg of dal, 3kg of sugar and 6ltrs. of kerosene oil every month. “Now we can light a lantern during the evening and do not have to go to bed hungry… thanks to PEARL…” said Neelkanta.  He is now an active member of the VAC and guides other villagers towards attaining their rights.