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Minidam – A symbol of Solidarity and Self Esteem.

Our Organization ,Mata Balak Utkarsh Pratishthan of Sangola , Dist Solapur is steering a movement for the past thirty years for the

development of the women and children. Keeping the focus on the rural woman we are attempting to elevate the social status through the initiatives related to financial independence, health, fight against injustice within family and in society, environmental awareness and education.

We have 260 self help groups spread across 30 villages around Sangola for which variety of training programs are arranged for these women.

We conducted an awareness program in water management in 1996 for the ladies. Mr Santosh Gondhalekar conducted several programs addressing awareness, storage , optimum usage of water.

Self confidence got created in the minds of these women who realized that they can construct minidams for water storage.

Subsequently we demonstrated how we can save water by harvesting it over the roof top of our school. We supported the women of these SHGs actively as well as morally. Mrs Sharada Randive of Sangewadi village showed interest in this idea. In 1996-97 we conducted Panchayatraj( Social governance ) training program for women in which Sharad joined as Sarpanch ( Village head ) from Sagewadi. She carried out her duties and responsibilities confidently due to these training programs and ongoing encouragement .

She had constructed a well in the rivulet during her tenure as Sarpanch. However it was not able to hold the water and then it became a subject of ridicule among the villagers. She realized that water could be stored if she constructs a minidam across this rivulet. Painstakingly she pursued the village council for the construction of this minidam . MBUP prepared a proposal and sent it across to Kapart( An organization funding such projects) . However we could not get it approved. For us it was a road block as there was a question mark on our ability to raise fund.

And more importantly it was about restoring the self esteem of those ladies in Sangewadi. In 2004 we came to know that one lady Smt. Vidyatai Ketkar of Pune was interested in donating funds to the projects tackling issue related to water . We approached her with our proposal .She readily agreed to provide the funding in the name of her late grandparents – Anandi and Vausdev Mehendale.

With the help of “Gangotri” we started our work right earnest in 2005 and . Gangotri decided the exact location of the dam . Now there was the question of support from villagers in terms of providing the necessary labour . We persistently followed up with them. Some of them showed very positive response in terms of providing the electrical connection, construction material and transport. All the women of three self help groups of Sangewadi

worked during the construction whole heartedly. Even the children of the Sangewadi school contributed for this noble cause. The technical support and guidance was provided by a young skilled Civil Engineer named Sanjay Rachelli. Sharadatai and her family worked devotedly treating it as their own project. By the God's grace rains pour down on the day when the dam construction was over! It formed a huge pool of water behind the dam.

The results were amazing ! Water depth of 7 to 8 feet formed over an expanse of 200 to 250 feet upstream of the dam. The well constructed in 1996 which erstwhile was dry all the time now had a

A water level of 30 to 35 feet. The water level also improved in the 22 nearby wells.

The initiative of a woman from a backward class, the guidance from Mata Balak Utkarsha Pratishthan and the generosity of a woman from far away place like Pune have resulted into this pathbreaking creation in Sangewadi . This would probably be a unique example in Solapur Dist. It is also an example of how the will power of women can do without any assistance from the government. “ Anandi Vsudev Badhara ( dam ) “, situated on Sangola – Pandharpur road , about fifteen kilometers from Sangola is symbol of self esteem of women of Sangewadi.

Today you will find lush green fields in the nearby viscinity of this mini dam, The villagers cultivate bi yearly crops.The pet animals is fed with ample of water and so is the Sangewadi village throughout the year.

The construction of this dam has brought a realization of women – power and has also motivated the villagers who have constructed another dam !!!