Written by our Fellow, Prachita Shetty who is working closely with our field partner Prayas in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. After an insightful training session in Bangalore, I got on the Gandhidam Express at 10 pm on 11th January. The 32-hour train journey was a pleasant experience which started from Bangalore in Karnataka, passed through Maharashtra and eventually reached Gujarat early 13th morning.On reaching Ahmedabad station, I took a cab to Gandhinagar on instructions from fellow passengers on the train. Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad are called twin-cities, and, are at distance of 26 kms from each other. Gandhinagar in particular is a well-planned city with beautiful roads and greenery on either side. The Prayas head office where I was headed to, interestingly is 15 kms from a semi-urban development Chandkheda, and at 5 kms from Info-City, where you can find BMWs and double-decker buses bustling simultaneously through the city.On reaching the Prayas head office, I was greeted by my contact person Mr. Bhadresh Rawal. Mr. Rawal is also the President at Prayas. After a 32-hour journey of serious reading, eating and lounging, I was only too eager to get started. So, on Mr. Rawal’s suggestion, I went to Chandkheda, one of the main districts of Milaap borrowers in Gujarat.Luckily, it was an end-of-loan session at the Chandkheda branch that week which meant a whole bunch of behne (sisters/borrowers) were visiting the office to complete their last installment. It was a mad session of bickering, chattering and catching-up in Gujarati. I was thrilled to finally meet the women I had learnt so much about. They were smart, opinionated and independent, and, to be completely honest, I was slightly intimidated at the beginning. After an exciting day of meeting the borrowers and field partner, I took a bus back to my accommodation.My timing in Gujarat couldn’t have been better as a very popular festival called Uttarayan (Kite Festival) is celebrated around that time. Uttarayan marks the change of seasons from winter to summer.So, on invitation from one of the branch officer, Bhavini, I visited her home for lunch and celebrated Uttarayan with her family. My lunch was grand affair which included three different types of dhokla, three sabjis, pineapple chutney, rotis, puris, dal and chawal.The lunch/post-lunch/snacks was later extended to the terrace in the form of amlas, khakra, chuwda and sweets while we were flying kites till early evening. The sheer amount of food I had that day, record breaking! Gandhinagar so far has been a wonderful experience where I made a few friends in Chandkheda, flew a kite for the first time, got an open-invitation to meals and was made to feel at home instantly.There are several people in rural districts across Ahmedabad who are in need of basic amenities like water, electricity and sanitation. You can also help someone in need with a small loan.
Make A Difference! Majja Ma!