CHAMOLI: SOS Children’s Villages of India (SOSCVI), an NGO, has handed over a livelihood rehabilitation project it had conceived and piloted over the past six months at Karchhon, a remote village in Uttarakhand, which was the worst hit by an avalanche in the Alaknanda river system, following the Nanda Devi glacier burst on 7th February 2021. Going forward, the ongoing livelihood rehabilitation project will continue under the aegis of the government.
Started on 9th February, the pilot part of the project came to a fruitful conclusion on 8th September 2021, achieving several visible and measurable results in the areas of livelihood development, capacity building at the local community, and child welfare.
Close on the heels of extending relief measures, SOS Children’s Villages of India rolled out the six-month pilot project at Karchhon, the last village in the valley – located over 20 kms from Joshimath, with a population of about 350 (2011 census).
It supported 117 families with relief materials and identified 40 families for livelihood support. Following the training, expert guidance, and financial support, about 11 families are engaged in goat rearing, 6 in buffalo rearing and 18 in cow rearing. SOSCVI helped two families set up mule rearing. Under the project, one family runs an electric shop, and the NGO has set up a petty shop and a sewing unit that support two families.
It has also provided pressure cookers for all the 40 beneficiary families. On the child welfare front, the project ensured nutrition and educational support to 48 school-going children. It provided school bags, tracksuits and shoes for these children.
The formal transfer of the project took place at an event in the presence of Kumkum Joshi, Sub Divisional Magistrate officer of Joshimath, Asha Devi, Jila Panchayat Member, Sachin – Pradhan, and Shailesh Singh, Zonal Director SOSCVI.
Joshi appreciated SOS CVI for selecting Karchhon and for the comprehensive nature of the project that extended from emergency response to livelihood training and education of children.
Commenting about the pilot project, Sumanta Kar, Secretary-General, SOS Children’s Villages of India, said, “We are always keen on the long-lasting and sustainable development at the grassroots level in communities. These were our attempts in our programme at Karchhon. We are happy that we could fulfill all the promises we made and could produce tangible results in livelihood development and child welfare. The village is now back on its feet with confidence and has become capable of ensuring a bright future for its children. We would like to thank the authorities and local communities for their enormous cooperation all these months.”
As part of the relief work, SOS Children’s Villages of India gave cash and dry ration to needy households and offered psychological counseling to people in many villages at the Joshimath block of the Chamoli District, the epicenter of the disaster. SOSCVI ran a Children Learning Centre to engage children in activities for physical, intellectual, and emotional wellbeing.
The pilot project at Karchhon focused on providing livestock and vocational skills training for villagers to ensure a source of regular income for the families. It had been supporting children with basic reading and writing, as the children were the first generation in the community to set foot in a school.
The NGO was also taking measures to strengthen the population’s health profile. But for the livelihood interventions from SOS Children’s Villages of India, most families in the village would have been forced to migrate to urban or semi-urban pockets for livelihood, leaving behind children and the elder population.