[01 May 2018] Dhamori Village Development Plan & Playground Initiative in Press
(Translation) A young team changed the landscape of a village in Maharashtra
If there is determination in the heart, nothing is impossible. With this thought, a team from Chhattisgarh has changed the landscape of Dhamori Village in Maharashtra. This village was suffering from a water crisis, and the farmers were stressed from lack of irrigation. There was garbage spread everywhere. There used to be no facilities for children and teenagers to play, but with village development plan prepared by the team from Critical Places, the irrigation problems of the Dhamori Village are now solved. The streets are cleaner and the art and paintings on the walls of the village give a whole new look to the community. This brings smiles to the residents of Dhamori, especially the children.
The Upper House (Rajyasabha) of Indian Parliament’s member (MP) Dr. Vikas Mahatme made a vital contribution to changing the state of Dhamori Village, which is adjacent to the city of Amravati in Maharashtra. Dr. Mahatme had adopted this village previously; however, the future development of Dhamori Village was not promising before Critical Places arrived. Thanks to Dr. Mahatme’s initiative and advice, a team from Critical Places came to the village and changed its landscape.
Alpa Nawre, an architect originally from Chhattisgarh and currently working in Florida as an assistant professor, along with her team – architect Skandha Upadhyaya (Raipur), marine engineer Saurabh Lohiya (Rajnandgaon), Kabir Lohiya, Lesli Johnson from America and Teesaj Wai Wong from Hong Kong – created a Village Development plan to address the problems of the villagers and to aid healthy and happy living. Alpa initially presented this plan on her website, and when the MP came across it, he contacted her.
The farmers of Dhamori Village were struggling with irrigation and the hard water composition made the problems worse. In this scenario, the only probable solution was to conserve the rainwater. The villagers lacked awareness about cleanliness as well. There were no places for children to play. The lakes and ponds were also in extremely bad shape.
To begin, the team from Critical Places gathered the villagers and encouraged them to be a part of the project – to volunteer for the development of their own village. The plan started with solving the irrigation crisis and primarily utilized rainwater harvesting to do so. Along with providing an ample supply of water for farming – a waste disposal system was designed, a drainage plan for the sewage water was arranged, and suggestions for improving the state of the roads and electrical systems were made.
The inhabitants of the Dhamori greatly supported the proposed changes to the landscape of the village. On Christmas Day (25th of December), the volunteers from the village and the Critical Places team built a drainage system and an attractive stair leading to a new public space near the village pond. The stair utilized donated recycled tires. Some villagers even financially support this cause. With the financial and physical help of the villagers, the walls of the village hall were painted and swings for the children and an outdoor gym space for the youth were constructed. MP Dr. Vikas Mahatme also volunteered during construction and inaugurated the playground and the outdoor gym.
Successful in making people aware
“This is the first time I had the opportunity to work in Dhamori, and I am happy that the people of the village are now aware of rainwater harvesting and waste management strategies. Our greatest achievement with the project in Dhamori is a change in mindset. The villagers no longer complain about various teams coming into their home that only thinks about themselves and does not care about the village and its villagers. I am very happy that this complaint came to rest with the development plan executed by the team members of Critical Places.” -Saurabh Lohiya