‘One phone call a day to keep problems away’ is the basic mantra with which Suresh Ediga, living in New York, has been working for people in rural India. It was four years ago that Suresh came to know about CGNet Swara, a voice-based news portal, operational in Adivasi areas of states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Telangana, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.
CGNet Swara is basically a platform where people can report or listen to news on local issues by dialling a number. All the recorded messages are translated into Hindi and English and published on the website, where journalists, NGOs and other organisations can listen to them and help resolve the problems.
Immediately after going through the website some years ago, Suresh decided to help. He would take one issue every week, call up the concerned authorities in India, and would keep calling until some action was taken.
After a few years of doing this, he decided to get more people on board so the impact could be larger. Today, he leads a group of 12 NRIs who meet online once every week, discuss and decide which issues they will take up, and make all the necessary calls.
Here are the many ways in which this group has helped create change in rural India, while sitting far, far away:
1. When a village in Chhattisgarh got electricity
2. When 2,000 people got access to safe drinking water
3. When a village got its own bus service for the first time in years
4. When Baiga Adivasis received their pensions
5. When 500 people got a source of water after 15 years
SOURCE: The Better India