2019 Annual Report
Making an impact on society requires persistence and dedication. It is a slow and tedious process with many roadblocks. Nevertheless, since Urja’s founding six years ago, we have had a fair share of small victories, and see the results of longer-term projects in our efforts to empower people in the most rural regions of India.
The entirely woman-run sanitary pad facilities we support and train produce 9000 pads per month, giving women in the region access to affordable care products and breaking a taboo. As each pad is heavier than cheaper pads, they can soak 100ml of water and remain dry. Further enhancements include better packaging containing health advice, and bio-degradable pads so they can be discarded in a more private manner.
The introduction of computer classes attracts over fifty students from nearby villages, who regularly attend to improve their computer literacy. Besides the benefits of being able to function in an ever digital world, the courses combat the stigma that computers are only for men as half the students are women, and also help reduce the mass exodus of younger people from villages to larger cities and Arab countries. At a job fair in Gorakhpur we were able to solicit for 40 placements of the students.
Urja’s venture into organic rice farming helps maintain larger rural populations in general. Our resurrection of an almost extinct regional rice variety, “Kala Namak”, has taught farmers modern practices in rice cultivation by giving them training from experts. Through donations we have been able to make large fields available for cultivation. The harvest happens collectively, with a bespoke brand for the organic rice so, as a team, we and the farmers get the best possible exposure and price for the rice. During the floods our rice was the only one left standing after the waters receded due to our organic farming practices.
Our initial 2014 efforts in solar panels have expanded to three units, of which 2 are containerized supporting 5kWh of power each. One unit provides all the needs for the Centre in Siswa. One containerized unit provides electricity to 25 small shops in the remote village of Raipur. One unit in Gorakhpur runs our sanitary pad unit. Our solar panels of 2014 are still running and providing electricity to stall holders around the Siswa Bazaar station.
Finally, we continue to empower children by simply trying to give them better lives. Where in past years we funded and helped build school libraries, this year we built a playground for the children of Reshma school, and girls’ toilets in seven schools. We also support children with small monthly funds based on extreme need.
Below we go into more detail on the work we have done in the past year. While we continue to empower and support people in rural India, our donors continue to empower and support us in our efforts. Your donations and kind words of encouragement mean the world to us and help us immensely in the sometimes rather difficult work we do.
Thank you for your continued support.
Founder and President