The Jowar collected from each village, under the Jowar Health Assurance scheme, would be sold and the money deposited in the bank account of the village fund. A portion of the fund would be transferred to a corpus, under the aegis of the Kasturba Health Society(KHS), and the interest accrued from this would be used for procuring drugs and organizing educational and development activities at village level. This formed the basis for the evolution of the Village Education & Development Fund.
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Alumni funded initiatives are largely delivered through Prof Ulhas Jajoo’s social initiative which is an excellent catalyst in a much needed sphere and ensures agrarian empowerment. Our interactions with many a village in Sevagram and Wardha during our medical training brought us face to face with Gandhiji’s vision of rural socio-economic development for a strong and powerful nation. Six decades into independence has brought many developments all around in India but not fast enough or sufficient enough for rural India. Opportunities and consequent inequalities between urban and rural India continue to grow. Poverty does not have to be absolutely brutal in its presence or vivid in description - poverty is a farmer committing suicide in rural Sevagram and Wardha; poverty is the widening gap between the ‘haves and have nots’ in India’s socio-economically diverse groups. Poverty is when a farmer forcefully mortgages his farmland to pay for his family’s basic needs. The luxury of choosing where one wants to live, what work one wants to do, having access to basic social amenities like toilets, clean drinking water, electricity, well-resourced local schools will stem rural migration to overcrowded cities and will go far in addressing many factors contributing to Vidarbha’s rising famer suicide rates.
VEDF-Village Education and Development Fund: