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Delegation of Ekta Parishad visited villages in Bihar

Jill Carr-Harris attended with four other Ekta Parishad-staff from Patna and Bhopal four villages around the city of Gaya in Bihar. Jill Carr-Harris did a research to find out what are the main concerns of the villagers. The Ekta Parishad-delegation visited Pathera, Sekwara, Panchayat, Bauwar and Baheradih.

The challenges in the villages have different sources, but they have also clear parallels: A lot of families have to less land to make build up a livelihood. The most land belongs to landlords which are demanding to high prices for an acre of land - up to 10 000 Rs. per acre.

The villages people do not have the resources to pay a certain amount. Therefore they are working in the brickmaking. For ten bricks they earn Rs. 1.5. The laboureres work from 4am to 9am in the morning daily for six months a year. The other six months they are working as wage labourers in the field and getting paid 10 bundles for every 100 cut and bound. They want to get a share cropping arrangement because it ensures a better income. In next meetings they discuss how to arrange such a share cropping.

The education in this villages has improved a little: The Tara Helping Education Center, an organization working to get children to the government school, gave the children incentives to get books, uniform and paper.

The main work in the next village, Bauwar, is wage labour which cutting crops. They also do brick work - and some people working under MNREGA. It was mentioned that they had worked one and a half year back under the RSBY scheme and received smart cards. About 20-30 men of families were working outside in other states and other parts of Bihar.

The Dalit community in Bauwar also expressed the difficulty of sending their children to school. To get to school is unsafe and the school did not accept their children in the lessons.They therefore sent their children to another school but the teacher did not show up in the class. They are planning to go to the block office to meet the school inspector and make a complaint.

In Baheradih exits also a strong Mahila Samit under the leadership of Monidevi. They have monthly meetings and sometimes weekly meetings when it necessary. In this village Ekta Parishad has conducted workshops and could count on the participation in the Padyatras of villagers.The community is strong and holds together.
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