This report combines notes and observations of the photographer and Thomas Palghadmal, social department manager of the Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR). Thomas was my host, guide and translator when we visited Thakarwadi in mid November.
Thakarwadi is a small hamlet of the main village Vankute in Sangamner block of Ahmednagar district. It is located about two-and-a-half kilometers from Vankute and lies 300-400 ft. high in the mountainous region. It is difficult to reach the village during the rainy season due to the unavailability of proper roads. The houses are made up of stone and mud with weak roofs. The hamlet consists of 19 households with a population of 350 people. Nearly half of the population belongs to the Thakar tribe, which migrated to the hilltops about 60 years ago from elsewhere in the Amednagar district. The government ceded the land to them.
Because the hamlet is situated atop a plateau, there was no permanent source of water before WOTR implemented a drinking water project. Villagers relied upon rainwater that was stored in a shallow well that would hardly last until the summer season. The remainder of the year village women had to travel two or three kilometers up and down the hills to fetch water for themselves and for their livestock. It was a tedious task for them.
With the support of Blue Planet Network, WOTR excavated a well and piped water to a central tap in the hamlet. They also improved the road to bring in cement and sand for construction. There is now sufficient water throughout most of the year. The project was completed in 2007. Having water in the hamlet has freed the women to look for work to augment household income, such as farm labor in nearby fields.