Seema Sadhika, a 36-year old Doctor by profession is a Bengaluru resident. Since she was a medical student, she used to visit various villages for health camps and from there she developed an interest in going out of her way to helping poor section of the society. In the month of May 2015, Seema started an NGO known as Namma Mitra Foundation, in Karnataka which works for community development and rural empowerment in the villages of Karnataka.
Being a medical student, Seema was conducting camps in North Karnataka when some woman came up to her and said, “You come once in six months, you do this camp for three months and once we are diagnosed, you give us treatment. But in between, this time, we have nowhere to go.” The problem was not new but yet very crucial. When Seema asked them that if they have any solution for this, they immediately expressed that if they would have jobs and make their self-living, they would be then able to afford healthcare services without the need for health camps.
Banadur village of Karnataka was the first village where she started working for providing the solutions for the people instead of being warned by many. It was not an easy path, people elaborated the situation of the villages that they were not united with some religion-based conflicts where each individual had a different set of ideas that he/she wanted to work with.
So, after a lot of researches and surveys, she came up with the idea of working for children which seemed to be the only way with her to bring all the villagers on the same table for any discussions. She took her volunteers to children and tried to understand their issues regarding education, sanitation, and cleanliness. According to Seema, “We found that the children were intelligent but many of them had to drop out from schools or they were not able to score good marks. And the reason behind this, they said, was the lack of electricity. It used to be dark by the time they returned from schools, and could not study anything after reaching home.”
Dr. Seema’s Foundation, Namma Mitra Foundation has helped them to study better by installing a mini solar-grid in the village, which now provides electricity to almost 70 houses, and powers street lights. With electricity, children can now study even after sunset.
She also came to know about students who were willing to take some extra tuition classes for a few additional topics which require detailed knowledge but no teacher was willing to come to the village and teach. So, the NGO came up with the solution in the form of E-Shala. It is a smart classroom idea which helps students gain access to audio-visual content. “Because of E-Shala, the confidence levels of the kids have now improved and their marks are also improving. Currently, 30-40 kids come in every day,” says Seema.
They work with the full assistance of locals by collecting Rs. 20 every month from each house and then paying salary to the caretaker of the solar grid. Through this, they even create jobs for villagers.
In addition to these, Namma Mitra has also started a tailoring training center for both men and women and is currently working on setting up a computer lab in the village school. They have plans for future also by expanding same projects to Kukrewada and other villages. Her team of volunteers has helped villagers in every sense it could to lead a better life. “I am mostly in the village. We now have a kind of bond because even for the smallest problems they call me; they invite me for any function in their house and I have to be there,” smiles Dr. Seema.