A 24 year old Delhi boy, Rahul Prasad stood as an inspiration for many youngsters by adopting a village in Karnataka. This final-year student of RV College of Engineering has adopted Bhadrapura, a small village 3km off Mysuru Road, in Ramanagara district. He first visited the village 4 years back as a part of a medical camp for children. He remembers going there with toothbrushes, soaps and other material for its Hakki Pikki tribal people and even taking classes on hygiene with fellow volunteers.
Last year, after many such hygiene camps, Rahul realized nothing had changed; Bhadrapura needed more than soap and toothpaste, it needed continuous engagement to bring in positive results. So he adopted the village along with its 140 families with an aim of developing it into a smart village by improving the quality of living conditions of villagers and is garnering the support of volunteers and the corporates to bring about a change.
Rahul’s organization, Juvenile Care Charitable Trust, which works for the upliftment of underprivileged children, has signed an agreement with the jurisdictional Manchanayakanahalli panchayat development officer and taken up work for welfare activities. While Rahul regularly visits his village, his volunteers drop in during weekends to participate in welfare activities.
Rahul and the other volunteers have managed to figure out 3 major health concerns for the village:
“We’ve identified three major issues bothering the villagers. They lack hygiene, with clogged roadside drains turning into breeding e grounds for mosquitoes. Open defecation is still a reality, despite the village being within 50km of IT City. The nearest hospital is about 8km away,” Rahul explains. They have also collected and distributed clothes for the villagers, especially for the pregnant women.
Last March, Rahul Prasad, who sees himself as a social entrepreneur, was presented the prestigious UN Karmaveer Chakra Award and REX Global Fellowship, instituted by the Indian Confederation of NGOs in association with the United Nations-a national medallion for proactive voluntary action.
When asked him if he doesn’t he miss the fun people of his age have -partying, or hanging out, he says, “It all depends on the definition of fun. I do like road trips and hanging out with buddies. If I have to go to Chennai on work, I don’t take a bus or train, I hire a car with volunteer friends and turn the journey into a road trip,” he smiles.
“The most awesome time in a day is when I spend time with my fellow villagers from the village I have adopted. Their hopes and expectations are the only motivation which makes me give my 100% to their improvement,” Rahul says.
The journey hasn’t been hunky-dory for Rahul. “A village is a complex phenomenon. There are positive and negative vibes, but its good I’m encountering all this early in life. I prefer to increase the number of positive-minded people and drive them towards change. For me, the village has become second home now.”
Rahul’s team is also looking at alternative power sources such as piezoelectric generators, by installing sensors below the main road. “There are plans to improve connectivity to the village by setting up startups here to create jobs,” he said.
In a nation where people complain about how underprivileged we are, People like Rahul Prasad, who along with some volunteers, has adopted a village and ensured its residents get basic amenities and healthcare. Today, Rahul looks at Bhadrapura with a possessive pride. There is a palpable change, and he knows he is driving it.