An NRI couple empowered a rural village in Maharashrta

Ashish Kalawar, a young electronics engineer posted in Bokaro, was waiting at the station for a train to his hometown of Pune. Ashish’s career was growing fast. He now felt it was time for him to get married and settle down. When he met Ruta, another electronics engineer, his happiness was complete.

He got married and, in 2009, moved to the United Kingdom in search of better paying jobs. As their income grew, the two thought they should apply for citizenship to that country. But future was thought differently for them.

Ashish and Ruta Kalawar left their well-paying jobs in England and returned to India to help empower the rural citizens of the country. Help them make their adopted village open-defecation free!Fifteen years ago. A little boy approached him and offered to polish his shoes. Ashish immediately told the kid that at his age he should be going to school and not working. The boy replied that he was working to support his education and used the money he earned from polishing shoes to pay for school. Impressed with his spirit and determination, Ashish let him do his work and paid him double. The boy was delighted and could not stop himself from jumping with joy.

Soon, the couple started visiting the Skanda Vale temple located in South Wales frequently. They would volunteer their time at the temple on weekends and find solace in meditation and helping others.  They also participated in a 7 km charity walk to raise funds for the Skanda Vale hospice.

Ashish and Ruta finally found their mission in life when they visited India for a short period in 2012. One of their relatives, Amol Sainwar, had started an NGO called Shivprabha Charitable Trust and was planning to adopt a remote village in Maharashtra.

The village, Lonwadi in the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, was located on a hill. It had no electricity, no water system and no roads. Ashish and Ruta visited this village along with other team members of the Shivprabha Charitable Trust. They worked together towards the betterment of the village.

Today Lonwadi has good roads, electricity, a water system, and a digital school too – thanks to the efforts of the Shivprabha Charitable Trust and people like Ashish and Ruta. Now, this village is just one step away from being an ideal village – it still needs to become open-defecation free. Ashish and Ruta’s counselling sessions have helped the villagers realise the importance of using toilets. All households have applied for subsidies to build toilets at home but have not heard back from the government as yet.

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