NRI couple adopts a village in Maharashtra


An incident at a railway station decades ago, where he bumped into a young boy offering to polish his shoes in order to pay for her education, led Ashish Kalawar to quit his high-paying job in the UK and relocate to India to work for the people of Lonewadi village in Maharashtra. Along with his wife Ruta, the trustees of Shivprabha Charitable Trust in Pune, work relentlessly for the empowerment of people across five districts including Lonewadi, Pusad, and Chandrapur in Maharashtra through social work and meditation camps. “It’s the joy of giving, and helping people reach their highest potential,” says Ruta.

The joined hands with Amol Sainwar, at the Shivprabha Charitable Trust to help transform the lives of Lonewadi villagers in Nashik. It was the difficult lives of villagers that struck a chord – a drought-affected tribal village with no electricity or drinking water. The women and children had to walk for hours to fetch water.

“Ruta and I joined Amol as the trustees, working on many projects – toilet construction (30), digitisation of schools and meditation camps,” says Ashish who also heightened his social responsibility with social work and spirituality.

Farmers in Lonewadi were in a terrible state many had turned to alcohol burdened with interests from money lenders. So, the couple started counselling farmers and holding meditation sessions. “The sessions had a profound effect. Within months, 80 percent left alcohol. We didn’t preach, instead, the self-realisation from meditation helped them stay away from alcohol,” reveals Ashish. “Open defecation was another challenge.”

Ruta and Ashish have spread their wings to 10 districts in Maharastra, and eight states, and are heartened to see their efforts bring light into village lives. “We are happy to have become instruments of change,” says Ashish whose wants to see people become self-sufficient.

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