Stories of Change

Bhupat Kamaliya 

Bhupat is a young social change maker who had dedicated his life for development of the community at the grass root level. He was born in Sutrapada, a small village in Gir- Somanth district. His family includes seven members and he is the youngest of all the siblings. Hailing from a very humble background, Bhupat’s firm determination made him complete his schooling from government school in the district and made his way to pursue his higher education from Gujarat Vidyapeeth, Ahmadabad. While pursuing his Social work degree from Gujarat Vidyapeeth, he read Gandhiji’s autobiography and his vision of working in villages for its development and upliftment. This inspired Bhupat and the seeds of service were sowed in him. During his course, he met and interacted with Jayeshbhai and Anarben. Their life and learnings ignited the thought of doing something for the development of the nation and the seeds of wisdom grew which was nurtured by his mentors. He was also blessed to be under the guidance of Anandiben Patel, ex CM of Gujarat who gave him a platform to pursue his passion in social space. This led Bhupat land up in Lilapur Village in Ahmedabad. Since 2015, he has been engaged with Lilapur village for holistic development of the local community. In the past years, he has shown the community a new way to live a life which is led by fruits of compassion, wisdom from the elderly and youth for change. He has been engaged with the young minds of the community where his day starts with Prabhat Pheri followed by cleaning the villages. He works with the school children by engaging them in learning and sports activity so that these children could group up in an effective manner. His life has also been greatly inspired by Late Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th President of India and to take his dreams forward, Bhupat has setup Kalam Library in his village with support from the local community. The Library was setup with a mission to empower the young minds with the power of knowledge by taking inspiration by reading life of the eminent change makers like Gandhiji, Swami Vivekananda, and Verses from the Holy Scriptures. Bhupat has also worked with the community, especially the youth to eradicate social evils like Child marriage, alcohol and tobacco consumption, illiteracy, usage of plastic etc. His contribution towards environment can be seen in the form of small patches of greenery in the village to decrease the usage of plastic bags. He has also created two teams of Youth Bal Gopal and Service to Change with a mission of creating young leaders who could take the reins of the development of the village in future. The groups today have marked a milestone in the walk of development of the village. Bhupat believes that “Change is inevitable and one just needs patience and firm positive determination to work for it and it will come to you one day with glory”. Today this could be seen by his work and on the faces of the people he has met and the life of those he has touched.

Pankaj Chandrakantbhau Maheriya

Pankaj has been a social worker all his life with extensive experience of working with varied social causes. He started his social journey with ‘Tyaag nu Tiffin’ project which serve free tiffin service to destitute elderly women in urban slums. From past six years, he is associated with Environmental Sanitation Institute (ESI) and has dedicated his service space to create milestones in areas of Sanitation and Hygiene. He is involved in activities like Prabhat Feri, Nandini van and silent dinner with Anganwadi Teachers.  He visited more than 50 villages in Gujarat vicinity for regular awareness programmes on sanitation, health and hygiene. Other than Rural Development, Pankaj has also worked for natural disaster projects by spending time in flooded areas of Najupura village in Patan district along with a long stint in Kheda District where he worked for the development of local villages for three years. He has spearheaded the construction of toilets, street lights, Kalam Library, Garbh Sanskar Kendra, cleanliness drives, organizing NSS camps and much more. Meanwhile he also served people who were diagnosed with leprosy. We feel extremely happy and delightful being associated with Pankaj and writing his success story for rural development.