In spite of water connections in the area, women of Shramiknagar, an area in Nashik, would wake up every day at 5 am to fetch water from a nearby tank for six months. Reason being that the officials would refuse to supply water to their area, which is home to over 450 families. “We kept arguing with the men at the main water tank to release water meant for us but to no avail,” said Rukminibai Doke, a resident of Shramiknagar. The women of all age would toil two hours daily, carrying pots full of water across busy roads while still paying for the water connection. Chandrakala, another resident was hit by a fast approaching car one morning while she crossed the roads with pots laden with water.
Then one day a woman thought ‘Enough is enough’. Video Volunteers’ Maharashtra correspondent Maya Khodve, resident of the same locality decided to take up the issue and shoot a video of the problem, documenting the anguish shared by many women. She gathered the community, showed them the video and conducted a training to inform them about their rights. Maya also told them about community movements and showed them how change is possible when a community raises its voice. “In the last six months we had tried everything from complaining to the workers near the tank, to talking to the corporator but no one paid heed to us. At that point a community led movement was the only way to get our water,” explains Maya.
The women of Shramiknagar inspired by Maya’s courage held demonstrations for seven days and met with the corporator armed with the video that showed their daily problems. “We saw Maya tai (sister) making the video, conducting meetings and felt that all women should join the movement she had started,” said Rukminibai. Today after six months of water shortage, the women of Shramiknagar welcome water into their homes. The residents are happy with the water they get. “We get water only once a day but it is sufficient” says a smiling Rukmanibai