Koushayla is one of our inspirational village partners from Kiapadar village in India, who's extraordinary leadership made the impossible possible. Find out how her actions have benefited more than 1,200 people in her community.
Originally published by The Hunger Project.
32 years old, recently literate and serving as an Elected Ward Member in Kiapadar village in India. This means she represents the people in her village at the local government level.
Many people in her community were unable to receive their monthly ration of rice.
Twice a month, hundreds of people gathered in front of Koushalya’s house for their rice ration distributed through the Public Distribution System. She realised that many people were unable to receive their monthly ration of rice because it was nearly impossible for them to reach the office.
In order to get to the office, one has to walk almost 4 miles through the jungle before reaching the main road, and then has to travel for another 2 to 3 miles. People have to walk the entire distance as there is no other means of transport on that road. To make matters worse, the village road becomes muddy and unapproachable during rains. There are also fears of wild animals, especially tigers, roaming in the evening.
She demanded rice to be distributed at her village, but was told it was impossible.
When Koushalya discussed her village’s issue with other Elected Ward Members, she discovered that people in other wards were also suffering through the same challenges. So in the next assembly meeting, Koushalya demanded rice to be distributed at her village. She was met with sympathy, but was told that it would be impossible to transport rice every time to her village for distribution.
She then came up with a novel solution.
She offered one room of her tiny house to store rice so that people could find their rations at a shorter distance. Now rice is being distributed to villagers of the four wards twice a month, and community members go to at Koushalya’s house to retrieve it. The Panchayat Executive Officer comes to weigh and deliver rice to people under Koushalya’s supervision. This arrangement has benefitted more than 1,200 people in four wards.
Koushalya believes in the possible.
In her time as an Elected Woman Representative, she has successfully had a concrete road constructed from her village to the main road, and has both developed and implemented pension plans for widows and senior citizens. She has provided housing for homeless people in her ward, and was instrumental in streamlining the Midday Meal Program in the village school.
According to Koushalya, training from The Hunger Project has boosted her confidence and morale as a representative for the people in her community.
Reach out and invest in changemakers like Koushalya.