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An inspiration for the entire community

An inspiration for the entire community

Kappuri Devi, 33, a Goonj volunteer from Jharkhali-III village in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal. An epitome of passion, dedication and inspiration, she has not only helped Team Goonj to mobilise people of her community to rebuild houses and infrastructure destroyed in Cyclone Amphan but has also built new assets under Goonj’s ‘Dignity For Work’ #DFW initiative, and has helped in promoting gender equality and breaking the stigma around menstrual hygiene under the ‘Not Just a Piece of Cloth’ #NJPC initiative. Many come to Goonj eager to volunteer with the work we do in the rural pockets, urban-sphere and the disaster-hit areas. But it was a little different in case of Kappuri Devi… she volunteered simply because since childhood, she has had the habit of mobilizing the locals for community development. Cyclone Amphan not only took lives but had also destroyed homes and the local infrastructure completely. So, when Team Goonj went to her village to stand with the locals as they rebuilt, Kappuri Devi naturally came forward. Under our DFW initiative, she inspired and mobilized the locals to not only repair and rebuild the washed away homes, roads, bridges and embankments but also create additional assets like canals, ponds, mangrove plantation etc. “I usually walk more than 20 km daily to reach the intervention areas. I meet people, motivate and involve them in activities where they can see community assets being developed, with a sense of ownership,” she says. Kappuri Devi is not new to cyclones and the trail of destruction it leaves behind… She has witnessed and overcome many. Challenge is a daily affair for her. “My husband used to catch crabs from the river and sell them at the local market. One day, he was severely injured by a tiger and now, he has lost all mobility,” she told Team Goonj. But undeterred and fearless, with all the good work she does, Kappuri Devi is selfless and has no demands. “She is a remarkable woman. She has a big heart with a passion for development…she is an inspiration for us,” says Kapila Das, one of the local participants in the DFW work.

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