Standing for change in front of an angry mob
At the beginning of Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti (GRAVIS) over 30 years ago, founder Shashi Tyagi remembers that they were confronted by an angry mob who opposed cross-caste organizing in Rajasthan, India.
Defying cautious advice, she stepped in front of the mob and scolded them, reminding them of the future that they were collectively headed towards.
Over thirty years later, Shashi Tyagi is just one of a chorus of voices reminding multiple generations of our shared fates. Representing over 1.2 million people, GRAVIS has not slowed down. GRAVIS’s programs have grown to serve 500 remote, tribal communities throughout Rajasthan. Which receives the least amount of rainfall in all of India. Families in the Thar desert who have to fight for every bit of security – food, water, medicine, education, and hope.
GRAVIS has maintained a balance of organizing for livelihood, health, gender rights and social progress through scores of programs led by the communities that they serve. GRAVIS’ programs include education, health, women’s empowerment and income generation, microcredit, water resource development, agriculture, forestry, land management, and labor rights.
Founding hospitals, clinics, and research – GRAVIS has also led public health efforts to support minors and particularly those who are vulnerable to silicosis, a disease common to those to are involved in mining for minerals.
Using self-help groups as the basis of this large network, GRAVIS has always stood for change – even in the face of local and regional opposition. Now Shashi Tyagi’s son, Prakash Tyagi, is leading GRAVIS and carrying the torch towards a universal commitment to public health across all demographic barriers. Proudly representing the many communities of the Thar Desert, the Tyagi family and GRAVIS continues to be a voice of the generations of change to come.
Learn more about GRAVIS’ work on our blog.
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