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Dighir Ganguly Foundation’s Innovative Approach is an Opportunity for the Munda Community to Break Out of the Cycle of Poverty

Dighir Ganguly Foundation

Sujan Singh belongs to the Munda community and lives in Sunderbans. He lives by the river and his main source of income is trawling fish. 


Sundarbans is a mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers in the Bay of Bengal. The region faces many climate change-related impacts. Communities living here fight tides every day and are affected by floods every year.  Natural disasters force people in this region to migrate to parts of the country in search of safety and sustainable livelihoods. 


Fishing remains a key source of livelihood in this region. 


On a good day, Sujan can earn up to INR 1000 to INR 2000. However, when the supply of fish in the market increases, his income can drop to as low as INR 300 per day, becoming as bad as INR 20 to INR 30 when things look very bleak. On the whole, his income is not enough to meet his needs and those of his family. 


Sujan’s limited income has directly impacted the nutritional status of his family. Given their circumstances, his children are unable to get an education.  At times, he has to turn to his neighbours or extended family for financial support to help him pay for his children’s school fees. He is aware that without getting the right kind of education his children will be stuck in the same cycle of poverty as him. But there is not much he can do to change things as they are where he lives.


“Knowledge is important to make the right kind of judgments in life.  I want my children to get a good education so that they can make good decisions for themselves. I am doing the best I can, but with some support, things can change greatly for my family,” Sujan shares. 


This is where the Digir Ganguly Foundation’s work has a significant impact. The Foundation works with the Munda community to make them more resilient to recurring natural disasters in the area. They provide essential support, such as food and shelter, when natural disasters strike. The Foundation provides capacity building so that community members can expand their livelihood options to tourism and other sources. The Foundation is also currently developing a school for the children who live there. Once the school is functional, the community members are hopeful that their children will also be able to have access to quality education. The Foundation also provides other support such as clothing for children and extra-curricular activities for them. 


Another challenge the communities here face is when the river floods over. When the river water takes over, those living in low-lying areas have to find dry land. When this happens the Digir Ganguly Foundation opens up safe shelters that they can move to till the water resides. The Foundation has built disaster-resilient shelters using a mix of traditional and modern techniques keeping the local community’s needs in mind. In normal times, these shelters are used as schools and health care centres that the communities can access easily. 

" Getting fulfilling nourishment is completely dependent on our income. Because of the frequent flooding in this area, we are often devoid of basic needs and food, and we fail to provide our children with proper education "

Sujan Singh, a 32-year-old fisherman.

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