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Dr Prakash Tyagi follows in the footprints of his father to serve the tribal community of the Thar Desert, Rajasthan



Dr Prakash Tyagi follows in the footprints of his father to serve the tribal community of the Thar Desert. Nowadays there is a new tradition formed by NGO owners to handover the NGO to their children, even though these children never served the community or the NGO as volunteers. But Dr Prakash Tyagi is not a follower of this NGO business tradition.  He joined his father’s organization as a volunteer and served the community as a doctor for many years before becoming the director of the GRAMIN VIKAS VIGYAN SAMITI, GRAVIS. 

Dr Prakash Tyagi is a medical doctor with a good reputation.  He could has a bright career as a medical doctor abroad or in a metro city of India. But he preferred to work in interior villages of the Thar Desert, a region with basic characteristics of scorching summers, chilly winters, dry monsoons and dust storms where the annual rainfall can be as small as 200 mm, declining to as little as 100 mm in some parts. 

Talking with Ground Report India, Dr Prakash says “I visited interior villages with my parents and saw my parents serving and struggling for the needy people. My father became my ideal and I decided to serve the community rather than join the rat-race to build mycareer.” He also pays thanks to his mother, Shashi Tyagi, who is an educationist and a community social worker, and still motivates him today to serve the community. 

Dr Prakash Tyagi, the director of GRAVIS, says, “The increasing desertification and natural degradation, as well as persistent droughts, have worsened the living conditions of the communities in the Thar desert drastically in recent years. The Thar desert communities are one of the victims of uneven growth seen all over India, and deserves the attention of the government and the development sector before its story gets buried under the sand.” 

Tyagi adds, “For a development organization, the Thar desert is one of the most difficult places to work. The physical environment has rendered the land basically inhabitable and inaccessible. But, the needs of the people here are great, as education, health, and even just bare necessities like water and food remain out of reach for many.”

GRAVIS has been working for drinking water, community health, education and livelihood in desert for last few decades.

Drinking Water:

GRAVIS constructs TANKA, NAADI and other water bodies for drinking and domestic uses of water. TANKA is a domestic water storage body below the surface and receives rainfall runoff water by harvesting rainfall from a small catchment . There are mainly two types of TANKA, family TANKA for a family and a community TANKA for a group of families. NAADI is a water body for the community, which is larger than a TANKA and used only for drinking purposes.  The construction of TANKA reduces women and girl’s drudgery to fetch water from long distances.  This gives girls the chance to attend school.

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GRAVIS Community Hospital:

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Family Vegetable Garden:

GRAVIS is promoting family vegetable garden owned and managed by a family.

Community Pastures established by the GRAVIS: 

For landless farmers access to forage is important to sustain their animal husbandry activities.  These community pastures are planted with productive native grasses that support forage.

Education Centres and Village Information Centres:

One big achievement of GRAVIS in the field of education is an education centre that was started by GRAVIS but after few years it was adopted by the local village community.  Today this school is now being run and managed by the local village community. There is a nominal fee for the student in this school ,which is used in construction and maintenance of the school.

“I arrived at GRAVIS in July 2005 to begin a ten month Hart Fellowship from Duke University (United States). A few weeks into my stay in Jodhpur, GRAVIS was shocked by the loss of L. C. Tyagi ji, its beloved founder and Director. It was at that time that I truly came to know what GRAVIS meant. This is not just an organization; it is a community whose members have sustained each other through hardship. The people that work here don’t just work here; they belong here. They care about one another and they care for one another. They have dedicated their lives to this work. And that passion is what has made GRAVIS successful.” Hayden Kantor

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