The numerous initiatives by VSSM at the grassroots as well as policy levels are designed to steer in change in the prevailing conditions of the Nomadic and De-notified communities. However along with these initiatives it also becomes important to stimulate progressive change in the orthodox and rigid mindsets of these communities. Such shifts within the communities accompanied with the change at policy levels will benefit the coming generations of the Nomadic and De-notified communities.
Some of the continued efforts in this direction are:
Restructuring the traditional community associations:
The collective efforts of some communities and VSSM has resulted into formation and restructuring of 6 Community Association of Raval, Bajaniya, Nathwadi, Vansfoda, Bharthari, Kangasiya communities. The continuous dialogue by VSSM with the elders of these communities has resulted into increasing number of youth with progressive mindsets given space by community elders in such associations. Such transition becomes very crucial when it comes to introducing certain unorthodox initiatives targeted to curb child marriages, dowry, expenditure on related marriages, deaths and rituals related to illness. The dynamic young leadership also becomes instrumental in changing the perceptions of communities on issues like education and livelihood earning. As a result of the efforts of the community association the Raval community of Prantij and Deesa blocks made a path breaking choice by organizing mass marriages to avoid unnecessary expenses.
VSSM has considered it necessary to have political participation from the NT-DNTs on any possible level, but these communities have always resisted it. Political representation, it is envisaged, can give voice to the chronic issues these communities struggle to overcome. As the time progresses we are seeing growing acceptance of these communities by the privileged society. Such acceptance is boosting their self-confidence and self-esteem. They are shedding away their inhibitions of interacting with other privileged communities. The last couple of years have seen members from Nomadic and De-notifed communities showing preparedness to participate in the political activities at the village and block levels. They are even gaining political support from other communities. Members from Nomadic and De-notifed communities have contested elections at village and block panchayatlevels, and a couple of them have even won the elections.
JayantibhaiRaval from Vagad village, Prahaladbhai from the village of Bajaniyapura have been elected as Sarpanch from these villages where as Shankarbhai Nat has been elected as member of Panchyat in Tokarwad village. Jayantibhai with his remarkable zest and wisdom is doing some exemplary work in his village winning confidence and appreciation of those who once opposed him vehemently. Similarly the dedication and hard work of Dilipbhai Raval, elevated him from the position of member to Vice-President of Pratinj Nagar Palika (town-corporation).
VSSM has also recently launched campaigns on De-addiction and Savings Group formations to inculcate the habit of savings amongst these communities.