On the Sunday, 23rd of Feb 2014, the fishermen from the adivasi communities at the Dimbhe dam near Manchar rowed their boats into the dam not to get their routine catch but to compete in the unique boat racing competition they organize each year. They gathered together: men, women and kids for their yearly festivity to recognize and celebrate all the hard work they have put throughout the year by letting their hair down.
There were boat races not only for men, women and kids but also a unique race for the husband-wife duo was organised with the audience hoping the couples complete the race and not go on a romantic rendezvous’ on the beautiful Dimbhe dam located amidst the serene Sahyadri mountain ranges. And they did complete the race! Winners of each category were given felicitated and given prizes at the end of the competition. It was a full-house and cheering the participants were kids from the neighbouring school, local villagers, the Sarpanch from the village and Mr. Anand Kapoor and Ms. Kusum Karnik from ‘Shashwat’, our partner working for the adivasi community in Dimbhe dam since the 1980’s.
With our support and Shashwat’s interventions, the livelihood of the adivasis living in the region has drastically improved over a period with 257 days of fishery this year. This year the Fisheries Cooperative caught 23 tons of fish with plans to double it by next year. Sales recorded this year were Rs. 19 lakhs compared to Rs. 7 lakhs last year, making it profitable. The major fixed expenses are towards fishing nets which are replaced every year, green manure planted along the dam side to increase nutrients for the fish which also acts as manure for cultivation when water recedes.
Support from corporates is sought to further help in growing sales; good quality nets which help in more catch per individual would significantly increase the total catch. This would increase their profitability and going ahead they would use the savings to purchase nets. Imparting vocational skill based training to the fishermen in other dams around the region is also an area where corporate support is sought. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested to know more about opportunities to support the adivasis to improve their livelihoods.