An emerging water leader from the remote reaches of Assam - Aruna Das
A resident of Amtola village in Lakhimpur district of Assam, 32 years old Aruna Das was born in the Dalit Assamese community. Inspired by the members of PAD – Oxfam team, who are implementing TROSA project, she began to attend the community meetings and training sessions. Today, as the president of the Water User Group (WUG) of her village, she leads her community to engage with the local government in voicing their water-related issues like flooding, water scarcity and sanitation and suggesting workable solutions.
As her village is located on the river basin of Ranganadi River, she and fellow residents suffer the ravages of the annual floods it brings. The Ranganadi river is fed by water released from the NEPCO dam upstream which floods the downstream villages every summer impacting roads, embankments and bridges. Leading from the front, Aruna has mobilized her villagers to unite for protests and demand the protection of their villages. This has resulted in the government heeding their calls and providing the embankments.
A passionate local campaigner, Aruna has not only succeeded in working with the government but also helps the government by acting as a whistleblower and keeping a close eye on the contractors' irregularities in constructing the embankments.
Turning adversity into opportunity.
During the Covid-19 lockdown period, Aruna Das kept herself busy in income-generating activities with the self-help group(SHG) in making handmade masks. Also skilled in weaving traditional clothes, she looks forward to sharing her skills and capacities with women in her community.