Robinhood of Sundarbans: Prasenjit Mandal
Sundarbans, October 7: The world’s largest delta region located in the Ganga-Brahmaputra estuary. Although the area is large, the standard of living of the inhabitants of the region is very low. However, due to the fact that rivers and multiple deltas isolate the region, the transport and communication system has not improved much in the area. On the other hand, Sundarbans are far away from the modern idea of being far away from the central city. As a result, the residents of this region are deprived of the basic needs of life, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical, and educational facilities.
Living in a deltaic area like the Sundarbans is actually very difficult. Because the main source of livelihood of the people living in the Sundarbans area is the conservation and cultivation of fish from the deep forest and riverside areas, ignoring the encroachment and life of the animals. Apart from this, the natives are constantly suffering from natural disasters like Ayala, Amphan, Fani, Yash, etc. Due to these natural calamities, the people of Sundarbans have lost their houses and crops. After the disaster, the house-to-house disease pushed the Sundarbans residents into a more unfavourable situation. Although there are facilities like government education and medical treatment, it is of very poor quality. The people of Sundarbans have to go far away, i.e. cities, to get better medical facilities. Due to this, many people lost their lives without treatment in emergency situations.
On top of that, the global epidemic of “Covid-19” in the last few years has put the people of the area in more crisis.
Sri Prasenjit Mandal, son of Bali 2 village panchayat in the Gosaba area of Sundarbans, has always stood by the side of these remote Sundarban residents against all the above adversities. For more than 15 years, he has been serving the people of the surrounding area day and night.
Prasenjit Mandal lived with his parents and siblings since childhood in a small thatched mud house at one end of Bali village, which became uninhabitable due to natural calamities. The family’s only source of income was farming, which was the family’s only means of livelihood.
As a result of continuous irregular natural disasters, on the one hand, the loss of cultivation, water-mud, and other adverse environmental conditions, cause a big problem in daily life for the residents and families, also transportation – communication – health – education, and other aspects of well-being in the area. Due to the non-availability of services, the survival of people from all sides becomes a big challenge for themselves.
The struggle of the villagers and their survival in the midst of adverse circumstances since childhood had a profound impact on Prasenjit Mandal’s psyche, changing his mindset and life goals. His only goal in life is to extend a helping hand to the people of Bali and Sundarbans from all sides. So after completing his school education, he moved to Kolkata city in 2010, ignoring the family’s rejection to earn some money through any kind of work to further his higher education and extend any kind of helping hand to the people of the area.
Sundarbans being a traditional travel centre, Sri Prasenjit Mandal utilized this facility and its own social network to attract the attention of various dignitaries from Kolkata and surrounding areas to the low-cost Sundarbans tour opportunities, which gradually spread across the country. Spread abroad and act as a travel guide for local and foreign travellers at various times, as temporary money was earned through this work, personal opinion – inspiration – help travellers become determined to make the goal of life stronger and bigger.
In this situation, Shri Prasenjit Mandal created a private service organization called “Sundarban Foundation” in 2017 for the maximum improvement of the villagers and the people of the society. To always stand by the people in the Sundarbans area at all levels as a companion in happiness and sorrow. Prasenjit Mondal received a certificate in appreciation and inspiration for the individual and social welfare work he has been doing through “Sundarban Foundation”.
Activities of Sundarban Foundation
Honey and fish conservation
Being the main livelihood of the area, many people ignore the attack and life of the animals and go to the deep forest, as a result of which the life of many people in doubt due to the attack animals; as a result, many families are complete without income; therefore, Sundarban Foundation at its own expense distributes free food and clothing to the families of dead fishermen and honey collectors in the area at different times. Granted. So far, around 500 families have benefited from it.
Free education services
Prasenjit Mandan always dreams of building a better society. That is why “Sunderban Ardash School” has been developed for the children of poor families of Sundarban with the aim of building a well-educated and developed society by celebrating education, where he has provided better education to the children of the area without any cost.
Sundarban Foundation, under the initiative of Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Government of India, has provided training and opportunities to incomeless families to become self-reliant through various activities and to take their precious life forward in the right direction through self-informed beekeeping from home and till now about 500 widow women’s families have been trained as “Madhu”. Collection Box” provided. The Sundarbans Foundation, an initiative of Khadi and Village Industries Commission, Government of India, has engaged more than 1000 women (married/widowed women) and school dropout youth in various skill training programs and empowered them to become self-reliant.
Free health care
Due to the lack of proper road connectivity in the area, many people do not get the right treatment at the right time, or when they get it, it is too late; there are also many who have to die at home because there is no one, so the Sundarbans Foundation opens its own “charitable medical centre”, through which About 500-600 people come for treatment of various problems every month for free. So far, at least 7500 people have benefited from various services, and free glasses were provided to about 500 people by organizing free “eye examination” with the help of “Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College & Hospital” and the efforts of Sundarban Foundation. The foundation even provides “wheelchairs” to some disabled youth.
Help during covid 19
When the global epidemic “Corona Virus” engulfed the life of every human being, it had an unimaginable impact on people’s income, food, clothing, shelter, family, and society, and people could not find a way to live even if they wanted to live, especially in areas like the Sundarbans, the size of the disaster. At that time, through the Sundarban Foundation’s “Charitable Medical Center” with the financial help of some personalities of the society – with the help of some youths of the village – young women and mothers accompanied people through “awareness camps” at various places in the area to make people aware and free treatment, oxygen, and ambulance services. Starting with 2 lakh masks, 500 families have distributed food items, clothes, and hand sanitisers; moreover, 500 elderly – old women – disabled – lonely families were also delivered door-to-door masks, food items, clothes, and hand sanitisers free of charge.
An important contribution to the natural beauty of the Sundarbans and the preservation of the riverbed is the “mangrove forest”, which hugs the riverbed like a mother, thereby saving thousands of families from the inundation of the river, while the natural calamities and tides at different times of the year slow the erosion of the riverbed. “Mangrove forests” are disappearing, so under the special initiative of the Sundarban Foundation, more than 500,000 “mangrove forests” were planted in the riverbeds with the efforts of 50 women in the village in exchange for wages to make women self-reliant.
Sundarbans Foundation has formed two separate “Disaster Management Teams” with five members, both men, and women, to deal with emergency disasters; they are always ready to deal with any kind of disaster. Especially with the combined efforts of each member of this team, it has been possible to quickly deal with other natural disasters, starting from riverbanks, houses, and other natural disasters affected by the effects of unimaginable cyclones like Ayala and Yas, even they provide various services from door to door. Moreover, this team always visits the area so that any problem can be solved on an urgent basis.
Help the poor
The Sundarbans Foundation has always been at its side, distributing essential items ranging from tarpaulin to the poor families of villages who still live in mud houses with thatched roofs that have become uninhabitable due to storms and disasters. To date, more than 700 families have taken this benefit. Moreover, the foundation to date has played a major role in social and economic development by providing fish seedlings, rice seeds, and fruit seedlings with the aim of making about 200 poor families self-reliant and earning, which is still going strong.
Construction of crematorium
It is said that the suffering of the people of Sundarbans does not go away even after death. The family of the deceased has to face many problems to cremate the body. Due to this problem, Prasenjit Mandal, beloved by the villagers, was always crying. During this year, he constructed a cremation ground for cremation where villagers can cremate their loved ones.
Above all, through the Sundarbans Foundation, the Bali and Gosaba Blocks have become a tourist destination for tourists from home and abroad visiting the Sundarbans and surrounding areas, which has strengthened the social economy.
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