Bards of Change

Expanding Impactful action on Fluoride problem across India

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; Indeed its the only thing that ever has …

Fluorosis is an alarming health problem with more than 10 million people in India standing to face disability and other serious health problems because of high fluoride in their water across 22 States and 200 districts of India. The growing water problem just makes this worse as more children are getting Disabled every year.

The bright spot is that over the years, wonderful bottom-up work has happened on fighting this dreadful disease of Fluorosis that makes children crippled for life. See Nalgonda’s fight, the Jhabua story, the miraculous recovery of Assam’s children and Dhar’s people putting forward an example.

But, one must admit that inspite of these examples, there is a Big gap between the Scale of the India-wide problem and the capacity of responding to it. That’s where enter our Bards of Change — cometh the Fluoride Fellows.

Fluorosis affected children in Assam helped by the Assam fellow

Dharani from Assam, Subhash and Prasad from Nalgonda, Sachin, Kalpana and Arvind from Jhabua, and Kiran and Shreyas from Bangalore are the first batch of Fluoride fellows who have started to make a difference from Rajasthan to Assam and from Bihar to Karnataka. Institutions such as Biome trust, INREM Foundation, DFMC Nalgonda and FMSC Nagaron are local host partners in this effort.

The Fluoride Fellows program has been conceived by the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network keeping in mind the growing requirements of positive Safe water action and the need for local capacity to respond to government agencies, civil society organization or just individuals passionate to bring change.

The Fellows started with an internal sharing using the Safe Water Learning Cards, a unique methodology that encourage self learning on Safe water issues towards action. Once the fellows imbibed this process, they proceeded to implement this process on a group of 40 invitees, with great success.

Next, they embarked on a journey, that has been at breathtaking speed, given that there are so many requests for these fellows and there are only a handful of them right now for the entire country!

Fluorosis affected of Chhindwara being helped by our Fellows

Some of the recent examples of the Fluoride Fellows bringing change:

The Nalgonda fellows reached out to Balasore in Orissa with initiating the District Fluoride Mitigation Commitee (DFMC) and facilitating action there.
The Jhabua fellows have initiated action in Dungarpur, Rajasthan and in Chhindwara, MP.
The Karnataka Fellows are responding to the Fluorosis problem in Chikballapur and Raichur districts of Karnataka.
More to follow is Jamui, Bihar and Korba, Chattisgarh with our fellows criss-crossing the nation and making sure no corner is left uncovered
This kind of networking is building a lot of confidence in people and organizations working everywhere and giving the issue a sustainable focus. The idea is to embed these fellows in different institutions so that these institutions are able to benefit as well.

Imagine the impact this could have … making a child to walk again, reducing Anemia in mothers. These are things we’ve already seen happening. If these can be demonstrated well they could lead to a lot of focus coming in and visibility for the problem with intent from the government.

A child walking again, with some help from our fellows

The idea of simplifying a complex problem and making a band of people capable of spreading the word has been seeded.

What would it take for these Bards to be traveling across India and singing the songs of hope. Come and join us by making this a national movement.