NAME: Hem Raj
LOCATION: Pazeena Village, Darlaghat, Himachal Pradesh
Hem Raj, a 37 year old farmer, faced one big obstacle in his farming enterprise – getting his produce to market! With no road out of his village, the only way to sell goods, was to ‘walk it out’ – loading produce into baskets that they lugged up hills to the nearest bus stand. It was back breaking work and by the time they reached the market, produce was severely damaged.
Fiercely passionate about farming and his community, Hem Raj took matters into his own hands and single-handedly lobbied for the development of a road into Pazina. When it was constructed in 2019 Hem Raj was driven to do more …
• COMMUNITY ADVISORY PANEL – Hem Raj sits on the Community Advisory Panel and plays a key role in helping find solutions to community problems, including water management and maintenance of traditional water sources.
• SCHOOL MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE – Hem Raj is the President of the School Management Committee (SMC) and successfully lobbied to get pre-primary and kindergarten levels introduced in the school.
• ADOLESCENT SOCIAL AWARENESS – Hem Raj organises camps on issues affecting local youth, including drug addiction, COVID-19, mobile phone addiction and internet use.
• FARMER PRODUCER ORGANISATION – Hem Raj diversified his farming activities across cropping, Wadi, vegetable cultivation and animal husbandry and became a founding member and shareholder of the local Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO).
• CHILDREN’S LITERACY – With poor literacy levels among children, Hem Raj prioritised the investment in good quality books for kids and kick-started reading habits during COVID-19 via online classes.
• YOUTH SPORTS – A keen sportsman, Hem Raj has actively promoted sports - educating parents on its benefits, whilst advocating youth participation in races, kabaddi, volleyball, cross country running and football.
With a profitable farming business, Hemraj can now dedicate more time to community work. In life there are people who wait for things to happen, and people who make things happen – Hem Raj is the latter!