Radha Parthasarathy

Adopting a New Way of Life

It's not uncommon in today's day and age to adopt a lake, pond, or an animal at the zoo. But Radha took a step forward by adopting an entire village. What she did to the village is a little beyond magic - the conditions of the village have vastly improved and everyone in the village now leads a respectable and sustainable life.

Spring always follows a cold and dry winter, the same happened to the village of Thandalam. Their spring came in the form of Radha Parthasarathy, a reputable member of various organizations such as the ladies circle and the Crafts Council of India. Having recently earned herself the FLO award for Social and Humanitarian work, she talks about what led her to bagging the award.

It's not uncommon in today's day and age to adopt a lake or pond. But Radha took a step forward decided to adopt an entire village and what she did to the village is a little beyond magic. The village was risen from it's past standards to one that is now habitable and also allows each and everyone the village to lead a respectable and sustainable life. Whilst exploring her roots and in trying to relive where her forefathers lived, Radha visited Thandalam, a village that her ancestors and family hadn't visited for over 75 years.

She started the process by renovating the temples in the village, alongside which she built another one, after which visitors started flocking the village on festivals. Being a spirituality infused village, the temples pooled in a good amount of positivity for the villagers. The locals even believed that the temples proved to be a good omen, as they brought about more rain and also filled up the wells in the locality.

A rural settlement often neglects change and pushes out any new development, as they wish to keep their culture intact. Thus it goes without saying that the task to transform the village was anything but easy, but Radha didn't give up, and it only gave her a push forward. Sanitation being one of her main challenges, Parthasarathy went ahead to build 260 toilets in Thandalam, with her own personal funds, much before the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched which earned them the Nirmal Puraskar Award for total sanitation.

From health center and veterinary setups, Radha spared no area of improvement. With sufficient amount of donations and good tie ups, she now has a doctor who comes in twice a week to check up on 60-70 patients. After having covered the health sphere, Radha moved into the educational sector of the village, not only was the school renovated but computers were included in their curriculum, their meal plans were replanned, their teachers were appointed again and evening classes were given a new boost. Making sure that the future of the village was now secure, Radha went ahead to establish a secure present for those who live there.

Agri Horticulture was improved which lead to a production of manure that increased the general income of the village. More than that Radha believed that women need to self sufficient and empowered, for which she encouraged the ladies to form self help groups. One of them, named Annapurani Public Charitable Trust has been trained to manufacture basic spices such as rasam and sambhar powder. More advancement in the field has also led to them now producing premixes for idli and dosa. The products even got launched into the urban market and are found in the outlets of Winners Bakery, Chennai. Radha says, “Since they are enthusiastic to learn, I plan to teach them to make pickles from organically grown vegetables by creating infrastructure that will support it. They will be trained in vacuum packing too.”

After the world of difference that Radha has made to the village, the award seems to be well earned by her as she is moving forward at a fast pace into converting her visions into reality. She not only transformed the village into what it is today, but also gave it a sustainable root that can help it keep the village stable for a long time. She has been a boon to the Thandalam village, and there is no doubt that she would end up being a godmother to many more such villages and womankind in general.


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