Cotton alumni launches social welfare initiative to fight pandemic

GUWAHATI: Alumni Association for Social Transformation and Harmony in Assam (AASTHA), an association of Cottonians formed by students of the 1975-77 PU batch of erstwhile Cotton College has embarked on a social welfare journey to contain the virus through awareness campaign.

Concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, to create awareness amongst the public regarding the importance of wearing a mask, and also of wearing it properly to counteract the further escalation of the pandemic, a poster campaign is being carried out by AASTHA in various areas of Guwahati. The posters focus on the importance of maintaining social distance, frequent handwashing with soap and water, and using alcohol based sanitizers when soap and water are not available.

Moreover, since educational institutions are closed on account of the pandemic, responding to the situation, video lectures for the HS 2nd year students pertaining to physics have been continuously uploaded since August on the YouTube platform for benefit of the students.

AASTHA is also associated with other ground-level welfare activities. On the request of a local NGO – Mahabishnu Alok Sandhan Society of Bisennala village near Rangia, in October last year, the office bearers and a few members of AASTHA conducted a survey to assess the locality’s developmental needs and prospects. Accordingly, a total of 35 bighas of land was identified for community farming. Also, several water bodies were identified to be developed as fisheries. Again, horticulture cultivation was started in 10 bighas of land which was harvested just before the lockdown.

“During the lockdown, a medium-size fishery covering an area of 4 bighas was developed. Presently, the available land is under horticultural crops. The necessary finance was raised by members of AASTHA and also, by the villagers themselves. AASTHA sponsored skill-development training for making handicrafts out of water hyacinth for the womenfolk of Bisennala in February, in which 35 local women were trained,” a spokesperson of the association said.

Moreover, AASTHA supported Surge-I Foundation, a not for profit company set up by one of its members, which has been actively working at Pathori rural cluster in Nagaon for the last 4 years in skill development and providing livelihood for women.

A few doctors belonging to AASTHA organized a health camp on September 22 last year for 150 odd people at Pathori, on the occasion of the inauguration of ‘Shilpashala’, a production cum training centre set up by the foundation.

During lockdown phases, the foundation took a unique initiative to unlock cultivable land kept barren by landowners for want of farmers, by taking it on lease.

“It organized and motivated about 17 local youth to take on agriculture for their employment and started farming on the leased land of about 30 bighas. In this regard, AASTHA raised money from its willing members and provided financial support to Surge-I Foundation for implementing their unique project named ‘Aamaar Mati, Aamaar Kheti’,” the spokesperson added.

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