THE ZOROASTRIANS OF SOUTH GUJARAT – – Team WZO Trust
Team WZO Trust is pleased to present an overview of the progress made in their project to rehabilitate poor Zoroastrians residing in the rural areas of South Gujarat.
Our project revolves around 4 main issues:
- Rehabilitate poor Zoroastrian farmers who have land available to pursue agriculture viably. Alternatively to make use of land available towards dairy & poultry farming, setting up brick kilns and so on.
- For those who do not have any land, to provide support towards their self employment.
- Replacing huts in which the poor Zoroastrians live into decent cottages made from bricks & mortar.
- Providing adequate quantities of food grains to economically challenged Zoroastrian families residing in villages that would last them for a few months thereby providing relief.
Given here below is a short treatise on how our journey began and how it has unfolded so far.
- Dr. Cashmera Bhaya submits her report on the sample (not census) survey that she undertook at the behest of World Zoroastrian Organisation, London and Surat Parsi Punchayet on the Socio-Economic conditions of Zoroastrians residing in the rural areas of South Gujarat.
- Her conclusions – she identifies 687 Zoroastrian families in 209 villages living below the poverty line.
- The World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust is established, primarily with the intent to rehabilitate these poor Zoroastrians. During the course of their journey they find there are many more Zoroastrians than mentioned in the report (which was a sample and not a census survey) residing in abject poverty.
- Rehabilitation process begins, comprising of providing inputs to agrarians, providing self-employment to the landless or those where agricultural efforts could not be economically viable, replacing the huts in which the poor Zoroastrians lived into cottages, providing medical relief, supporting their children to receive a good education, distributing food grains and so on.
What has been done so far (Financial year 2013-2014):
- 450 Zoroastrian farmers in 179 villages have been extended support in their farming activities.
- 215 huts in which Zoroastrians lived have been replaced into cottages.
- 253 individuals in 93 different rural locations have been provided opportunities and financial support to be self employed in vocations of their choice, such as plying taxis, auto-rickshaws, grocery shops, motor garages etc.
- Food grains are distributed periodically every year to economically challenged Zoroastrians residing in the villages.
Collaborations & Partnerships:
It is not possible for any single institution to undertake work on this scale without the active cooperation support from other likeminded individuals and institutions through collaborations and partnerships.
World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust is fortunate to have received generous support from all continents on which Zoroastrians reside and are extremely grateful to those who have contributed towards this massive ongoing exercise.
World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust acknowledges that whatever has been achieved has been due to the unstinted support of donors and well wishers who have participated by way of donations and also by creating awareness of our work.
Partnerships such as these have enabled World Zoroastrian Organisation Trust to change the lives of many. Whilst much has been done, even much more yet remains to be done.
Pictures always speak louder than words – we are happy to share some with our community. Some pictures are of those who have transited from abject poverty to relative prosperity, whilst others are of those who are still experiencing the throes of poverty, and looking forward to helping hands bringing them back into the mainstream of society.
We conclude by paraphrasing the words of Robert Frost – “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But we (WZO Trust) have promises made to ourselves to keep, and miles to go before we sleep”.