A small village, based on the banks of an inland freshwater wetland in Imphal, continues to thrive on the fish resources of the lake for their living. What we observe from afar; these fishermen living a quaint, simple life near a lake, is far from the reality of it.
The intervention of developmental projects such as dam construction, road development owing to the G20 summit, etc. have tremendously impacted the lives of these folks. An abrupt decline in fish population, destruction of their property (fishing nets, tools, utensils), and displacement without any support plan form just the top layer of the challenges these folks deal with on a day to day. This topped with child trafficking, child labor, and exploitation make it difficult to fathom how this indigenous fishing population summons the courage to continue.
Working with organizations such as the New Life Foundation, this population has been able to challenge the govt. on these developments, moved professions from fishing to farming, and hustled funds to support their child’s nutrition and education.
I was left with complete awe in their strength, grit, and dedication to improve their living conditions even at the face of such dire atrocities. It also gave me hope in our work, in the core principles of Rebuild, and in the importance of our role in bringing these stories to the fore.