INDIA. Maharashtra. Tumsar: Born in a small village called Pathri in the Vidarbha district, Dhamlesh Sangode lived a childhood where every day was a struggle.
“My father Shri Aniruddha Sangode was a teacher in a Zilla Parishad School and my mother took care of all household chores. Citizens used to come to my father with social problems in the village and he would give them proper guidance. Also, my elder brother Shri. Hitendra Sangode was working as a village police Patil. He would take up various social issues every day and guide the villagers by suggesting appropriate ways. My role models should be on my biography,” says Dhamlesh.
“My father died of paralysis when I was 12, and my older brother died in a car accident, so when I was 12, I was responsible for the whole family,” Dhamlesh told Transcontinental Times. At that young age, he guided women in self-help groups at the Naxal-affected Dam in the Gondia district. “Women became self-reliant through self-help groups and women established their own jobs. Many women made ideological progress. The women started going out of the house. They began to interact with the outside world. I felt very satisfied to contribute to their progress,” Dhamlesh added.
Devoting his heart to social work
After his Masters in Social Work (MSW), and taking inspiration from the thoughts of great social reformers, he decided to devote his whole life to social work without a job.
Inspired by this idea, Hitenju NGO was established in 2014. It started its work to reach out to every needy person in society and solve their problems. Through the organization, efforts have been made to improve the economic, social, and mental condition of women by providing them with legal training, digital literacy program, free sewing machines, yoga training, health check-up camp for older women, hospitalization of women workers, and industry training. The NGO also acts as an internal link between the government and the citizens to benefit the common man.
In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hitenju NGO provided tea, breakfast, and lodging to a large number of migrant workers, distributed ration kits to many families, organized health check-up camps and, distributed masks to them and homeopathic sweets to enhance immunity power.
Taking note of his immense contribution to social activism, in 2017 Dhamlesh received the state-level Vasundhara Award, in 2018 he received the state-level Parivartan Award and received the National Social Service Award in 2021. Not only that, but he has also been selected for the Dhammakarya Gaurav Award 2021 by the State Level Jayanti Samiti.
Tackling environmental issues
There is a huge problem of environmental conservation and everyone should understand this problem and understand their basic responsibility and make a serious effort to stop the degradation of the environment. Tree planting with the help of many villagers, stopping the use of plastics and, raising awareness to reduce air pollution are some small steps we have taken. Environmental awareness is being created through various means such as creating awareness among the people to control the water crisis. In addition to these problems, the determination to get rid of addiction has been made through the organization. Raises awareness among school children to stay away from tobacco products. We are also working on road safety. Accidents due to speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol, non-compliance with traffic rules, overweight transport have increased the number of accidents. We are creating awareness for this through art troupes and street plays.
“The importance of social work is understood by the world in the epidemic of covid-19. It was the administration and social organizations that came to the rescue of the people during the Covid-19 epidemic. The Fund Commissions have lauded the work of social organizations. We are proud that we collaborated to help as many people as possible during the Covid-19 crisis through the organization through social work,” Dhamlesh concluded.