WHEN Melville resident Shazar Robinson started travelling to India eight years ago, she spent time helping out at a local shelter for homeless children.
Now when she goes, the retired healthcare worker helps out an entire state.
Ms Robinson has been working with the Sankalpa Rural Development Society to help rural communities install bores that help them to recharge aquifers during the monsoon season and is fast gaining a reputation for helping turn around lives.
“I was working with the shelter but I started to look at why so many kids were ending up on the street and that took me to the rural areas and the need for people to migrate to the city because of drought and poverty,” Robinson told the Herald.
She decided to pour her energy into SRDS’s recharge program, and despite the language barrier her input has convinced hundreds of extra farmers to sign up.
Ms Robinson says they’ve installed 1300 bore wells since she joined with a success rate greater than 90 per cent.
That means farmers can get two crops out of one decent monsoonal season.
“One guy I saw last time I was there had one and a half acres and a couple of scraggly mango trees, but when I came back he was doing rice and beans, and his mangoes were thriving and he had a smile as wide as his face,” she says.
To support her volunteering, Ms Robinson is running an event, Turning Wine Into Water at a friend’s place in Peppy Grove on July 27 from 6.30 – 8.30pm. There’s Indian food (“I’m a great cook,” she chuckles), music and silent auctions.
Tickets are $40 and are available from http://www.trybooking.com/WSDN
by STEVE GRANT