SURE, NESFAS extends helping hand to elderly lady in Mulum

Teams help build cost-efficient safety home amidst second wave

The North East Slow Food and Agrobiodiversity Society (NESFAS) launched a project for construction of elderly housing for elderly members of its partner community to provide a safe space and combat the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic since last April. The organisation had always looked up to the elderly members of its partner communities as traditional knowledge holders, many of whom are the custodians of its Food Network initiatives. 

Imlis Suchiang, an elderly community member from Mulum, East Jaiñtia Hills is a custodian farmer who supports her family members through it on a day-to-day basis. Suchiang lives with her elder daughter and has expressed her concern over how she is feeling uncomfortable to live together with the many other family members during these trying times. According to the government SOPs issued, it has been mentioned that all elderly people should be isolated and stay inside their homes in order to keep the virus at bay from getting to them.

Imlis Suchiang’s house under construction

Suchiang, while talking with one of the Society for Urban and Rural Employment (SURE) team members, said she has been looking for ways and means to be able to construct a house and live on her own without relying upon her daughter. SURE is one of NESFAS’ partner organisation who has collaborated to see through the “No One Shall Be Left Behind Initiative” funded by Rural Electrification Corporation Foundation (REC) and is currently overseeing several campaigns at Mulum community, among others. 

The SURE team quickly identified several beneficiaries who could lend a helping hand to Mrs. Suchiang and immediately sent team members to assist her with whatever she needs. 

Based on the ongoing elderly project that was initiated by NESFAS, team members from SURE along with the Associates from NESFAS held a meeting and discussed the needs and ideas to implement the Elderly Housing Project and identify and shift the elders to the safety homes. 

NESFAS contributed INR. 34,500 for the infrastructure and all essential needs for the housing project. The community members of Mulum also played an active role where they contributed free labour, materials like bamboo, woods, cement blocks, and many more essential materials that will help with the construction.

After moving to her new safety home in April 2021, Suchiang said, “I am very happy with this newly constructed house and would like to thank all the members of the NESFAS and SURE teams for being so helpful. They helped oversee all the construction and essential needs which was a relief to me, and I am also grateful to the community members who have been supporting and helping me all the way.”

Elderly woman housing in Mulum, Jaintia Hills

Imlis Suchiang in front of her new home in Mulum

NESFAS aims to continue providing aid to the communities’ welfare and the well-being of its individuals, including the elderly and the youths in general. The organisation’s aim is to make efforts and reach out to the vulnerable sections of the rural communities and promote several initiatives like the elderly housing project, provision of healthy and nutritious food, medical facilities, and many more other. 

The organisation also aims to be an example and shed light on other organisations or like-minded individuals to come forward and lend a hand by seeing through such initiatives.  Also, by setting up and constructing these elderly safety homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the organisation has helped and encouraged several members of the communities to work join hands and look after the well-being of their elderly community members who are said to be the true wisdom and custodian traditional knowledge holders of our indigenous communities. 



Bajanai Diengdoh
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