The Madia tribe in Gadchiroli district, Maharashtra—some 175 kilometres from Nagpur—is one of the 75 particularly vulnerable tribal groups in India. They are dependent on the forests for most of their day-to-day needs including food, fodder for their livestock, timber, water, and fuelwood.
The collection of fuelwood is a major part of their yearly work. Community members including men and women have to walk long distances in deep forest areas to collect dry wood. They usually stock up on fuelwood during the summer months, which lasts for an entire year.
Though gas cylinders are available across the district, affordability is a major issue for the Madia families in the region. Majority of the community members live below the poverty line, and as a result, the community continues to be dependent on forests as a source of fuelwood.
Simit Bhagat is a social development practitioner and filmmaker based out of Mumbai.
Know more: Read about why it is important for the social sector to work with Adivasi communities, instead of for them.
Do more: Connect with the author at S.Bhagat@alumni.ids.ac.uk to understand more about and support his work.