Saja Pahad, a small village in Chhattisgarh, India, has been dealing with severe water shortages for as long as anyone can remember. With only two wells available, locals were barely able to secure enough water to feed their cattle, let alone irrigate their crops. Villagers didn’t know what to do and the government ignored their plight, but one “crazy” teenager took matters into his own hands.
Shyam Lal was only 15-years-old when he took it upon himself to solve his village’s water problem. He identified a spot in a nearby forest and decided to dig a pond to collect rainfall that could then be used by the entire village. Lal shared his idea with the rest of Saja Pahad, but instead of volunteering to help, they just laughed at his crazy plan and called him a lunatic. But the young man didn’t let the people’s reaction get him down. Instead, he grabbed a spade and started digging the pond himself. He kept on digging for the next 27 years.