23 Jul 2017 05:52am IST
On the eve of the Assagao Community Gathering to be held today, Neshwin Almeida catches up with Felly Gomes to speak to him about the whole Community based garbage collection initiative
Once known as a famous dancer across North Goa and a choreographer, Felly Gomes married a Spanish Social Worker and set off on a journey to the Himalayas in 2010 which he believes changed his life.
“After learning the yogic science, I wanted to touch upon people’s lives and my focus was on a better environment and then the Live Happy Foundation started and the focus was on making Assagao a model village with a sustainable development to tackle garbage,” explains an upbeat Felly.
Felly who conducts yoga programmes and travels across Europe is set to go for three months and before he goes over tea he has planned to meet the villagers of Assagao and other prominent people to discuss the village action plan ahead to tackle garbage in his absence.
“ I started these heritage walks in Assagao to raise funds, then I took people’s garbage and sold the recyclables, I got people to pay me for collecting their garbage and slowly we had a few donations but till date no government grants. But we manage the garbage of Assagao without any government or panchayat interventions and we’ve been doing it for five long years now,” explains Felly.
Often known on Facebook for his videos with a live happy message for Goans and the people of Assagao, Felly shoots these videos with a selfie stick and reminds people to tackle their own garbage.
“ It’s a habbit in Goa to fling garbage on to 'no man’s' land and open spaces. I take up a challenge and I contionously gather people and friends and clear every patch of garbage strewn in open spaces in Assagao and slowly people are getting aware and segregate and tackle their own garbage. While the selfie stick concept emerges from the messages and songs I sing with my heritage walks in Assagao,” Felly explains to us.
Felly tells us how his recognition doesn’t come from government grants and awards but from his villagers who appreciate his single-handed efforts to bring people together and tackle the entire village’s waste and garbage and also the fact that activists and scholars from across Goa come to Assagao to visit him and discuss sustainable development and garbage management.
I am just another Goan with great values imbibed in me by my parents and that’s how it is to most Goan children. Our lives are incomplete if we don’t put these values into practice and love our land and keep it clean explains Felly.
On World Environment Day, Felly was all over Social Media for targeting an open space with tonnes of garbage and when he gathered people from different nationalities and locals to restore that area to being 100% garbage free.
“Working with garbge, cleaning up someone else’s mess is not easy but leaving a clean earth for the next generation is worth working hard for,” states Felly.