The Alwar district of Rajasthan had become a desolate scene in the mid-1980s. A "dark zone". And sand had replaced water and trees. Then a group of volunteers led by Rajendra Singh took the cue from an old man. They started making johads, earthen dams that impound rainwater. By the hundreds. The result was a miracle, a river, the Arvari.
Today, the sands are clothed by wealth, water and trees. Rajendra Singh won the 2001 Magsaysay Award in recognition of his community leadership. See and experience this miracle in the video Arvari: A late twentieth century folk tale, produced by the Centre for Science and Environment.