Every day children are getting 200 grams of pulses, vegetables and cereals. Hot meals are cook ed in the School premises with the help of a cook who belongs to the same community and her grand children are studying in the same school. So the quality of food preparation is maintained.
Apart from the Health Camp, a monthly monitoring of the weight and height of the children is been done. The teachers and some senior students have been trained to record the measurement of each child. A pediatrician has been engaged to get a full report of the health and nutrition of the children by providing him the data collected over five months. Dr. Anurag Rai observed that almost all children have protein, vitamin and iron deficiency. He recommended that if the children can get an egg twice a week and a banana twice a week than their nutritional value will increase. Due to lack of resource, this has not been achieved so far.
But the space of the school has been utilized to grow some organic vegetables which are added to the pulses and lentils to make it more nutritious.
Every month on the 25th, a health monitoring camp is organized in the school premises. The weight and height of the children are recorded in the file and given to the consulting physician. In case a child is found to reduce the weight, immediate treatment from government hospital is given. Last year, almost all students had the sign of anemia but now apart from some students from very poor background, there is a remarkable change in the growth of the children in the area.
Along with Rice and Dal, vegetables like sweet gourds have been introduced in the menu, which the children are really fond of eating. The protein content in their diets needs to be enhanced with introduction of 2 eggs per week and bananas. This would further help the boys and girls grow healthier.
The community engaged themselves in numerous activities. All these initiatives were applauded and covered in Media both electronic and print media. The activities were then followed by Van Mahotsav (planting trees) and health check-up camp. With newer employment opportunities for the women and the Self Help group formations, the community is enjoying the Prerna Kendra (Centre of Inspiration) and activities undertaken by SDF in a proactive way.
After 60 years of Independence of India, the community could gain access to Electricity through SDF’s support. Even though the electricity stays for not more than eight hours a day but still the community is not deprived of this basic right. A used donated computer has been installed; the children are really excited to see films in the computer. SDF is trying to mobilize funds to buy invertors for power-backup, so that the youth could gain computer education in the centre.
@Formation of Women’s collective and initiating women economic empowerment programme along with School for Mushahar children in Village Malwabar is some of the achievements of SDF. Enrollment of the children in the school has increased. This means the community has gained the knowledge of the importance of studies in their child’s life. The revolving fund has got 100% return from women in Malwabar and Villages women are in the process of returning the loan (with no interest rates). Women brought piglets or lambs to rear them and then sell it to slaughter houses. Women with their small economic empowerment schemes have found new ways to increase their economic base. The women of the village meet every week and discuss the situation of their families and other issues. Earlier it was hard to bring women out of their preoccupation to talk about their lives, but now the change is that women meet every week and urges the need to initiate vocational skill development programme for them and the adolescents.
They have desired to learn other skills like candle making, incense making, sewing and quilting from rags, making of artifacts, etc. With initial meeting and exploring various alternative economic programmes and raising funds, the staff of SDF would make way to get the infrastructure and equipment to skill women to make candles, incense and other skills, which will then be marketed through Media or through networking sites. The idea is also afloat to get a space in Bhaghoch Market for regular retail sales.
Under the Economic Empowerment for Women, out of the ten women who were given benefits seven women have returned the money so far and the rest will sell their livestock soon and return the money. Now women are seeing the benefits to rear cattle too, apart from piggery. Some of the women have desired to open a shop or take a Cycle rickshaw for their husband’s income. The funds have been extended to four other women.
Out of them,two women Yashoda and Ghiliya brought a rickshaw each for Rs 7,500 in their name and their husbands are plying the Rickshaw. According to Yashoda, as she says her family has got a meaning to their lives, they know how much hard, they have to work to earn what amount of money. Both the families have become very close to SDF activities and volunteer to do work for Prerna Kendra. Both the families vouched to return money in a year’s time. These benefits have relieved some women and her family to work as bondage labour in Brick kilns. The women have organized a number of meetings every week to discuss about the children studying in the school. Enrollment of the children in the school has increased. They have also discussed the problems of some families which as a community they need to help. Most probably the women will form a food security bank in their hamlet, so that they can collectively assist other families in distress.
In the beginning, the children as old as 12 years had no clue about school and education. Koshish was the only school; SDF established it just to mainstream the children to the government school. Today the school has taken a vibrant shape, the children are slowly learning to read and write. Five senior students have also joined mainstream government school this year.