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Bungalow No 7, Suriya Nagri Society,
House No: 933, Kankradi Road,
Dahanu Road – 401602

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Health And Nutrition Story

Effective and coordinated response of individuals, society and health care system leads to positive health outcomes

Fight against malnutrition – A combined effort

Fight against malnutrition – A combined effort

From a seasonal migrant to a seasoned farmer – Story of Madhukar

From a seasonal migrant to a seasoned farmer – Story of Madhukar

Jal rakshak of Dongarpada – save water, save life

Tincidunt praesent semper feugiat nibh. Convallis tellus id interdum velit. Arcu dictum varius duis at consectetur. Ultricies mi quis hendrerit dolor magna.

Towards good governance

Towards good governance – collaborative efforts of pada samiti in Wanganpada, Dahanu

Solving the problem of water crisis during the corona pandemic

Water is a basic necessity, but for some it is a priceless commodity!

Background:

The Mokhada block in Palghar district is witness to heavy rainfall during the monsoon months, but by the time the year comes to an end in December the water crisis steps in. The non-monsoon months force the villagers to migrate for 5-6 months to nearby brick kilns or companies in search of menial jobs. Water in all forms for domestic use, potable purposes and irrigation is out of reach for many.

A study on water availability conducted in 2018 by IIT CTARA and AROEHAN supported by Siemens India Ltd, revealed the villages with mild to severe water stress areas. This also led to the erection of over 196 water conservation structures like check dams, cordons, wells, ponds, sub-surface bunds and farm ponds in at least 13 Gram Panchayats of Mokhada alone. Lifting solutions made it feasible for water to be supplied to distant places thus reducing the hard work and time put in by women to fetch water for their daily needs. This is just the beginning, the road to completion is still distant.

The CORONA pandemic:

The Corona pandemic has added on to the already existing woes of the poor tribal farmers. Due to the country wide lockdown announced on the 23rd of March, all the activities including construction, even in the villages came to a standstill. If the water conservation structures were not ready by June, it would not be possible to retain rain water for the non-monsoon months.

The AROEHAN team decided to wait for some leeway during the lockdown and at the first opportunity in the end of April, decided to get permissions from the government authorities for transportation of construction material, allocation of resources in the form of local labour and also for travel of staff within the block limits. Once the permissions were granted, national directives for work places were put in place and people were asked to follow them stringently. The construction work started in full force in the selected villages of Mokhada by the team led by our Project Officer, Chetan Bhoir and supervised by Program Manager, Nitesh Mukne.

With funding support from Siemens India Ltd and the involvement of local labour and the team, we were able to put up 11 new structures [New check dams (5), New wells (6)] and refurbish 5 existing ones, [Refurbished wells (3), Refurbished ponds (2)] by the end of June. This will surely help solve the water stress in these villages and also reduce the thirst days leading to reduction in migration in the non-monsoon months. This also helped the villagers to earn income staying in their own villages during the pandemic.

The structures have a total storage capacity of 3.15 cr litres, which will ensure water supply to 11 hamlets with 695 households and a population of 4033 beneficiaries.

Structures – outreach and capacity:

a) Rautpada – 40 HH/117 population

Payricha Bandhara: 36, 20, 146 litres

Kelichi Vihir: 2, 89, 382 litres

b) Karoli – 49 HH/218 population

Kahndolkundacha Bandhara: 63, 27, 106 litres

Kathodi Khora Bandhara: 51, 54, 919 litres

Hal Vihir: 3, 69, 264 litres

c) Kumbhipada – 69 HH/412 population

Nadagkundacha Bandhara: 55, 44, 629 litres

d) Navlyachapada – 56 HH/470 population

Gurhyachya Zaryavaril Bandhara: 57, 27, 411 litres

e) Aase – 105 HH/545 population

Aase New Well: 4, 82, 304 litres

f) Dhamodi – 99 HH/623 population

g) Wanganpada – 22 HH/83 population

Bahvyachi Vihir: 2, 53, 000 litres

h) Dongarwadi – 62 HH/475 population

Mandavachi Vihir: 2, 77, 807 litres

i) Bhavaniwadi – 53 HH/255 population

j) Dhindewadi – 23 HH/120 population

Dhindewadi Vihir: 2, 46, 940 litres

k) Kundachapada – 117HH/715 population

Kundachapada Vihir: 2, 54, 340 litres

दुर्गम शेतकऱ्यांसाठी जलकुंडे ठरली वरदान

ठाणे जिल्ह्यातील मोखाडा तालुक्यातील दुर्गम भागातील शेतकऱ्यांसाठी जलकुंडांची निर्मिती वरदान ठरली आहे.

 या भागात कार्यरत आरोहण स्वयंसेवी संस्थेने ‘फळझाड वाडी तेथे जलकुंड’ ही संकल्पना येथे राबवली. कोसबाड कृषी विज्ञान केंद्राचे तांत्रिक मार्गदर्शन घेतले. ऑक्टोबरनंतर पाण्याचा शाश्‍वत स्रोत तयार होऊन शेतकऱ्यांसाठी बारमाही शेती करणे शक्य झाले आहे. रोजगारासाठीचे स्थलांतरही थांबले आहे. ठाणे जिल्ह्यातील मोखाडा, जव्हार या भागात पावसाळ्यात भरपूर पाऊस पडतो. परंतु जमिनीला असलेला तीव्र उतार, डोंगर-दऱ्या आणि खडकांमुळे पाणी साठवण न होता पाणी वाहून जाते. पावसाळ्याच्या चार महिन्यांनंतरची तीव्र पाणीटंचाई, त्यामुळे होणारी हंगामी शेती, रोजगार उपलब्ध नसणे यामुळे बरीच कुटुंबे ऑक्टोबरनंतर रोजगारासाठी स्थलांतर होतात. पाण्याचे स्रोत उपलब्ध असले तरी शेतापासून जास्त दूर आहेत. पाणी आणणे खर्चिकही आहे. परिणामी वर्षानुवर्षे काही जमिनी पडीकच राहिलेल्या दिसून येतात. फळबाग लागवडीला चालना आदिवासी बहुल भागातील बहुतांश कुटुंबे अल्पभूधारक आहेत. शेतीत नवे तंत्रज्ञान अवलंबण्याची त्यांची क्षमताही कमी आहे. मोखाडा तालुका आर्थिक गरिबी व कुपोषणाच्या अडचणींनी ग्रासला आहे. या सर्व बाबी लक्षात घेता आदिवासींच्या मदतीला आरोहण संस्था धावली. सन २००६ पासून जव्हार, मोखाडा, डहाणू, पालघर आदी भागांत संस्था शेती, जलसंधारण व पाणी व्यवस्थापन, आरोग्य, शिक्षण, आदी विषयात कार्य करते आहे. सन २०११ मध्ये संस्थेने बारमाही पाणीसाठा असलेल्या शेतकऱ्यांचे गट तयार केले. फळबाग, भाजीपाला, फूलशेती लागवडीला चालना दिली. त्यातून शेती हा बारमाही उपजीविकेचा शाश्वत स्रोत होऊ शकतो हे शेतकऱ्यांच्या लक्षात येऊ लागले. प्रयोगशील शेतकऱ्यांकडे अभ्यास सहलींचे आयोजन करण्यात आले. जलसंधारणावर भर मोखाडा दुर्गम तालुका असल्याने शेतमाल १०० किलोमीटरपेक्षा जास्त अंतरावरील बाजारपेठेत विक्रीस नेण्यात अनेक अडचणी होत्या. या समस्येवर उपाय शोधण्यासाठी गटशेतीचा आधार घेण्यात आला. अर्थात पाणी ही मुख्य समस्या होतीच. बऱ्याच गावांमध्ये वर्षातील अर्धा काळ पिण्यासाठी टॅंकरद्वारे पाणी पुरवठा होतो. अशा परिस्थितीत दुबार शेती करणे आव्हानाचे होते. यासाठी अभ्यास करून काही गावांमध्ये छोटे बंधारे बांधण्यात आले. बारमाही नद्या किंवा तलाव असलेल्या ठिकाणी सौरपंपाच्या माध्यमातून पाणी आणण्यात आले. जलकुंडांची निर्मिती अजूनही डोंगर-टेकडीवर जमीन असलेले मोठ्या संख्येने आदिवासी शेतकरी बाकी होते. त्याचबरोबर ओसाड-पडीक जमीन लागवडीखाली आणण्यासाठी संस्थेने वाडी लागवड कार्यक्रमात वर्षभर पुरेल इतका पाणीसाठा तयार करण्याकडे लक्ष दिले. कोकणातील जांभ्या जमिनीत निचऱ्याचे प्रमाण जास्त असते. त्यामुळे फळझाडांचे पाणी व्यवस्थापन करणे अवघड जाते. कोरडवाहू फळझाडांना सुरुवातीच्या तीन वर्षांत सिंचनाची गरज असते. यासाठी ‘फळझाड वाडी तेथे जलकुंड’ ही भूमिका संस्थेने घेतली.

पाण्याचा ताळेबंद

  • सुमारे अर्धा एकर क्षेत्रावर ७० पर्यंत झाडांच्या लागवडीचे नियोजन करून त्या क्षेत्रात सहा बाय पाच बाय एक मीटर आकाराचे जलकुंड बनवले.
  • पावसाळ्यानंतर पुढील आठ महिने त्यातून पाणी पुरवठा होईल असा विचार करून आकारमान निश्‍चित
  • पावसाळ्यानंतर प्रति रोपासाठी आठवड्याला १० लिटर या प्रमाणात ७० रोपांना आठ महिन्यांसाठी एकूण २५ हजार लिटर एवढ्या पाणीसाठ्याची आवश्यकता होती.
  • बाष्पीभवनाचा विचार करता साधारणतः ३० हजार लिटर साठवण होईल असाही विचार केला.
  • मोकाट जनावरांपासून भविष्यात रोपांचे संरक्षण व्हावे यासाठी लागवड क्षेत्राला चारही बाजूने सागरगोटा या काटेरी वनस्पतीची लागवड
  • सुमारे २५० शेतकऱ्यांकडे अशा पद्धतीने लागवडीचे नियोजन
  • लागवडीचे ५ बाय ५ मीटर अंतर निश्‍चित. आंबा १०, काजू १५, लिंबू ५, जांभूळ ५, पेरू ५, आवळा ५, साग ५, पपई ५, शेवगा ५, बांबू १० असे नियोजन.

जलकुंडाचे फायदे

  • ऑक्टोबरनंतर जवळपास पाणीस्रोत उपलब्ध नसल्याने दरवर्षी मार्चअखेर ५० टक्क्यांपर्यंत होणारी रोपांची मरतुक यंदा मात्र २५ टक्क्यांपर्यंतच जाणवली. त्यातही बरीचशी मरतुक अतिपावसामुळे झाली होती.
  • पूर्वी शेतकरी दूर अंतरावरून पाणी वाहून आणायचे. त्यावेळी आठवड्याला जास्तीत जास्त पाच लिटर प्रति रोपाप्रमाणे पाणी दिले जायचे. नोव्हेंबरपर्यंत शेतीकामे पूर्ण झाल्यानंतर पाणी देण्यास डिसेंबरनंतर सुरुवात होत असे. या ताणामुळे रोपांची वाढ योग्य होत नसे. मागील वर्षी जलकुडांमुळे पाऊस उघडल्यानंतर ऑक्टोबरपासून आठवड्यातून दोनवेळा पाणी देणे शक्य झाले. त्यामुळे रोपांची वाढ चांगली झाली.

केव्हीकेचे मार्गदर्शन शेतकऱ्यांना कृषी विज्ञान केंद्र, कोसबाड येथील तज्ज्ञांकडून वेळोवेळी प्रशिक्षण. यात रोपांना आधार देणे, कीड-रोग, खते, पाणी व्यवस्थापन आदींचा समावेश. झालेले सर्वेक्षण

जलकुंड साठवण क्षमताफेब्रु-मार्चमधील साठा लिटरमध्येजलकुंड संख्या
३० हजार लिटर१०, ००० च्या आत३५
१०,००० ते १४,०००६५
१५,००० ते २०,०००६०
२०,००० ते २५,०००९०
  • मार्च ते मे या तीन महिन्यात रोपे जगवण्यासाठी १० हजार लिटर पाण्याची आवश्यकता
  • अनेक शेतकऱ्यांकडे योग्य नियोजनामुळे चांगला पाणीसाठा उपलब्ध झाला.
  • जलकुंडाच्या माध्यमातून शाश्वत पाणी स्रोत मिळाल्याने शेतकरी फळबागांसोबत मोगरा, भाजीपाला पिके घेऊ लागले.
  • आदिवासींचे शहराकडे होणारे स्थलांतर कमी झाले.

संपर्क- उत्तम सहाणे-७०२८९००२८९ (लेखक कृषी विज्ञान केंद्र, कोसबाड येथे विषय विशेषज्ज्ञ आहेत.)

 

आरोहन बद्दल बोलताना संस्थेचे विश्वस्त

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Aroehan Trustee

Speaking About Aroehan Work

Posted by Rashtra Seva Dal on Wednesday, Auguast 20, 2020

We Catalyse Village Development: Dr. Helen Joesph

Dr Helen Joseph was Professor at the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan (affiliated to the University of Mumbai) since 1983. Throughout her academic and professional career, she was been actively involved in issues related to communal harmony, domestic violence, ethics in social work practice and Peace Education. She was the Founder-Director of Salokha – A Field Action Project of the CSW, Nirmala Niketan on building communal harmony. We interviewed her on various issues:

Vivek’s World (VW): You are a founder-trustee and Chairperson of Aroehan (NGO). Tell us about the journey of Aroehan. Looking back, what are your thoughts about the achievements of Aroehan?

Dr Helen Joseph (HJ): I am reminded of the day (in 2005) when Dr. Abhay Bang gave a lecture at the College of Social Work on the plight of malnourished children in Maharashtra. This left some of us with a terrible sense of discomfort; and made us ask ourselves what more our profession ought to do to remain relevant and more responsive to the plight of the disadvantaged in India.  As field work coordinator at that time, I made a small presentation at our weekly faculty meeting in this regard, proposing that we practically demonstrate the relevance of our teaching by taking up a limited area, working there, and showing the impact of our intervention. An opportunity arose when in 2006 the Govt. Of Maharashtra wanted us to take up some villages in Mokhada to work on the issue of Malnutrition. Accordingly AROEHAN was born. Anjali Kanitkar took responsibility to steer the project as Director, and I was part of the advisory team.

Starting with a micro-planning exercise we quickly realised the multiplicity and inter-connectedness of various factors that contributed to the high malnutrition deaths in the region.  Hence we realised the need for an integrated approach that intervened simultaneously in areas of Health, Education, Agriculture, Livelihood and Good Governance.

Starting with a small team, led by a social work graduate from our own College, we began an arduous learning process in a difficult and hilly terrain lacking transportation facilities, no electricity, and where the villagers survived through subsistence farming and migration to the cities. As we educated ourselves, we stumbled, we fell, we rose, we discussed and debated on intervention strategies, our partnership with the government and the industry, what our ideology should be, what we should compromise on and what we should not etc.

Funds were difficult to access initially, though after CSR came into existence in 2013, the situation improved significantly. Today, we work in Mokhada, Jawhar, Dahanu and Palghar talukas of Palghar district. In 2014 we graduated from being a field action project of the College to an independently registered organization.

Health: We started with a maternal and child health program and Life Skills education among women and girls, but moved on towards empowering them to participate in Village Health & Sanitation Committees (VHNSC) which monitors nutrition and community health. We were instrumental in getting Ultrasound machines in 3 rural hospitals in Palghar district with the help of Siemens and DHLF.

Water scarcity is a major problem

Water conservation has been a major achievement for AROEHAN. We have so far constructed 196 small and medium sized check dams, sub-surface bunds, and cordons, repaired and refurbished several defunct wells, and made new ones. This has helped not only in mitigating the water issues of the villagers, but even more importantly it has helped in recharging the ground water table across 13 GPs over the time we have been there. This has also relieved the women of the drudgery of carrying water from far off places, and made the conditions suitable for farmers to grow crops during the rabi season, thereby enhancing their livelihood. Thus intervention in a strategic area has had multiple impacts.  Today more than 1000 small farmers have moved beyond rain-fed primitive agriculture to using modern techniques of farming to augment their yield. Besides cultivating grains and millets, they have also started growing vegetables, fruits and flowers.

Education for Life is what AROEHAN is working towards, which involves capacity building to make children and youth responsible and proactive citizens of tomorrow. The youngsters take up environmental projects, participate in school governance issues etc. The Jigyaasa project makes the teaching of Science, Technology, English and Mathematics (STEM) more interesting to students – allowing them to explore with their hands the concepts that many children find very difficult to grasp.  Through this project, AROEHAN has so far reached out to 7575 students in 10 Ashram schools of Mokhada block.

In the critical area of Governance, villagers are empowered with knowledge to proactively engage with local self-government bodies to claim their entitlements and influence their village development.  This was done by forming ‘pada samitis’ (sub-village neighbourhood communities) which then learn how to engage with the Gram Sabhas, a statutory body, where their representations can be made. As a result, the villagers now work closely with the statutory committees like the VHNSC, the committees formed under PESA (Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas), and on issues concerning their forest rights, employment issues (under MGNREGA) and other aspects of the Village Development Plan. Working on Governance is the corner stone of our work, as AROEHAN believes that at the end of 4 to 5 years, people should be able to work independently. Only then can our work be sustainable.

VW: What do you think Aroehan should do now to bring about substantial change? And what are the plans ahead?

Dr Helen Joseph (HJ): In general, I think we are on the right track. However  NOW, we need to establish evidence of our impact on the ground, by setting up some measurable targets that demonstrate this.

Dr Helen Joseph, Chairperson, Aroehan

We have therefore selected a few villages where we will focus our attention on achieving the following strategic goals: (i) To achieve Zero Malnutrition deaths in the selected villages, (ii) To ensure that ALL school-going children are in schools, (iii) To reduce migration by 50% in these areas, and (iv) To establish a citizen’s forum with special emphasis on participation of women.

Secondly, it seems to me that the CORONA pandemic has brought into sharp focus a number of issues that are ailing the public health care system. I believe that there is need for AROEHAN to play an active role in assessing/identifying gaps in the system and advocating for a more robust public health care system especially in rural Maharashtra.

But in all this, people themselves need to lead the change; otherwise no work is sustainable. For this, people must believe in themselves, believe that they can aspire for a better life, and also believe that they are responsible not just for themselves but for their entire village. When we can do that, we can withdraw from the area -for which we must have an exit strategy in place.

Gram Sabha

Furthermore, personally, I believe that there is a non-tangible aspect on which we need to bring about substantial impact.  Our work needs to go hand in hand with ensuring that a strong value base is developed in our children/youth (and village communities) – values of an inclusive society where there is respect and concern for all, irrespective of gender, caste, religion, race, language, community etc., accompanied by concern for the environment. I say this because I have realised that when disadvantaged people start becoming upwardly mobile, there is a danger that a ‘me-first’ attitude could develop, that takes no responsibility for those others who are still disadvantaged and discriminated against, even in their own neighbourhoods and beyond.

VW: Tell us about the issues facing the NGOs today.

Dr Helen Joseph (HJ): Some of the challenges faced by NGOs are:

  1. Funding : This is a major challenge that many NGOs face. The Corona pandemic has resulted in a lot of CSR funds being diverted to it. This I fear will definitely affect our funding and thereby our work.
  2. Professionalism in work, and having a well trained staff committed to the vision of the organization, are things that most NGOs are looking for. But this combination is difficult to find. For instance, there could be individuals who have a fire in their bellies and are devoted to the vision of their organization, but who are not necessarily good at management functions, or at following legal and other compliances, or vice versa. This is a big challenge.
  3. Retaining one’s value system, and yet skilfully handling the political and sometimes selfish interests that inevitably come into play whenever change is being brought about, is again another significant challenge for all civil society organisations today, especially those that would like to focus on people-centred governance.

Thanks Dr Helen for sharing your thoughts with us.

Vivek S Patwardhan

 

Source – viveksp.com

School For Every Child And Reduction In Migration

Dr Shubalakshmi Iyer, Chief Operating Officer of Aroehan was instrumental in preparing a five year Strategic Plan. Two (out of five) objectives are: “Reduction in migration by 50% and No child out-of-school by 2025.” These are Aroehan’s (what Jim Collins called) ‘BHAG – Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals’. This is what most successful organisations set: Ambitious Long-Term Goals. Bill Gates said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.” Aroehan has taken first step with a five year strategic plan. Dr Shubalakshmi answers our questions.

Vivek’s World (VW)Migration of labour is a humongous problem. Tell us the situation and what can be done to curtail migration.

Dr Shubalakshmi (Dr S)The context: The migrant communities in Palghar mainly belong to the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) viz. Katkaris. They are either marginal farmers or landless working as farm labour in other’s farms or wage labours in brick kilns or nearby companies. Usually migration in these areas takes place in the non-monsoon months from November to March. They come back to celebrate Holi, only to migrate for another 3 months of April to June, till when the monsoon begins. Most of our tribal population fall prey to this vicious cycle.

Dr Shubalakshmi Iyer, COO, Aroehan

The COVID crisis: This year due to the COVID crisis in the country the worst hit were the seasonal migrant labour who could not earn their wages as all forms of employment came to a standstill due to the lock down. They were left with no money or even basic necessities. This has affected not only the individuals, but their families and the community at large.

But as we say “Every cloud has a silver lining.” AROEHAN has been working in the Mokhada block since many years with the objective of reducing seasonal migration through water conservation and allied agriculture and alternate livelihoods.

Alternate livelihoods: We have started a pilot project with support from Siemens India Ltd. in 28 hamlets of Mokhada block to initiate alternate livelihoods for the marginal Self Help Groups. Some SHGs of landless and migrant farmers were identified and livelihood equipment like rice mill, papad making machine, oil crusher, and flour and masala mill have been provided to them. The members have been trained to operate the same. 50% of the SHGs have an earning potential between 5000 – 15000 rupees through regular and optimal utilization of the rice mill and the flour mill. This has also helped the neighbouring villagers in reducing their time and cost of travel and engaging in other forms of activity.                                  

Non-monsoon agriculture: Some farmers were also encouraged to take up Rabi cropping in the non-monsoon months. An interaction with the farmers, gave an insight into their cropping pattern. They usually prefer paddy cropping during the monsoons and buy other condiments like chilly, onions and vegetables for their regular use at high prices. This is when the team, felt that multi cropping with training on good agricultural practices esp. during the non-monsoon months will help the farmers with an additional source of income and reduce migration in the long run. Leafy vegetables, fruit vegetables, gourds, roots and tubers, groundnuts and sunflower were selected as crops to be grown on 10 gunthas of land each. The farmers could earn an income of around Rs10-15K with the sale of produce in the local markets. This not only helped the community but also the nutrition requirement of their own families. This income generation activity prohibited them from migrating elsewhere in search of work. They were spared from the harshness of the corona pandemic in way of lack of money and essentials and could lead a better daily life in comparison to the other migrants.

The working conditions of Migrant Labour are appalling (Photo Vivek Patwardhan) Copyright

What can work? Empowering people with alternate livelihood opportunities and multi-cropping or generating income from agriculture enables communities to stay in their local villages and not venture out in search of menial wage employment during such pandemic or crisis situations. Availing government employment schemes through MNREGA for village development activities in one’s place of residence will also help people to generate income and thus curtail migration.

VWAroehan wants to ensure that in the next five years all children will attend school, there will be no child ‘out-of-school’. That’s a very ambitious goal. Tell us please, what was the situation on the education front pre-Covid and what is it now?

Dr SThe context: For a child to drop out of school or remain irregular, the reasons are manifold. Most of the schools in the tribal areas have very poor infrastructure and lack of WASH facilities as per norms. The nearest secondary school is distant from their residence. Caring for the younger sibling or migrating for work along with parents is other areas of concern. Even though students are enrolled in the schools, they usually drop out or are irregular due to lack of child friendly infrastructure and other reasons mentioned above, not to exclude the student – teacher ratio gap and lack of child friendly learning practices and pedagogy.

Education remains a neglected area in villages

Usually the children attend the school by chance or force, rarely by choice. The other attraction for the family is the food that is served at the school, not to talk of its nutritional value but surely helps decrease the burden on the family especially the woman to feed another mouth.

The COVID crisis: This year due to the CORONA pandemic, the schools were the first ones to lockdown in the beginning of March to contain the spread of the virus- a loss of almost 2.5 months of learning and exams esp. 10th and 12th Std. and also an anticipated decline in the already poor nutritional status of the children.

Education and Nutrition: Timely meals are provided to the children in the Ashram schools and the mid-day meal at the Zilla Parishad schools. The question lies to whether the children have the same access to food facilities at home where their parents are busy at work and cannot manage to make both ends meet with their meagre incomes and lack of food security.

The children have been promoted to the next class on the basis of their annual performance. With children at home, lack of educational facilities at the school due to the closure and also at the home front, it has become very difficult for the parents to monitor the child’s activities. The parents usually tend to feel that the sole responsibility of the child’s upbringing lies with the school.

The government authorities and the schools have made every effort to bring in various learning platforms through NGOs and other sources in the villages so that the children are not idle. Not everyone is familiar to digital and visual learning methods including the teachers in the rural and tribal areas. Online education is fine in the cities and semi-urban areas, but with the absence or limited availability of electricity and internet access and lack of awareness or education among the caretakers, this still becomes a distant dream for the students residing in far to reach tribal hamlets. 

A few solutions to this problem could be setting up a central community kitchen to cater to the needs of children of all age groups, setting up of child friendly schools with improved infrastructure and educational facilities, an educational hub or a safe drop-in centre for continued learning and overall development of a child.  

VW: Thanks Dr Shubalakshmi

Vivek S Patwardhan