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Category: Event

Tribal Girls Voice Community Concerns at Palghar Zilla Parishad Office

AROEHAN organised an exposure visit for the adolescent girls of Mokhada to the Zilla Parishad Collector’s Officer in Palghar. Visits such as this are instrumental for the growth of tribals as it gives them a chance to connect and learn about environments that are different from their own. 27 out of 37 girls visited Palghar City for the first time. They also built a platform for themselves to voice their concerns about their communities in front of Federal Government Employees and hope to remedy the overlooked issues.

We were greeted by Extension Officer Govind Dhanga who gave brief information about different departments in the building. We visited the Education Department where the education minister and deputy education minister of the department addressed the group. They informed about initiatives like Manav Vikas Mission through which girls can get free bicycles if they don’t have transportation means to schools, free bus services, etc. The girls raised a question that there aren’t Zilla Parishad schools beyond 7th grade in their areas. That has stopped education for most of the students and also increases the risk of child marriages in their hamlets. The minister retorted that they had been given the go-ahead to open high schools in a few tribal villages and that operations would begin gradually.

We visited the Mahila Vs. Bal Kalyan office, where the Extension Officer, Anganwadi Chief, and District Programme Officer Praveen Bhusare were present. The activists and attendees voiced their concerns which has been affecting their communities. Grievances about child marriages still occurring, Amrut Aahar not being given in all Anganwadis, lack of access to government programmes, and school closures were brought to light. They requested them to personally visit isolated hamlets and review the situation. We met with Zilla Adhyaksha Prakash Krushna Nikam and COO Bhanudas Palve who originate from tribal areas. Lastly, the group mobilised at AROEHAN’s Palghar Project Office for a session by Aakruti Kendra from Boisar. The girls were explained about the importance and scope of Self-Help Groups and different kind of organic products that have emerged from tribal areas to the city.

AROEHAN celebrates PESA and Panchayat Raj Awareness Month in 150 hamlets

The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996, or PESA is a law enacted by the Government of India for ensuring self-governance through traditional Gram Sabhas for people living in the Scheduled Areas of India. Panchayati Raj is the system of local self-governance of villages in rural India. It consists of the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) tasked with, economic development, strengthening social justice, and implementation of Central and State Government Schemes, through which self-governance is realised. On April 24, 1993, the Constitutional (73rd Amendment) Act of 1992 came into force in India to provide constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions. AROEHAN is celebrating PESA and Panchayat Raj Awareness Month from March 15th to April 2023 in accordance with the 25th anniversary of the declaration of the PESA Act, and the 30th anniversary of the Panchayat Raj Act.

We conducted awareness programmes in 150 hamlets of Mokhada, Jawhar, and Dahanu. In order to raise social consciousness in society, awareness rallies were held by AROEHAN with the participation of students and locals. AROEHAN conducted an exhibition for locals of the IEC material including booklets and posters on the Forest Rights Act, Ration Dakkshata Samiti, Maharashtra Gramin Yojana, Gram Sabha Kosh Samiti, and MGNREGA.

On April 11th, a PESA awareness programme was held in Banachiwadi. AROEHAN’s Pada Samiti and the newly elected PESA Gram Kosh Committee facilitated the programme. Sarpanch, Deputy Chairman, Zilla Parishad members, Agriculture Assistants, Anganwadi workers, and Gram Panchayat members were present in the programme. A Shivar Pheri was conducted to assess the needs in the village for the preparation of the Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP). In the presence of 55 villagers, we raised awareness about the PESA Act and the rights and entitlements of the residents of tribal villages.

Mokhada girls visit Palghar for the first time

On 17th February 2023, a group of girls from Mokhada came to visit the Palghar Zilla Parishad for an exposure visit. At first, they visited AROEHAN’s Project Office in Palghar, where they were greeted by CEO Mr. Amit Narkar. Out of almost 47 of those who visited, 32 girls were visiting Palghar for the first time. The group included adolescent girls between the ages of 11-19 years, including students, school and college dropouts and even young mothers accompanied by their children. AROEHAN Prerikas, PCMs, Health PO Tamanna, Documentation Officer Naitri Patel and admin PA Pramila Watas were part of the visit.

At Zilla Parishad, the Extension Officer Mr. Govind Dhanga greeted the group and introduced the girls to different departments within the building. The group took a tour of the Health department, Education department, Women and child development department and CO offices. They were guided thoroughly by officials at each department. The group gathered in a speaker hall and conveyed their concerns regarding healthcare to the Extension Officer and other officers. They spoke up about the lack of resources and facilities in the healthcare systems of the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and rural hospitals. AROEHAN’s activists as well as locals from Mokhada were also vocal about the negligence of government employees toward the needs of the communities and their arrogance toward the tribes. They requested to look into the lack of resources in their areas and suggested supervising the situation.

Later, the group visited the office of Childline 1098 in Palghar. They were guided by Rushabh Nikam about the organisation’s work for child protection and safety. Most of the group had never seen a railway station or travelled in railways. Hence visiting Palghar Railway station was also a part of this exposure visit. They were guided about trains and train platforms and were provided with a demonstration for purchasing train tickets.

Releshani: A workshop on relationships for Adolescents

Adolescence is a tender yet complicated period of growth. Teenagers go through major physical and emotional life transformations and are often oblivious to how they can react to these changes. It is necessary to provide them with complete knowledge about their growth and the growth of their peers to help them grow into empathetic and capable adults. AROEHAN held a three-day workshop on ‘relationships’ in Kosbad, Dahanu facilitated by AABHA -Arogya Bhan Collective Association. Relationships with self, friends,peers and adults were explored in this interactive three-day camp.

The workshop kickstarted with grounding techniques by trainers. Facilitator Dr. Mohan Des sang the song ‘My Yard is the Rhythm of the Tree’ which described the importance of the tree of life. After some warm-up exercises, the participants were opened to varieties of activities to understand complex topics like prejudice about genders, toxic behaviour, different emotions, needs and desires, the human body, evolving relationships, sexual health and the role of mobile phone and media in this day and age.

The participants performed skits based on the experience of children growing up, discrimination between boys and girls in sports, the importance of voting and societal myths around menstruation. Adolescents crave junk food and are often vulnerable to toxic substances like nicotine, drugs and alcohol. The trainers talked about the effects of such substances on the body and how to avoid them. The dialogue was then opened to social norms and discrimination based on gender. From clothes to their perceived roles, several gender biases were addressed. The body anatomy and process of reproduction through male and female bodies were explained using visual aids by facilitator Shruti Bhide. This was followed by an open discussion about the nature of relationships, different sexual orientations, genders other than male and female, the difference between sexual and romantic relationships, consent and care, contraception, incorrect representation of sex in media. Myths and truths about all topics were thoroughly discussed.

Adolescence is a vital time in any individual’s life. The learnings here lay the foundation for becoming an adult. Not all the information learned in this workshop can be relatable for each individual. However, it is necessary to understand human nature to live a full life and embrace each other as a human before our differences. As Dr. Mohan Des said, the conversation can sometimes get uncomfortable but he has never seen anyone get bored of it.

Mata Melava: Meeting Of Mothers

In the month of November, AROEHAN launched a new initiative called Mata Melava in the hamlets of Mokhada and Jawhar. This event intends to give a refreshing break to the mothers outside their homes and taking care of their daily chores. Here we also take the opportunity to honour mothers and pregnant women following our guidance and counselling about taking care of themselves and their children. The event took place in Pimpalshet, Nandgaon, Aaina, and Sarsun Gram Panchayats in Jawhar. The mothers whose children are in good health and gaining appropriate weight were awarded. They set an example for other mothers about nourishment and motivated them to take care of children, thus avoiding malnutrition among children. The pregnant women were also awarded for registering themselves at the Primary Health Centres (PHCs), going for sonography check-ups, and taking necessary measures for their health. These women were felicitated with gifts like tiffin boxes, cooking utensils, and lunch kits containing groundnuts, sugar, broken pulses, etc.

AROEHAN aims to improve the attitude of people around mother and child healthcare. There is a lack of scientific temperament among a large population of India regarding the upbringing of infants. It leads to several superstitious practices still being followed in these households. Hence, we make sure that mothers and caretakers are educated well during our health-related interventions including counselling, during community-based events, and individual care through home visits.
In the same spirit, we conducted a trivia segment as well during the Mata Melava. The participants were asked questions regarding vaccines for children, PHC registration, checking Haemoglobin levels, etc. This was not only to test their knowledge but also to remind everyone about the different nourishment requirements. Participants who answered the given questions correctly were given prizes. At the end of the event, we played games of musical chairs and spoon with lemon race with all the mothers. It was a refreshing day for all the women and they had a good time. The total participation in all four Gram Panchayats was 264 and 156 awards and prizes were distributed on the occasion.

Women Healthcare Public Dialogue in Mokhada

AROEHAN NGO holds a Health Public Dialogue for tribal women of Mokhada.