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.