on the details of
Disha Vihar of Munger was conceived with a view to improve the lives of the backward, dalit and other exploited communities and to bring them in the mainstream socio-political processes to build a just society. The organization has been involved in many activities such as the National Literacy Campaign, Polio campaign with UNICEF, the Manav Jodo Abhiyan, etc. It has worked for the irrigation rights of the small and marginal farmers, fishing rights of the fishermen (Machuara) community, the rights of the Diara community which is displaced due to the Ganges floods in Munger district. The Project holder Mr. Abhay Kumar Akela, has been involved in the Ganga Mukti Andolan, the Munger movement and the Rashtriya Seva Dal. He was actively involved in the Bihar Pradesh Lok Samiti. He played an important role in ensuring that peace resumed after the Bhagalpur riots by organizing various communal harmony programs in Munger district.
The current intervention is spread over 11 villages of Sadar block of Munger district, (directly) and 10 villages each from Asarganj, Tarapur and Kharagpur block (indirectly). Located in Southern Bihar, Munger district is famous for its natural resources, forests, hills and rivers. The district has two types of landscapes, the Diara land and Tal land. These areas suffer from annual erosion, water clogging and sand deposition due to the flooding of the Ganges and its tributaries. The district experiences drought and floods simultaneously which affects agriculture severely. People have to migrate to safer places due to floods. For the marginal and small farming communities like the Bhinds, Kumhars, Banias, Dhobis and Muslims, agriculture is not a viable livelihood option. These communities have been recently selling their land at nominal prices to the landlords and have turned to working as daily wage laborers. Due to faulty forest laws, the marginalized communities have lost control over the forests which was their source of survival and wage discrimination is rampant in the area.
The government systems are defunct and do not address the needs to the underprivileged. Low awareness level is also a reason for the poor status of birth registration and proper check up of children and pregnant women. Quality of education in the schools is poor in terms of educational materials, curriculum and regularity. Discriminatory attitude of the teachers and upper castes adds to the woes of the marginalized children. Strong presence of the dominant culture actually becomes the obstacle for child expression and inclusion in decision making. Disha Vihar aims to establish a society which is free from economic and social discrimination.
- To organize the marginalized community and mobilize their potential.
- To build collective leadership in the community and increase their participation in the society.
- To strengthen the culture which is countering the degrading influences in the society.
- To publish and disseminate various information to the community in local languages.
Review and Impact
In the last two years of partnership, DISHA-VIHAR has shown its sensitive and serious efforts towards the cause of children and attempted to translate this into action in the field. Their sustained effort with the community especially the women and children on one hand and on other, the work with the daily wage laborers, has helped take positive steps towards enabling a larger movement for child rights.
Major achievements include
- 199 new births and 23 old births were registered.
- All children were covered through immunization and health care support.
- 12 primary schools were activated.
- 7 ICDS centers were activated.
- 8 Public Distribution centers were activated.
- Children’s leadership workshop was organized in the community where various children’s issues have been addressed through cultural forms.
- Child Rights Committee in the villages started to monitor the schools and participated in a few School Education Committee meetings.
- The processes with the 'Jal Shramik Sangha' (fishermen's community) were retained and strengthened.
- Campaign on the Common School System [CSS] and seminar involving the middle class people at the district level helped to establish the debate on CSS in the public domain.
In 10 operational villages of Asarganj, the organization has also built its contact with the youth and has engaged them in the monitoring process of the government institutions like health, education and PDS. One of the most important happenings of the last year was the communities resistance to the land acquisition process. Bal Adhikar Committee was formed in 10 villages along with the Mahila Organization [women's collectives]. People were mobilized for their Red Cards [for Below Poverty Line people] and Caste Certificates – 435 Red Cards and 165 Antodaya Cards were distributed due to community pressure. During the review period, they have proved their ability to mass mobilize which has been reflected in the national level and State level programs. Munger district can also be a strategic point for the revival of ‘Ganga Mukti Andolan’ to ensure the rights of the fishing folk, to give momentum to the ‘displacement and ‘land rights movement’ for the ‘diara katao’ people at the State level with the alliance BLAM and enhancing the potential and political power of the unorganized labourers working in the brick kilns and manual stone crushers for their rights and overall child rights movement in central east of Bihar.
- Continuing 10 Jeevan Shalas where children will be trained through cultural forms (for drop out children, child labor of the Patthar Tor Mazdoor and Fishermen). Children will be involved in discussing local issues like Ganga Katao, problems of the fishing men and gender aspects.
- Organizing district level cultural program of the children and Srijan Mela in all the operational blocks. Organizing Kotora rally with the children in all operational blocks and demanding quality education.
- Formation and capacity building of the Bal Mandali and organizing leadership workshop of the children (4 days in two phase).
- Women will hold the social audit process on ICDS and PDS in one block.
- Activation of the Village level child rights committee and taking up the school activation process.
- Organizing capacity building and visioning exercise with the JSS members. Demand generation on police patrolling and free fishing by JSS.
- Meeting with the youth on a monthly basis in all blocks, including a two phase capacity building program of the youth with the BLAM network on cultural and political issues. Organizing Kala jatha at the district level.
- Organizing district level seminar on child rights and the common school system. Participation in the Bal Sakha program and engaging the middle class and intellectuals in the juvenile justice process.
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