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Gram Mitra registered in 1999 is dedicated to work for the rights of tribal and dalit children and advocate to address issues like livelihood, Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) and forest rights. Babubhai Srivas the project holder of Gram Mitra has done Masters in Social Work and has been working for dalit and adivasi communities since last 5 years. The organization is working in Chhattisgarh to ensure educational rights of the tribal and dalit children and protect the resources of livelihood. The organisation named as ‘Gram Mitra’ means Friend of Village, in the hope that it would build a strong community of people who have otherwise been excluded from mainstream society and social welfare schemes. The team in Gram Mitra believes in and follows the motto of ‘Sangathan mein Shakti’ i.e. ‘Strength in cooperation’. The organisation has vowed to strengthen the community and create in them the ability to better protect, consolidate and manage their natural resources such as water, forests and land in order to secure their present and future livelihoods. They also aim to preserve the culture, heritage and empowerment of the Dalits and Tribals with focus on women and children. In its first year of partnership with CRY, Gram Mitra will intervene in 13 villages of Korba and Kartala Tehsil of Korba district.
The entire Korba district is brought under the PESA Act, wherein several Panchayat Extensions are provided to 5th Scheduled Areas of Chhattisgarh. But majority of the area is inhibited by tribal communities dependent on agro-based economy. The main reference communities are Scheduled tribes (Gond, Raj Gond, Kawar, Bhaiyana, Binjwar and Dhanuhar Pahari korva) and Scheduled castes (Satnami, Ganda and Panka). Irrigation facilities have not reached the border villages. Infrastructure development such as roads, telecommunications and even electricity are poor. Majority of the areas are backward border areas, which has agro-based economy dependent on rain and dependent on forest for survival. Irrigation facilities have not reached the border villages. Infrastructure development such as roads, telecommunications and even electricity are poor. Due to poor road infrastructure transport systems are poor, even today; the communities have to walk 8-10 kms for the nearest health service.
Employment opportunities are highly dependent on rain and migration is rampant in the area. Due to this, child education is affected thus resulting in low literacy rate, high absenteeism (50%) and even higher drop-out rates (60%) in the border areas. Severe anemic conditions and malnutrition are observed in women and children. Poor implementation of development programs/schemes can be seen owing to the distance from the district headquarters. The officials are reluctant to visit the villages due to inaccessibility to the habitation.
Gram Mitra Samaj Sevi Sanstha was registered on August 31, 1999 under the Society Registration Act by the group of college friends, who were inspired by the youth activities organized for the rights of the downtrodden community. Some of the major focus were:-
- To ensure 100% enrollment of all children in the age group of 3 to 18yrs in pre-primary/ formal school.
- To ensure 100% children and women receive free and quality health services.
- To ensure all children are removed from malnourished situation.
- To ensure capacity building of staff on Protection issues of children.
- To ensure 100% strengthening of children’s group.
Review & Impact
- 11 out of school children have enrolled in open school and has given exams and awaiting for their result.90 children enrolled in formal school from Anganwadi.In total 1586 children were enrolled in schools.
- The organisation has conducted meetings with the community and motivated them to form SMC and also discussed about the roles and responsibilities of SMC.
- 28 malnourished children were moved to normal.
- The organisation has created awareness regarding the importance of ICDS centre and the 6 services provided by ICDS centre among the community and mahila mandal.
- The organisation has continued to strengthen 16 children’s group in the intervention area.
Review & Impact
Gram Mitra has been working in 15 villages for the past 3 years towards ensuring child rights of tribal children. During these 3 years the organisation, has been able to build the perspective of Mahila Mandal, community, adolescent girls group, children’s group on Child Rights issues. The organisation has shown the commitment towards addressing the issues of child rights and believes in community mobilization to address the issues of Child Rights.The organisation has been building the perspective of the mahila mandal, children’s group towards ensuring enrollment, retention of children and activation of SMCs, this has resulted in parents and community monitoring the children going to school and also ensuring retention of children in school. The organisation has been able to enroll destitute children after taking up the issue with the block education officer and teachers. Due to awareness created by the animators, regarding the importance of education, the parents have started sending their children to school regularly, the children who have never been to school has been enrolled in school by their parents. The organisation has created awareness regarding protection issues of children especially on child marriage and child labour among the mahila mandal and community atlarge. The gram panchayat members have also started monitoring the child marriages. The mahila mandal has taken up the issue of alcoholism in the villages.
- Campaign for 100% enrolment of all eligible children in ICDS centres.
- To ensure 100% infrastructures are received in all schools.
- To ensure schools receive food as per the mid day meal menu.
- 100% activation of School Management Committee members.
- To ensure 100% enrolment of all children in the age group of 6yrs to 18yrs in formal school.
- To ensure number of children in the age group 6yrs enrolled in formal school.
- Advocacy with various stake holders for proper implementation of RTE Act-2009.
- Ensure 100% immunization of all children aged 0-6 yrs,and mothers,all new births to be registered.
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