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Gram Mitra registered in 1999 is dedicated to work for the rights of tribal and dalit children and to address issues like livelihood, Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) and forest rights. Babubhai Srivas the project holder of Gram Mitra has done his 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 education 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 theirnatural resources such as water, forests and land in order to secure their present and future livelihoods. They also aim to reserve 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 notreached the border villages. Infrastructure development such as roads, telecommunications and even electricity are poor. Nearest health service is 8-10 kms away from the villages. 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. Women are abused at work places. Severe anemic conditions and malnutrition are observed in women and children. Poor implementation of development rograms can be seen owing to the distance from the district headquarters. The officials are reluctant to visit the villages due to inaccessibility to the habitations.
While the government has built the infrastructure like roads, school, ICDS centre, health centers, PDS shops, etc. in the villages, owing to the lack of monitoring and the delay in the appointment of staff most of the services are non- functional in the area. Children are involved in collecting forest products like Mahua, Harra, Tendu leaves etc. The ICDS centres are also non functional. Child marriages are prevalent and maternal mortality is high.
- Community sensitization on issue of health, education and child participation to advocate for child rights in the district.
- To build capacities of staffs and village level volunteers on child rights pertaining to different rights for survival, development, protection and participation.
- Ensure enrolment for birth and death for certificates, families for caste certificates, ration cards.
- Build and strengthen children's collectives in 6 villages.
- Build and strengthen women's groups in all the 13 villages for the demand of proper implementation of ICDS, PDS, health centers and schools.
- Sensitizing the communities on child rights pertaining to the right to identity and facilitate to ensure birth/death registration and caste registration.
- Capacity building of staff and the community level volunteers on functioning of LCDs, PDS, Health Centres and status of malnutrition.
- Develop case stories, media advocacy on the issue of health,
- Mainstreaming school dropouts and ensuring activation of schools.
- Strengthen the women groups to take initiatives against child marriage and alcoholism..
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