on the details of
Kunjumol the project holder of Navachetana, was born in a Dalit Christian family in a village in Pathanamthitta district near Tiruvalla. She got involved with Grameena Vanitha Prasthanam, where she raised serious questions on dalit women’s rights, made protests against the atrocities that dalit women and unorganized women workers faced in the society and their workplaces. The organization was the result of an experiment by four young people committed to work for the cause of the community and children in the early seventies in Kayamkulam, a village on the coastal belt in southern Kerala. It was a close-knit group formed through study, discussion and fellowship. The unemployed youth got involved in economic programs like coir mat weaving, peanut making and house to house sales. The first major operation of the group was during the time of Emergency. Navachetna team has been the founder of the Chengara Aikyadatha Samiti (Chengara solidarity forum) and has played a critical role in developing a complete package for negotiation with the state government. Moreover the cultural team has spent a great deal of time with the community in Chengara itself energizing the struggle and facilitating the cultural expression of the people thereby ensuring child rights. Navachetna found its meaning and philosophy in the dalit vision of life which was revealed in their exploration of true dalit culture and identity.
The intervention villages of Navachetana are predominantly inhibited by dalit communities namely Sambavas. The main source of income for the men is coolie work and they earn about Rs. 350/- to Rs. 400/- (less than $10) a month. Income levels are very low and due to struggle for livelihood, families migrate to adjoining towns and cities. The area is suffering from lack of government health services. A substantial number of children are not going to school as there is no government school in the locality. Main issues of the colony are hunger due to lack of livelihood, unsanitary housing and high levels of alcoholism. Immunization is not being covered properly for the women and children. Primary Health centres (PHC) are mostly defunct. There is high incidence of malnutrition, low birth weight, low rate of institutional delivery and lack of awareness among people on personal and community hygiene.
- To strengthen direct interventions with children from 17 villages of Pathanamthitta district towards their holistic cognitive development for their futures.
- To shape a community of children in Tiruvalla itself who can resist violations and assert their rights.
- To analyze child rights (CR) issues in the operational area and intervene in protecting those.
- To strengthening holistic CR perspective of communities in Pathanamthitaa and other CRY partner districts through cultural activism and campaigns.
Navachetana has undertaken baseline data collection process to assess the situation of education, health, livelihood and land. During this year, a cultural training program was held for 15 cultural activists at Tiruvalla at Penamma Bhavanam. The main theme was ‘Historical Perspective of Child Rights and Cultural Transformation’. Bhoomigeetham campaigns were also held in Atappadi and Kollam linked to the CRY partner areas. The Navachetana children also presented a cultural program in the NEC meeting.
Some of the impact in the review period:
- Base line data collection done to analyze child rights issues in the 17 operational villages.
- Pularikootam team has greatly strengthened their work in the 17 villages. Almost 350 children are engaged and each groups has about 25-30 children.
- The World Environment Day observation by Pularikootams held in 3 cluster areas this year – Punnamon, Kunnamthanum and Ennakkadu.
- As part of the children’s documentation, the ‘ARANGU’ - a hand-written publication by children was brought-out in the context of Hiroshima Day.
- Children organized an Education yatra as a public campaign and also did their theater activities near 4 schools in the operational area.
- For the first time adolescent camps were held during this year. It was held in three cluster areas of Punnaman/ Enekaadu/ Kunnanthanum and discussions on the larger gender stereotypes were held through child friendly exercises.
- Focused community mobilization at each of the 17 colony levels to analyze and act upon issues of survival/ development and protection of children.
- To strengthen the Pularikootams in all 17 colonies: enable senior children and mothers in the communities to play critical anchoring roles in the process/ raise (and respond to) immediate issues affecting children.
- Build capacities of the Navachetna team on issues of health, education, protection and strengthening knowledge on the systemic and structural aspects of the same.
- To play a critical role in Jana Munettam and lend complete solidarity in establishing as a state level alliance on Education.
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