on the details of
30 villages in Bhagalpur district, Bihar, India
Mr. Uday, the project holder, has been involved in various socio-cultural movements, including the JP movement, Ganga Mukti Andolan and was active in the Chhatra Yuva Sangharsha Vahini. PARIDHI was established in 1998 by a group of activists who were then working on issues like land, water and displacement of slums etc. under different banners (movements and non registered organisations). Initially, the organisation in urban slums focused on the predominant issues like their housing rights and mobilization of the people against forceful eviction. PARIDHI aims to establish a just society based on equality, freedom and justice, abolishing all types of discrimination and living a pleasant and dignified life.
Presently, Bhagalpur is one important sub-divisions of divided Bihar and comprises of 3 subdivisions and 17 community development blocks. Bhagalpur is a place with agriculture and some small scale industries based economy. A large part of the economy was also based on the fishing from a very long time. The situation of pre-school education in the operational village is a matter of concern. Community people don’t understand the importance of the early child education as foundation for the next phase of education. The quality of pre-school education and overall environment doesn’t yield any interest amongst the parents or amongst the children. Children are only attracted towards the Supplementary Nutrition Program instead of Pre-School Education. This factor actually develops the practice of irregularity amongst the children.
Children in the area have accessibility to middle schools but presence of high school is a big problem. After middle schools (Grade 8), the children of 14-18 years have to travel 20-30 KM daily to access higher education. For the girls, thus, it becomes a challenging task to continue education after grade 8. Lack of access to higher education, parent’s perception of girl child being a burden and overall question of safety becomes the underlying root causes of child marriage. Instead of sending their girl children to high school where they have to travel for miles, parents prefer to get their child married.
It has been observed that children in 13-14 years age group from poor families stopped their education and started working in the village or nearby urban areas. Children in this age group work in local villages in agricultural sector, cattle grazing, small shops, brick kilns etc. It has been also noticed that, children above 15-16 years start migrating with their adults of their family or other community members to other states and thus become the seasonal labor. Hence children from Bhagalpur migrate to Gujarat, Delhi, Surat and Punjab. They are engaged in embroidery work, brick kilns, small scale industries shops, hotel, diamond cutting, tiles making etc.
- To bring awareness amongst the community on the importance of the pre school education in the age group of 3-6 years.
- To mobilize the community for demanding ICDS centers and on other issues related to education.
- To ensure re-enrolment of the drop out and out of school children into school.
- To form and capacitate the VSS(Vikas Samvad Samiti) in all schools in the operational area( as in this year new VSS will come in place).
- To raise awareness amongst the community and VSS members on the RTE act
- To engage with the government education officials for strengthening the RTE implementation.
- To motivate the families having child labor to bring back the children.
- To create awareness in the community on the issue of child labor and its legal aspect.
- To empower the existing children collectives in the rural area
Achievements & Impact in the Review Period
The organisational partnership between CRY and PARIDHI started with urban slums intervention and gradually expanded to 40 villages in 4 rural blocks. Initially, the organisation in urban slums focused on the predominant issues like their housing rights and mobilization of the people against the forceful eviction. The operation area has been mapped as critical on education and protection aspect.
The following are the highlights of achievement for the current year of intervention:
- Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) - In rural area, the basic focus has been on awareness building at community level on the importance of engagement with Mata Samithi, youth, mothers, ICDS workers, etc. Child tracking was done for ensuring connect with ICDS centres.
Regular engagement with the ICDS workers has now resulted in them taking proactive steps in connecting children to ICDS. The ICDS workers are also seeking inputs from the team to develop their skills to learn more techniques to engage with the children.
In urban area system, advocacy and election advocacy was done for demanding new ICDS centres. Awareness campaigns were done in the slums on the importance of pre-school education.
- Child Centric Interventions: Tracking done for children who were never enrolled in school or who dropped out of school through home visits and by keeping vigil on vulnerable families where there is potential for children dropping out of school.
- Community level awareness building: The team engaged with community based organisations for discussions on importance of education, provisions of Right to Education (RTE) Act, roles & responsibilities of schools and teachers, etc. The focus was on projecting schools as centres for change.
- Running information centres: The team worked at providing information centre at each block, providing newspaper and other education and communications (IEC) material for youth and children’s groups on various child rights issues.
- Engagement with urban opinion makers: The team also engaged with intellectuals, teachers, women workers, social activists, etc. through various cultural media, including theatre in collaboration with other organisations
- Home visits and sensitization of parents and community : Home visits were to sensitize parents and encourage them to send their children to schools and inform them of the negativities of child marriage.
- Developing Information, education and communications (IEC): Team is working on developing communication material on child marriage and also including it in children’s magazine.
- Constant engagement with 7 urban and 15 rural child collectives: Engagement with child collectives through use of cultural tools for sensitization on issues like education, health, protection, social issues, communal harmony, cultural aspects, gender issues etc.
- Nanha Angan: - A unique publication of the children. The team is facilitating this process in terms of selecting the documents, quality inputs, art work etc and most importantly facilitating the process of developing the materials for the magazine.
- Radio Program- It has been a distinctive intervention of PARIDHI since the beginning. A few PARIDHI workers have engagement with ALL INDIA RADIO –Bhagalpur since last many years and they anchor different children programs on the radio.
- Through this process, the organization has brought more than 600 children on this platform. Now, these children are leading the process of identification of child labor, drop-out cases, child marriage cases in the operational area.
Children’s demonstration of their skills, innovation and expression impressed the adult society and helped them understand the importance of constructive engagement through the children's collective process.
Nisha Kumari, one of 5 daughters of Bhola Das and Meena Devi, is a domestic worker of 12 years from Bhikhan Pur Gumti No-1. The 5 sisters including Nisha have never been to school. The team has started a retention center, an evening class for these children in its office premises. The retention center operates for 2 hours daily in the evening and Nisha was made a part of this. She was undergoing counseling session also along with educational inputs. Nisha watched the movie “I AM KALAM” in PARIDHI office. Along with this intervention, the team also counselled her parents and involved her mother’s in MATA SAMITI meeting in the slums. This whole process generated interest in school. Then the team started the process to enrol Nisha back in school. As, she never had been to school the Principal of Bhikhanpur Middle School refused to take her in age appropriate class. Hence, a new battle started. The team reached to Development Officer and wrote an application stating the problem. They also reached out to the media and media also highlighted this case. Finally, Development Officer ordered the principal to give Nisha admission in the school after which the principal invited the team and ensured Nisha’s admission in grade 7 on 10th Oct 2015 a day after her father passed away in rail accident. Nisha is now in grade 8 and regularly going to school as well as attending the Retention center and enjoying the inputs.
The plans for the year ahead are as follows:
Focus 1: Ensuring 100% coverage of the 3-5 years children under the ICDS for Pre-School Education.
- Identification of the children 3-6 years who are out of ICDS centers by the team and ICDS workers along with Mata Samiti members.
- Regular meeting at community level and demand generation for new ICDS centers.
- Building relationship with the new elected Panchayati Raj Institution members and reaching out to them to influence their ideas on education.
- Database development by the team members to identify the children who are in school, who are drop out, who are irregular etc.
- Focusing on girl children retention and regularity.
- Discussion with the teachers regarding the causes of irregularity and drop-out.
- Identification of the potential drop out cases through children
- Individual target based intervention in the form of home visit, family counselling, individual counselling etc. for children who are irregular and drop out.
- Awareness campaign in the villages on education of 6-14 years children through campaign, meeting, cultural performances by PARIDHI, children groups to bring about behavioural changes in the community.
- Composition of theatre and new songs based on the provisions of RTE act and use it as cultural tool in the community.
- Campaign / memorandum on school infrastructures. Engagement with the block level and relationship building with the teachers.
- Media advocacy on the issue of infrastructure, teachers, safe drinking water, book distribution, teacher’s training.
Focus 4: Preventive programs implemented in 30 villages for addressing child marriage through a comprehensive program.
- Capacity building of the adolescent groups on child marriage.
- Collection of child marriage information from the adolescent groups.
- Counseling and support to the families and motivating them to continue education
- Community meeting to motivate the parents to send their children specially the girl children to join the BAL MANDALI.
- Community level meeting to help them to understand importance of Children collective.
- Distribution of publication materials to the parents so they can encourage their children towards creative work.
- RADIO PROGRAM by the children group 4 times in a year on different issues like child labor, child marriage, drop out, RTE implementation etc.
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