on the details of
Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
In 1992 Mrs. J. Lalithamma established People’s Organization for Rural Development (PORD) with an objective to build awareness among dalits and to work for sustainable development. PORD started its activities in Thamballapalle Mandal which is underdeveloped and where the situation of dalit and tribal (especially of women and children) is poor. Presently it is operating in Thambalapalle and Madanapalle mandals.
PORD started its partnership with CRY in 2007. At the village level 90 childrens collectives have been formed and 36 strengthened. The team has formed 65 village sanghas (collectives) and 25 slums sanghas. 2 mandal level federations were formed and 2 Mandal (sub-region within district) level federations for the children’s collectives were formed in Thamballapalle & Madnapalli mandals.
PORD is working in 2two mandals of Chittoor district- Madnapalle and Thambalapalle, where dalits and tribes are poorest of the poor and they are unable to meet basic needs like education, health and land. In Thambalapalle 68% families and in Madnapalle 93% families are landless causing lack of access to quality education, health and nutritional food to children. From the operational area, 574 families migrated along with their 808 children for livelihood. Child labor has increased in Schedule Caste (SC) and Schedule Tribe (ST) families and hence drop-out ratio has also increased. 1493 children are malnourished due to lack of livelihood resources, lack of ICDS centers, poor quality of food, insufficient Public Distribution System (PDS) shops, improper distribution of food materials; lack of basic facilities like water, health check up, sanitation and child marriage. Many families do not even have ration cards. At Thambalapalle 483 families did not have job cards. 9% families in Thambalapalli and 15% families in Madnapalli do not have houses. There is prevalence of child marriage in the operational area. 90 child marriages (40% Thambalapalle + 50% Madnapalle) were reported during the year. Some of the major reasons for child marriage is the dowry system, social customs, poor economic conditions of the family, lack of access to schools and lack of enforcement of the law.
- Increase 100% child labor free villages from 19% to 50%.
- Increase 100% child marriage free villages from 23% to 55%.
- Increase villages where 100% children are enrolled in school from 20% to 50%.
Achievements & Impact in the Review Period
PORD has been efficiently working to promote child rights in the rural and urban areas of 2 blocks. During the year the team has achieved beyond the planned target in the area. They have ensured 97% institutional deliveries, approval for 2 new ICDS centers, immunization for 98% children and 75 malnourished children were moved to normal grade. The team has also mainstreamed 158 drop out children & 107 child labor. Infant Mortality Ratio was reduced through village meetings and campaigns were initiated for raising awareness among pregnant women and lactating mothers on immunization, health checkups, nutritional food, clean water, safe institutional deliveries, discouraging early child marriages, antenatal care, and postnatal care.
- Sub centers and Public Health Centers(PHC) were strengthened. Demand was raised for better improvised infrastructure services and 104 ambulance services.
- Awareness was created through village meetings on importance of birth certificates and the team sensitized Community Based Organisation (CBO) leaders, mothers committees, Anganwadi workers and gram panchayat members on importance of birth registration & birth certificates.
- 98% children under 5 years got immunization. The immunization tracking from 0-1yrs and 1-5 yrs children was ensured. For immunization of children, the local committees motivated and mobilized people.
- Enrolment was done for 706 children out of 751 children in the age group 3-5yrs in ICDS and the team ensured pre-school learning.
- 152 out of school children were re-enrolled in schools.
- 110 dropout children were mainstreamed.into public schools.
- Primary schools and 3 upper primary schools were strengthened.
- 13 additional classrooms, 1 Kitchen room, 2 toilets approved (1 for Boys & 1 for Girls) were approved.
- Team had identified 90 child marriages in other operational villages, 22 marriages in 6-14 yrs age group and 68 marriages in 14-18 yrs age group children. Currently, there are 21 child-marriage-free villages / colonies.
- 8 villages were identified in the intervention area with zero child-trafficking.
- 687 child collective meetings were conducted, and discussion initiated on reasons for drop-outs. Parents were motivated and children mainstreamed back into schools.
It is just once in a while that we come across an extraordinary story that’s worth telling. This is one such story of a 12 year old boy who won a national award for his invention.
Life has snatched away a lot from Naveen Kumar who hailed from a small village called Madanpalli in Andhra Pradesh. But that did not deter him from achieving the best. He was just 12 years old when he invented an eco friendly mechanism to cook food, which was cost-effective with zero pollution. He used raw materials like toasted coconut shells, cellulose, lime powder and arg cryst powder to prepare it. And his efforts bore fruit when he won national award for it from the Ministry of Science and Technology.
What makes his story all the more interesting is: Naveen was a child laborer. He was in 4th grade when he had to drop out of school and work at a tea stall to complement his father’s meagre income. His family did not have proper shelter or a steady source of income. Naveen’s father sold vegetables on the street and refused to send him to school as he would lose the additional income Naveen earned. It was at this juncture, CRY-supported project People’s Organisation for Rural Development (PORD) identified him and his family as part of their social work.
But convincing his parents to send him to school was not an easy task. The incentives in the form of mid-day meals, free books and free uniform could not make his parents send him to school. Even with the knowledge that they can be punished for encouraging child labor, his parents refuse to budge from their decision.
The team then approached the Sarpanch and only after the latter agreed to approve their self employment loan that his parents finally relented and Naveen was re-enrolled back in school in August 2013 along with his younger brother who had dropped out as well. As per the promise, the Sarpanch approved a loan of Rs 25000/- for his vegetable business. It was at school that Naveen started participating in child collective meetings, then became a part of the cultural team and gained exposure, confidence and leadership skills. It gave him an opportunity to explore which ultimately led him to participate in the Science Exhibition. He started identifying the issues that schools faced and one was pollution. “I realised that the method which the school authorities used for cooking mid-day meals in the school caused pollution and was not favourable for the environment. Hence, I wanted to find a way through which this pollution could be minimised,” said Naveen. And thus he started working on his project. With the help of his school, Eswaramma Colony UP school and PORD team, he participated in an exhibition conducted by the District Educational department in 2015. Out of the 450 projects that were displayed, only 70 projects were selected for State level. And one belonged to Naveen. He qualified for the national level competition conducted at Delhi. He was one among the five winners. Naveen’s invention is favourable to human health and the environment and is now being used in many schools, including his own, to prepare mid-day meals. The success has truly changed Naveen and his family’s life. His mother joined a self help group and now works at a bakery. When asked what his goal for the future is he said, “I want to become an engineer and help poor children improve their skills.”
Chittoor district is mapped as critical on protection (child labor & child marriage) and education issues. The team has prepared a 3 year roadmap. The broad plan in the 1st year and expected outcome around the issue of child labor and child marriage are as follows:
 Protection (linked with Education)
Focus 1: Increase 100% child labor free villages from 19% to 25%
- Conduct enrollment campaigns across hamlets & colonies involving all stakeholders to re-enroll out of school children.
- 40 drop-out children to be re-enrolled into schools, identify more drop-out children and child laborers and make efforts to re-enroll them.
- Strengthen quality education in the public schools with a view to ensure retention of enrolled children.
- Sensitise parents, local community groups, schools, local government functionaries on the ill effects of child labor and benefits of education for children.
- Mobilisation of social security measures from government for the eligible families to avoid migration.
- Advocate for district level convergence meetings between government departments (CWC, DCPU, WCD department, Police department, Judiciary, labor department.) on protection related issues.
- Strengthen child-to-child interactions to identify potential child labor /child marriage cases and ensure appropriate intervention in such cases.
Focus 2: Increase 100% child-marriage-free villages from 23% to 35%
- Regularly track girl children at risk of dropping out from school and follow-up to ensure they are not married off prematurely.
- Initiate talks with parents of vulnerable girl children as well as local community groups on the ills of child marriage.
- Facilitate community monitoring infrastructure, facilities etc at local schools, with special attention towards amenities needed for girl children, to ensure all enrolled girl children continue schooling.
- Study 60 child marriage cases to understand “factors that caused child marriages”.
- Sensitise children’s and adolescent girl’s groups against child marriages.
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