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Background

Dr. Shambhunath Singh Research Foundation, commonly known as SRF is a secular, non-profit making development organization, which was established by the group of development professionals under the inspiration of renowned literary figure, culturist and social activist late Dr. Shambhunath Singh. In the initial phase, the organisation worked in the field of protection and development of culture, art and literature. Over the last two decades, SRF has undertaken various interventions on the issues like, child centered community development, child rights, women empowerment, gender issues, human rights, urban development and environment protection in rural semi urban and urban areas. Over the period, the organization has partnered with a number of national and international organizations to support Projects in and around Varanasi. SRF had been CRY partner earlier and worked as nodal partner from 1997 till 2006. The Project Holder, Dr. Rajeev Kumar Singh, has around 25 years of valuable experience of working with different agencies like UP Voluntary Health Association under RCH-II Project supported by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India and USAID, Uttar Pradesh Voluntary Health Association, Varanasi, and Dainik Jagran newspaper. He has been nominated in various government committees at different levels and has also received awards. He has been honoured with the ‘Red and White Bravery Gold Medal’ Award in 2001 for struggling against Child laborer by Godfrey Philips India Limited.

Situation

The CRY supported project is in the Kashi Vidyapeeth Ward of District Varanasi. All these slums are settled in urban area. Varanasi, being the center of tourist attraction, there is a lot of employment opportunities available on the Ghat and other areas of the city. It is the search of employment which drags people from adjoining areas to come and settle down in slums and earn their livelihood. Rapid growth of slums has put a lot of pressure on the existing land resources and infrastructure and has led to deterioration of city's physical environment. Although a number of slums are identified under District Urban Development Authority (DUDA), a substantial number of slums are still unidentified and hence are not privileged enough to have basic amenities like drinking water, school facilities, health posts etc. Most of these slums face the threat of displacement or even demolition by the original owners. The reference community members are largely living on daily wage-earning unskilled or semi-skilled activities at construction sites, Rickshaw pulling, other labour work at shops, and other places. Typically these sources and their engagements are not permanent. Women and children are most commonly self-employed as they offer petty services or get involved in selling petty items in shops, vending of small items, assisting petty mechanical jobs and so on. This creates pressure on children to drop-out from schools at an early age and start working to supplement family incomes.

Due to its specific geographical condition, Mughal Sarai Junction (adjacent to Varanasi) is identified as a safe transit zone for child trafficking. Vigilance by SRF has enabled them to identify and rescue almost 200 children with help from railway police forces. Almost all children were rehabilitated with help from Child Welfare Committees. Bihar and West Bengal turned out to be potential source points for such activities. The city lacks adequate quality health care systems and schools for children. People invariable prefer to send their children to private schools paying small fees rather than send them to non-functioning government schools.

Objectives

  • Improving educational status of children in slums area of Varanasi
  • To improve the accessibility and availability of health services within the project area
  • Facilitating health of the mother and the child by ensuring optimum utilization of government resources
  • To facilitate outreach of existing facilities by collaborating with government and community mobilization
  • Ensuring activation of child protection mechanism within the slum community, Mughal Sarai junction
  • Promoting Child Participation within the community and the educational facilities

Review and Impact


SRF has been working in the field of Child Rights from past several years and has ample experience and credibility in the sector. Through its efforts, SRF has built a good rapport with the community and the community is supporting them in project activities. Organization has been actively working in the area of child protection and has been involved in several state and district committees. Organizational representation in CWC and District ICPS committee has brought an opportunity to it for enhancing the impact on the situation of children. The focus of the current CRY partnered intervention is to develop and activate internal as well as external mechanism of child rights protection that induces community action to an extent where sole purpose falls in the paradigm of improving quality of life for children of marginalized community.



Some highlights -

  • Out of 1113 children whose nutrition status was mapped, 20 children were found to severely malnourished and 103 more moderately malnourished - the food dairy created for addressing special needs of SAM children benefitted 14 children
  • All 20 SAM children were linked to ICDS centres for nutrition support, overall out of 1723 children aged 0-6 yrs, 1243 children were linked to ICDS centres
  • 1 new Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) sanctioned for Varanasi
  • Out of 1051 children, aged 14-18 yrs, 636 were linked to schools, 16 drop-out children were re-enrolled, overall out of 3378 children, aged 6-18 yrs, 2744 were linked to schools
  • Total 203 drop-out children re-enrolled into schools

  • All schools mapped in terms of availability of due services and infrastructure as per RTE Act
  • 5 new children corners were opened in 5 schools, currently there are 10 Children Corners in 10 schools
  • SMCs were active in 12 schools, workshops were organised for their members to orient them on their roles as well as on RTE Act rules
  • 318 children, aged 6-18 yrs, identified as child labourers, 25 of them were enrolled for vocational trainings, 6 of them were brought out of workforce and linked with schools
  • 12 vulnerable trafficked children were identified in Varanasi, 7 of them were rehabilitated back into their families, 5 others were taken to government homes
  • 3 child marriage cases were identified through adolescent girls
  • Because of regular interaction in schools and children, 1 case of child sexual abuse was identified by the children’s corner members within school premise – the offender was taken into custody, no child abuse was reported thereafter
  • 1 child protection committee has been formed at the Mughal Sarai Railway station
  • 9 children’s groups and 9 adolescent girl’s groups continued functioning actively

Plans

  • Research Reports on status of schools in terms of availability of due infrastructure, mid-day meals and other facilities to be published
  • 100 percent enrolment to be ensured for all 3-6 yrs children in ICDS Centre
  • 100% children in age group of 6-14 yrs to be enrolled into formal schools, retention % will be ensured by periodic monitoring of school by CBOs & Bal Paharua (SRF’s Children Collective)
  • Linking girl children with government welfare schemes to sustain their education and arrest child marriages
  • All children prone to child labour or early marriage to be mapped and followed through, 100% enrolment of 14-18 yrs drop out children in age appropriate classes in schools
  • Linking all new born children, pregnant women and adolescent girls with ICDS, community monitoring of ICDS to ensure quality services
  • Ensure 100% immunization of pregnant women and children aged 0 – 6 yrs
  • Tracking nutrition status of all children aged 0-18 yrs, especially the age group of 0-6 yrs, 100% follow-up for SAM cases
  • Ensure access for all to adequate nutrition support and proper health care

ANNUAL FINANCIAL SUMMARY

  • Right to Development
    $3,235
  • Right to Survival
    $2,804
  • Right to Protection
    $4,098
  • Right to Participation
    $2,373
  • Administration
    $9,059
  • Total Grant Approved
    $21,569