on the details of
9 slums in Kashi Vidhyapeeth Ward of District Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Dr. Shambhunath Singh Research Foundation (SRF) is a secular, non-profit development organization, which was established by the group of development professionals under the inspiration of literary figure and social activist late Dr. Shambhunath Singh. In the initial phase, the organization worked in the field of protection and development of culture, art and literature. Over the last 2 decades, SRF has undertaken interventions on child rights, women’s empowerment, human rights, urban development and environment protection in rural, semi urban and urban areas. SRF has partnered with a number of national and international organisations to support projects in and around Varanasi. The Project Holder, Dr. Rajeev Kumar Singh, has around 25 years of experience working with different agencies like the UP Voluntary Health Association, has been nominated to various government committees and has been honored with the ‘Red and White Bravery Gold Medal’ in 2001 for his work against child labor, by Godfrey Phillips India Limited.
SRF with CRY support is working in the slum community of Kashi Vidyapeeth Ward of Varanasi City. Varanasi, being the center of tourist attraction, has a lot of employment opportunities available on the Ghat and other areas of the city. It is the search of employment which brings people from adjoining areas to come and settle down in slums and earn their livelihood. Although a number of slums are identified under District Urban Development Authority (DUDA), a substantial number of slums are still unidentified and do not 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 manual labor 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, assisting petty mechanical jobs and so on. This creates pressure on children to dropout from schools at an early age and start working to supplement family incomes.
Mughal Sarai Junction (adjacent to Varanasi) is identified as a safe transit zone for child trafficking, it being one of the largest junction points for north and eastern India. Bihar and West Bengal are potential source points for such activities. The city lacks adequate quality healthcare and schools for children. People invariably prefer to send their children to private schools paying small fees rather than send them to non-functioning public schools.
- Improving educational status of children in slum areas of Varanasi.
- To improve the accessibility and availability of health services within the project area.
- Facilitating health of the mother and child by ensuring optimum utilization of public resources.
- To facilitate outreach of existing facilities by collaborating with government and through 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.
Achievements & Impact in the Review Period
SRF has been working on child rights for past several years and has ample experience and credibility in the sector. With support from CRY, the team has built a good rapport with the community and the community is now supporting them in the project activities. The team has been actively working in the area of child protection and has been involved in several state and district committees. Organisational representation in Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and District (Integrated Child Protection Scheme) ICPS committee has brought an opportunity for enhancing the impact on the situation of children. The current focus is to develop and activate internal as well as external mechanisms of child rights protection that induces community action towards improving the quality of life for children. Major achievements from the review period include:
- School building with 5 classrooms and 1 room for the principal was constructed and inaugurated in September 2015.
- Awareness raised in community on the importance of education and RTE  through public meetings, door to door meetings and nukkar nataks by children.
- For activation of schools, pupil - teacher ratio was mapped and 2 teachers were appointed in the primary schools of Garaiya and Saraiya.
- Daniyalpur primary school building was constructed and the budget was approved for repairs to be taken up for Paighambarpur school building. The community played an important role in advocacy at district level in the case of budget approval for both the schools.
- Awareness campaigns on preventive healthcare measures and importance of death registration were organised.
- 17 new teachers appointed in schools in the intervention areas. There are 8 primary schools and 1 upper primary schools.
- Birth registration done and birth certificates issued to 137 children in the age group 0-1 year.
- 500 people identified to be registered with different livelihood programs of the state and central government.
- Railway station child protection committee formed at Mughalsarai Railway station. 31 vulnerable children were identified and 24 of them were handed over to parents and 7 children sent to different children’s home by the order/ direction of Child Welfare Committee.
- Child marriage reported in Ambedkar Nagar area was prevented due to timely intervention of Children’s Collective, CBO’s  and field activists.
Arti, who lives in a slum right in the heart of the city of Varanasi, recently passed her class 12th examination with flying colours. Her motive in life is clear – “Not only will I learn and educate myself, but also constantly work towards solving the various issues faced by girl children in my slum.” A feat she tries achieving everyday as president of the girls collective. She isn’t just an agent of change. She’s a ray of possibility and hope for many children.
However, this journey of change has been a long one for Arti. She was forced to take up domestic work to help support her family when she was in class 5. By the time she reached class 8, her parents had already arranged her marriage, seemingly bringing an end to her education.
Arti was not ready for marriage and tried to reason with her parents, but to no avail. She then sought the help of CRY America supported project Dr. Shambhunath Singh Research Foundation working in the area who met with her parents and together with Arti, explained the perils of child marriage to them. After repeated counselling, her parents not only agreed to stop the wedding but also allowed Arti to continue and complete her studies.
- 2725 children between 6-18 years have been enrolled in school
- 116 children between 0-1 year immunized
- 106 children identified with malnutrition and registered
- 224 children in the age group of 0-1 year were issued birth certificates
The team will continue to focus on education and protection. Additionally, the team will also continue to explore opportunities for working on participation.
Focus 1: Strengthened School Readiness Program in ICDS & under ECCE (Early Child Care and Education) Policy 2013
- Sharing knowledge on school readiness program, information collection on existing beliefs and practices, meeting with slum level service providers, capacity building of project team on Early Children Care and Education (ECCE) & ICDS Mission.
- Tracking of children in the age of 3-6 years through data collection, for tracking early childhood education by ICDS centers and subsequently sharing the details with community and other stakeholders.
- Improvement in service delivery of ICDS Centers by ensuring immunization and health check up done in ICDS centers.
Focus 2: To ensure educational opportunities to all children in the age 6-11 years and complete primary schooling with quality education.
- BaseLine Data (BLD) updated in 9 slums on status of education, to cover data on all CR indicators.
- Capacity building of the team on quality education parameter, learning outcome assessment, classroom transactions and course curriculum with a view to ensure deepening of programs on quality education.
- Ensuring retention of all enrolled children in all the 9 public schools.
Focus 3: To track the transition from primary school to upper primary school and ensure educational opportunities for all children in the age 11-14 years with quality education
- Enrolment of children in 6th grade, finding out causes and remedies for drop outs, strengthening existing children’s groups, need-based intervention to cater to immediate needs of dropout children.
- Intervention with teachers and School Management Committee members for quality education and attendance tracking for retention.
Focus 4: Enrolment of children in age group of 14-18 years. Identify status of retention in school during the 1st year and setting target for the next 2 year.
- Enrolment of out of school children in the age 14-18 years into schools, mapping & meeting with parents of dropout children and awareness campaign.
Focus 1: Child Protection Structure: Establishment of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) units at district, block and village level in Varanasi Division (Varanasi, Chandauli, Ghazipur and Jaunpur)
- Establishment of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) & Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) units at district, block & village level in Varanasi in year 1.
Focus 2: Responding to critical cases where access to nutrition and healthcare systems have been denied.
- Mapping of children in age group of 0-5 years, pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescent girls in relation to malnutrition & healthcare system.
- Grade Movement Tracking in place through fortnight tracking of Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) children, monthly tracking of Moderately Acute Malnourished (MAM) and quarterly tracking of normal children.
- Reduction in Infant Mortality Rate, Child Mortality Rate & Maternal Mortality Rate.
- Activation of healthcare institutions.
RIGHT TO PROTECTION
The RIGHT TO PROTECTION protects every child from any kind of exploitation, abuse and neglect, so that there are no hurdles when the child aims to reach for the sky.
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