on the details of
Godda district, Jharkhand, India
SATHEE originated in the course of a Government of India sponsored research project ‘Ecological Survey of ‘Paharia’ community in Santhal Parganas’ during 1988–1991. Through this research project, the team developed an in-depth understanding on the problems of Paharia and other tribal communities living in and around the Rajmahal hills of Santhal Parganas. After working with these communities for around 4 - 5 years, SATHEE was founded. SATHEE has been working on various issues like pulse polio program, adult literacy program and is a member of district level committees like malaria control, polio eradication, state level advisory committee on technology promotion under the leadership of State Development Commissioner and the Right to Food Campaign in Santhal Parganas. The founder, Dr. Niraj Kumar has years of experience in sustainable agriculture, watershed management and community development through various income generation schemes and vocational trainings for youth and women.
SATHEE works in 87 villages and is spread over 7 blocks of 5 districts in Jharkhand - Godda, Sahebganj, Pakur, Dumka and Deoghar. The main inhabitants are the Paharias, Santhal, Kol tribes and schedule castes. Their lives are centred on the forests they live in. However, over the years they have been increasingly displaced out of their traditional homelands. Vested interest groups have been capturing land as well as minor forest products like mahua, cotton and bamboo over the years. Excavation for stones and mining has affected the ecosystem adversely and has led to further depletion of forest cover. Frequent droughts and scarcity of food, lack of adequate capital for agriculture and existence of limited fertile land (2 - 3%) has led to large scale migration of the tribal communities.
Due to lack of proper land records, illegal stone mining in Sahibgunj, lack of proper government schemes and ICDS services, children and women are the most vulnerable. Children suffer from malnutrition and various communicable diseases. Women and child trafficking, child abuse and exploitation of women are common in this community. The condition of health and educational institutions are also lacking in the area. Social security programs meant for vulnerable families are not reaching the targeted beneficiaries. In summer there is scarcity of safe drinking water and traditional water harvesting systems from the hills and fountains gradually collapse. The inadequacy of employment opportunities, poor agricultural growth due to poor land management systems and continuous drought compel local inhabitants to migrate.
- To generate awareness amongst the adolescent girls on health issues, marriage & safe motherhood.
- To generate awareness on malnutiriton and under nutrition among the children.
- To develop understanding in pregnant women and their family members on prenatal and postnatal care and ensure presence of all pregnant women in AWC.
- To ensure 100% immunization for children between 0-3 year's of age.
- To sensitize Anganwadi workers, mata samity, women’s groups on preschool education.
- To identify non school going children (drop out & non enrolled) and enrol them into public schools.
- To capacitate school management committees and teachers on their role and responsibilities.
- To ensure 100% enrolment of children from ICDS to schools.
- To improve the infrastructure status in Primary schools through advocacy at different levels.
Achievements & Impact in the Review Period
SATHEE began its journey with 20 villages of 1 block and has gradually spread over to 87 villages across 7 blocks of 5 districts. With CRY support SATHEE has been able to increase the level of immunization up to 70-80% from nil. Remote villages now have basic health services and ICDS centres within their vicinities. Almost all Paharia villages have schools for children aged 6 - 14 years, 90% children are going to schools and overall awareness of the Paharia tribal communities has improved significantly on the adverse effects of child labor, child marriages. Children’s collectives and community groups have jointly been able to curb child trafficking.
Some of the achievements of this year are as follows:
- 895 children completed immunization in the age group of 0-1 yrs.
- In 35 ICDS centers Village Health and Nutrition Day (VHND) was organized.
- Awareness raised amongst the expected and pregnant mothers on importance of breast feeding.
- VLCPC (Village level Child Protection Committee) have been formed in 6 villages.
- Growth monitoring is regularly happening in 27 ICDS centers.
- 70 non enrolled children in the age group of 7-36 months and 36 children in the age group of 37-60 months are enrolled with the ICDS services.
- Severely Acute Malnourished and Moderately Acute Malnourished children have been identified and with the support of Mantri Mandals, Bal Sanghas and Gram Sabha referral services have been provided.
- Strengthening of School Management Committee (SMC) done.
- Orientation of Bal Adhikar Kendra (children’s group) leaders on child rights.
In the tiny village hamlet of Anamu, in the Boarijor Panchayat, lives 13 year old Alsiva. Here, the villagers mainly rely on their farms for their livelihood and many of them opt for MGNREGA jobs too. They also sell forest produces like wood, Mohua and different herbs in the local market.
Out of the 22 families in this village, one is that of Alsiva’s. And it is a family of 10 including her father, younger sister, 3 step brothers and the family of her elder step brother. Her younger sister is a school goer whereas the brothers are teachers in the missionary school. Alsiva’s father’s income is dependent on farming and selling forest residues. She has been studying in the local primary school.
When Alsiva got promoted to the 6th grade, her mother left them, and Alsiva’s dream of going to the middle school was shattered. The teenager understood that her father was stressed and she had to step up to take responsibility of the household. She decided to stay back at home to handle the household chores. Her dream of becoming a teacher was now a distant one.
Meanwhile Alvisa met Kusum, a community mobiliser of CRY supported project Sathee, when she took part in a Kishori (adolescent) group meeting out of curiosity. The discussions on the importance of education and the issues of adolescence caught her attention. When the group was discussing the enrolment in schools and regularity of attendance, Alsiva could not stop herself from discussing her problem. Kusum counselled her and went an extra mile to convince Alsiva’s father as well.
“I saw a spark in Alsiva’s eyes whenever she spoke about going to school. All I knew was that this child needed wind beneath her wings. I knew I had to be that wind,” says Kusum.
She visited the head teacher of the Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalay (KGBV) residential school for Alsiva’s admission while the process of counselling her father continued. He was not to be convinced so easily… but repeated interactions with the Kishori group helped him look at the bigger picture. So much so, that he himself collected the transfer certificate from his daughter’s school and handed it over to Kusum for her admission into KGBV. Kusum knew she had fulfilled her promise when after the admission a teary eyed father hugged his daughter and said “‘live your dream, be what you want to!”
SATHEE will focus on the issues of education, malnutrition and protection of children particularly on the issue of child marriage. Some of the broad plans are as follows:
 Health & Nutrition
Focus 1: 100% children, aged 0 - 6 years, enrolled and retained in ICDS centres and subsequently enrolled into formal schools (1st grade)
- To generate awareness among adolescent girls on issues related to adolescent health, safe motherhood and nutrition of women and children.
- To ensure 100% immunisation of all children, aged 0 - 3 years, by generating awareness, facilitating adequate public programs like the ‘Village Health & Nutrition Day’ .
- To build knowledge and skills of ICDS workers, local Panchayat members and community at large on preschool education for children, aged 3 - 6 years - preschool education ensured through 40 ICDS centres.
- To assess the status of antenatal and postnatal care for pregnant women, safe deliveries, immunisation and preschool education in the operational area - analyse the findings and implement appropriate programs to address needs of the community.
Focus 1: 100% children, aged 6 - 14 yrs, enrolled in formal schools
- To identify all out-of-school children and make attempts to re-enrol them in schools.
- To ensure enrolment of 100% children from ICDS centres into formal schools .
- To facilitate improvement of infrastructure in formal primary schools through local level (Panchayats, block) advocacy, community support, School Monitoring Committees.
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