on the details of
Mr. Bhakta Purakayastha and Mr. Gopal Pramanik are the founders of Sunderban Social Development Centre (SSDC). Having faced the hard facts of life and livelihood caused by the deprivations due to natural disasters/calamities and also the deprivations caused by the systemic factors, both teamed together along with some local youth to carry out their social responsibilities. SSDC initiated its interventions in a small way in 1986 with the objective of upholding the dignity of the most vulnerable sections of the community through empowerment. Over the years, SSDC have performed rallies by women and children, street corner meetings, street theatres by children from the Kishore Kishori Bahinis and advocacy meetings with the PRI members and Health departments in order to bring up new and activate the existing government health services. In the year 2009-10, SSDC influenced the Government agencies to start Ayushmati Scheme in the whole of West Bengal, and extended the health services to private hospitals and nursing homes in the district of South 24 Parganas.
The district of South 24 Parganas is located in the southernmost tip of West Bengal and touches the Bay of Bengal. The sex ratio is 938 per thousand males. The population composition, is the third highest among all the districts in West Bengal, 34% of the population is SCs and only a minor proportion is from the scheduled tribes. In the operational villages Muslim communities comprise 45% of the reference group. Health is a problem with lack of medicines, vaccines and staff in the available health care centers. There is absence of referral facilities and well equipped labor rooms in primary health centers. High infant and maternal mortality rates apart from the high incidence of common diseases. Schools are inadequate in number and sub standard in terms of quality education, teaching and available infrastructure. All this leads to rising number of school dropouts. Agriculture is the main occupation, however, the productivity is very low owing to soil salinity and extensive rain.
An overwhelming majority of women commute regularly to Kolkata to work as domestic help. This has heavy adverse implications on the status of child rights in the area, especially protection rights of children. Domestic violence is a major problem in the area. Early marriages have been the major reason for infant and maternal mortality in the operational area. Child marriage, child labor and child trafficking are a recurrent phenomenon in the district.
- To enhance the health status of the children by reviving basic health care delivery system of the operational area.
- To ensure the right to work and food for the children of the operational area through strategic interventions.
- To ensure that all children and each individual enjoy the right to live with dignity and are free from all sorts of abuse, enjoy protection and get legal redressals
- To ensure space for children within their families and within their community.
Review and Impact
- Awareness was imparted on the available services at LSG and through various schemes for the people, children, farmers, pregnant women, widow/widower, and elderly people/senior citizens and especially able in the realm of health, education, livelihood and protection.
- ICDS centres were followed up on a regular basis by the VDC, Mahila Mandals & Kishore Kishori Bahini members and the members were motivated for demanding regular & improved services on child care along with the mothers' health.
- Monthly meetings with the District Rural Development Cell were conducted in which Project Director of SGSY, Women Development Officer, all the D.R.Ps. and NGO representatives were present.
- Child Parliament was formed and the members organised their monsoon session and all the Child Parliament MPs participated enthusiastically and a new planning has been developed for the forthcoming six months.
- New Ration Cards and PDS (Public Distribution System) were issued
- In 35 schools (high & primary) of the project area, meetings were organized with the teachers and Panchayat Pradhan also regarding RTE Act.
- Linking of Ayushmati health scheme with local Nursing home so that pregnant mother may access the facilities.
- Birth registration, community sensitization and health awareness programs will continue.
- 70 out of 136 children to be brought out of malnourishment. 106 pregnant women to be ensured nourishment.
- Ensuring 100% enrollment in villages through formal and non formal schools.
- Strengthening of the community groups, including groups of women, children and adolescents. Ensure greater and more empowered participation on their part in local development.
- Advocacy with local administration and district and state level in the realm of disaster management, disaster mitigation and preparedness so as to address survival and protection issues related to this.
- Identification of & intervention to stop cases of child trafficking. Efforts to reduce & mainstream child labor.
- Awareness drives by children through theatre on health, education and protection.
- Child parliament and regular meetings of children's collectives & children's report on the status of health and education.
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