on the details of
Mr. Bhakta Purakayastha and Mr.Gopal Pramanik are the founders of SSDC. Having faced the hard facts of life by the deprivations due to natural disasters and systemic structural factors, both teamed together along with some local youth to carry out their social responsibilities. Sunderban Social Development Centre [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 govt. health services. In the year 2009-10, SSDC influenced the Govt. machinery and the Department of Health to start Ayushmati Scheme in the whole of West Bengal, and extended the services and facilities under Ayushmati scheme 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, which is the third highest among all the districts in West Bengal, reflects that 34% of the population is SCs and only a minor proportion is from the scheduled tribes. In the operational villages Muslim communities comprise of 45% of the reference group. The prominent issues affecting children include:
Health - There is 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.
Education - Poor availability of infrastructure as well as poor quality of services and facilities, schools are inadequate in number and sub standard in terms of quality education, teaching and available infrastructure. All this lead to rising numbers of school dropouts.
Livelihood - Agriculture is the main occupation, however, the productivity is low owing to soil salinity and extensive rain. Majority women commute regularly to Kolkata to work as domestic help. This has adverse implications on the status of child rights in the area, especially protection rights of children.
Gender discrimination – 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 Protection - child marriage, child labor and child trafficking are a recurrent problem.
- 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 of adult community and ensure right to Food and Nutrition of the Children.
- To establish quality basic education for the children of the operational area through strategic interventions at different stakeholder level.
- To ensure 100% enrolment of children in schools and thereby ensuring reduction / doing away with dropouts.
- 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 redress.
- Strengthen and activate Legal support system (JJ system) and the Administration.
- Ensure prevention and reduction of incidents of child labour, child marriage and child trafficking.
- To ensure space for children within the family and local community
Review and Impact
SSDC has been focusing on the issues of health and nutrition from its very inception. Over the last couple of years, SSDC has inched forward as a credible organisation working in the area of health and nutrition in the district of South 24 Parganas. Despite the lopsided and grave political status prevailing in the district, SSDC has been continuously striving towards ensuring the Rights of the Child in the district. While on one hand, they have developed a set of active and vocal community groups who can question the adequacy and quality of services and seek due entitlements from the local government units through campaigns and other forms of collective action, on the other they have been focussing on awareness creation and knowledge building at the community level through street corner meets and street theatres. They have also built a strong network with other local NGOs as well as with elected representatives from the district.
- 960 children, aged 0 – 5 yrs, covered through immunization program
- 12 new ICDS centres opened
- 72 cases of malnourished children were identified and all of them were registered for treatment and supplementary nutrition
- 14320 children, aged 6 – 18 yrs, were enrolled into local formal schools
- 1 new school was opened, 1 existing school was upgraded
- 5 villages found to be free from child labour, 16 villages reported no incidence of child marriages, 44 villages reported no incidence of child trafficking
- 21 physically challenged children covered under growth initiatives
- 53 children’s groups continued functioning with 1140 child members
- 157 existing + all new pregnant women to be covered under health check-ups, due vaccination program and to be provided with supplementary nutrition
- 1158 children to complete immunization as per calendar, 3505 more children to be covered under the immunization program
- 3841 children to be covered under ICDS support
- All 66 identified cases of moderate and severe malnutrition to be brought out to normal levels
- 100% enrolment and 100% retention status to be achieved in at least 5 more villages
- At least 47 out of 77 child labourers to be removed from labour and enrolled into schools
- At least 5 out of 10 villages to be declared child labour free
- 53 children’s groups to be sustained, children’s issues to be moved in at least 5 Panchayats
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