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. There is lack of medicines, vaccines and staff in the available health care centers. There is absence of referral facilities and well equipped labour rooms in primary health centres. High infant and maternal mortality rates apart from the high incidence of common diseases. 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. 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. 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 undertake direct action programme for the deprived children through educational and health support.
- To strengthen the CBOs, i.e. Village Development Committees, mahila mandals and adolescent groups to mobilize the community.
- To facilitate the reactivation of government machinery through lobbying and advocacy.
- To form networks and collectives of NGOs and CBOs for Convergence and alignment of perspectives and joint actions towards the realization of Child Rights in the area.
- To empower the community to demand their rightful entitlements to eradicate poverty.
Review and Impact
The present area of operation of SSDC is spread over 102 villages in 10 Blocks of South 24 Parganas in West Bengal. However, in the year 2014-15, it has been decided that the Project will focus upon Mandir Bazar Block more for its intervention. The number of operational Blocks will remain to be 4 and the number of Gram Panchayats will remain as 10 in number. The direct action focused villages will be 24 in numbers while the direct action advocacy villages will be 23 in numbers. Hence, the total number of operational villages will remain at 47. 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.
- Out of 86 cases, 17 children were brought out from malnourished status to normal status.
- Pregnant women were covered under supplementary nutrition and also immunization.
- 1040 children received complete immunization.
- 13 new ICDS centers were opened in the area. 18 ICDS centers were activated.
- 32 drop out children (6-18 years) were enrolled in schools.
- Enrollment and retention of all the children was ensured in the schools.
- 18 govt. primary schools were activated. 4 govt. schools were upgraded.
- 2 child marriage and 2 child trafficking were averted.
- 5 villages were ensured child labour free up to 14 years of age. Proactive result oriented interventions done with CWC/JJ system.
- Children voices are being heard by panchayat, admin, community, who acted upon the issues brought by the children groups.
- SSDC’s focus of intervention will continue on Health, Nutrition, education and child protection. In health and nutrition it will make effort of convergence in govt. bodies and depts., in education its area will be in implementation of RTE and build understanding on quality education, ECCE & Child protection.
- Immunization and regular health check up of pregnant women along with supplementary nutrition. Linkages to be set up with ICDS, ANM and ASHA.
- Health & Nutrition awareness and capacity building program to be held for mothers and community.
- Ensure 100% institutional safe deliveries, immunisation and birth registration.
- Enrolment and retention of 3 to below 6 years children in ICDS centres (Anganwadis).
- Demand for new ICDS to be raised by the partner.
- SSDC to facilitate the processes and carry out periodic advocacy with Governement health departments for strengthening convergence of schemes & programmes for activation of services.
- 100% sanitation and safe drinking water, SSDC will work towards realizing new toilets in households through Panchayats and establishing of new tube-wells at community level.
- 210 drop out children to be identified and enrolled.
- Capacity building of community groups to be done on ICPS, JJ system, functionalization of and engagement with JJ System.
- Formation, strengthening and activation of children’s collectives and bring 265 more children in age group of 9 to 18 under child participation process.
- Advocacy drives to be done by children through theatre on health, education and protection.
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