I am happy to update you with some exciting new developments in the last months. Due to the success of the 'Child Rights' model utilized by our project partners NISD, we applied for and have received funding from the UK Government (Department for International Development) to run an expanded version of this project for 3 three years. DFID are now funding 70% of this expanded project, with Karuna raising the remainder.
Additional elements of the project include:
Supplementary nutrition provided to all children, twice a day.
Books, uniforms and educational materials distributed to the thousand poorest children.
Community-Led Total Sanitation' programme - raising awareness amongst at least 9,000 people on such issues as water handling, food hygiene and disposal of human and animal waste, and encourage construction and use of toilets and soak pits by at least 2,350 families.
Self-help Groups (SHGs) and Vocational Training - 200 women’s SHG leaders will improve their literacy and financial skills, learn how to access resources and start small businesses. This learning will be shared will 4,000 women. 800 youths will receive training in areas relevant to the local market such as plumbing, electricity, hospital assistance and jewellery making.
Though the new activities were only recently expanded, the project team have been quick in implementing them. Since April:
We wish the project team success with their continuing work, and shall be keeping you updated with the progress.
Thank you, as always, for your support.
Vimal Bhagaji Bhoir lives in Bhoirwadi and is a member of Kotamadevi Bachat Gat Self-Help Group. This Group was formed in 2002 as an NISD initiative. NISD encouraged women to save Rs. 20 from their low income. Vimal was contributing financially to the group fund but could not participate in meetings or activities as she and her husband had to travel very far for work. She was also not able to spend a decent amount of time with her children.
An 'Income Generation Scheme' training programme was organized by NISD which Vimal and the other women of the group attended. The trainer gave information on Small Dairy and Cattle rearing, along with other business. Vimal liked the idea as it was possible for her to look after a cow. However she did not have money to buy a cow. She saved some money and took Rs. 15,500 loan from her Self-Help Group. She bought a cow for Rs. 22,000.
The cow gave birth to a male calf, and was giving 6 liters of milk. She was able to repay the loan by selling the milk. The cow has since given birth to 3 more calves, 1 male and 2 female. From the sale of the male calves Vimal received enough money to leveling their land (for which NISD arranged a JCB at a subsidized rate).
Vimal currently has two cows, and is receiving sizable income from the sale of their milk. Now her husband and she work on their own field rather going far away to work as wage laborers. The income from the milk has meant Vimal has paid back the loan, and is able to provide for her children's education. She also gives time to the Self-Help Group which she feels has changed her life so much. She is now Secretary of Kotamadevi Bachat Gat and encouraging other women to organize themselves into similar Self-Help Groups.
Thanks you for enabling NISD to facilitate such Self-Help Groups within these tribal displaced communities
Rani belongs to a very poor family. Her parents make just enough money to feed the family of 5 by making and selling brooms.
Rani herself excels in her studies. Her school is 10 km away from where she lives and so she must take the bus daily. Her parents were somehow able to pay 10 rupees for the bus each day. However, Rani would still have to spend 2 to 3 hours each day waiting for buses, as they are not scheduled or regular. Often Rani would arrive at school late, and was even once late for her exams. She would become frustrated as it was beyond her control, and yet the teachers would regularly punish her for being late.
Rani was understandably upset, as she knew how difficult it was for her parents to pay for the bus in the first place. Considering this, she decided to leave school.
NISD’s Reading Improvement Class teacher came to know of Rani’s plans to drop out. He visited her family and stressed the importance of her continuing her schooling. He then met with the school teachers to discuss Rani’s situation, and it was decided the Rani needed a bicycle. This was discussed with NISD’s social workers who sent the case to the head office.
Some money was put aside to buy Rani a bicycle. She now attends school regularly and on-time. She now has more time for her studies.
Rani recently sat her 8th Standard examination, is hopes to complete her education. Her parents remain very supportive in this regard.
Thank you for allowing the various ‘Child Development’ activities to continue, through which Rani’s situation was noticed and she was helped. Instead of dropping out of school, she will now complete her education and be in a much better position to escape poverty.
Swati Vilas Gaikawad is 13 years old.
Her parents are wage laborers, and the family of 5 live in dire poverty in Karule, Sangamner. Swati was born blind. Up to 3rd standard, she was attending a School for Blind Children in the neighboring town of Shrirampur. However, problems at that school meant that they could no longer support Swati. Upset, she had to return to the small drought-prone village of Karule, which has almost no facilities. She would spend her days sitting at home with nothing to do and nothing to stimulate her.
Her mother, realizing that something needed to be done, began leaving her in the NISD run pre-school center while they worked, in the hope that she would at least be able to play and pass her time.The Reading Improvement Teacher (RIP) spoke to Swati about her situation, and decided to take action. She collected all the information available on Swati, and met with Local Government school teachers. The problem was discussed in a Village Education Committee (VEC) meeting.There were members of the committee who had attended NISD's Child Right trainings and appreciated education was a right for all children. Thus the VEC insisted that educational facilities appropriate for Swati should be available in the village.
The case was taken to the Education Officer, and further action was taken by the VEC and NISD project staff. Finally, a Government teacher with the necessary skills was assigned to the village, under the Government's 'Education for All' initiative. Swati is now enrolled in the 4th standard, with braille books and other educational materials provided, and a teacher to guide her. The VEC and Child Parliament members also registered her for a Government scheme for visually handicapped children.
Swati is very intelligence child. Seeing her willingness to learn, she has also joined the RIP. She greatly enjoys all the new stories she is learning, and is always ready to answer questions about them. Swati is now enrolled in education, and spending her time meaningfully.
Thanks to all who have donated for supporting the various child development programmes that helped us to bring hope to Swati's future.
Educated until: 7th std.
Address: At Sabalewadi, Post. Sangnore, Tal. Junnar, Dist. Pune.
Mrs. Kusum’s family consists of herself, her husband, her two daughters, her son and her in-laws. They live in Sabalewadi village, described as "a tribal and most backward area of Pune district." Kusum’s family lost their fertile land due to construction of Pimpalgaon Joge dam. The fertile land was submerged, and all that remains is on the slopes and barren. This meant Kusum had to work on others' fields, walking 14-15 km daily one way. Their life as wage labourers was very difficult, as only Kusum and her husband could work to support the seven of them. Also, because they had to leave the house very early and returned very late, they were not able to look after either the children, or the elderly in-laws.
A few months back Kusum joined a Self-help Group and started saving Rs. 20 per month from her meager income. NISD’s representative told her about the Land Leveling Scheme implemented by NISD and how it could will help to make their remaining sloped land productive. Kusum discussed with his family members but they had no money. Kusum’s Self-help Group helped by giving her a loan. Thus Kusum leveled 2 acres of unproductive, barren land. Family members started cultivating this land, growing crops such as millet, wheat and various vegetables. They produced a paddy in the rainy season, and reaped much food and grain. From the profit they not only repaid the loan but also dug a well in their field to solve irrigation problem. Now both husband and wife work in their own field as proud farmers and fulfill all their family needs from the income. Kusum can now take time to care for the children, their education and her elderly in-laws.
This is all thanks to the Self-help Group; only possible through the generosity of the donors.
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