A key part of the Dalit Freedom Network's projecct to transform the lives of mothers and their children are our Community Health Workers. We have more than 100 CHWs around the nation delivering health, hygiene and preventative medical services to the poorest of the poor.
To give an example of the good work of these health workers, we take you to the North Indian state of Rajasthan.
We have five Community Health Workers working at DFN's Good Shepherd Schools. They each manage a minimum of around 150 students in their respective schools. These school children come from Lambadi and Harijan communities. Most of their parents in work as sweepers and labourers earning daily wages. The majority of the people are landless labourers and hence work in agricultural fields and herd sheep and goats. Their struggle to meet the basic needs of their family is real. Many of them have to support their elderly and extended family. The children in these school often face diarrhoea, stomach infections, fever, malnutrition, abdominal discomfort, malaria, and typhoid.
These difficult circumstances led our CHWs to step in with care to help treat the children. They gave talks to both the children and their parents about health and hygiene, hand washing, drinking clean water, good nutrition. They distributed deworming tablets periodically. The CHWs did vision screening tests for all the children. Gradual improvement was observed both in their health and in their studies.
Our Community Health Workers monitored all the children in the year 2018 in the following ways:
Recording of height, weight and general health of the children.
Imparted health education regarding clean drinking water, techniques of proper handwashing, simple remedies for head lice, dietary sources of Vitamin A, basic healthy nutrition, maintaining clean toilets and home management of diarrhoea.
Identification of the Immunisation status of all the children and immunisation of the unimmunized. Around 450 children were immunized.
Provided deworming tablets for every child in the school which helped reduce the incidence of reinfection in the children and thereby preventing them from anaemia and malnutrition.
Conducted Vision Testing on the Children once a year.
The Health Workers also worked in various communities, particularly focusing on the health of pregnant mothers and young children. Within the communities, they acted as advocates for the Good Shepherd School.
As a result of this move by the CHW’s around 754 children were given deworming tablets and had undergone the vision screening tests in Rajasthan.
Jan 24, 2019
Water Wheels Bringing Transformation!
By Leah Kadwell - Strategic Partnerships
100 Water Wheels = 100 women that will have better health and a productive lifestyle
For the past two years, the Dalit Freedom Network's Good Shepherd Economic Development initiative has helped 675 families get water wheels in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, and Tamil Nadu -- all across India! This month we distributed 100 more water wheel units, 50 to West Bengal drought affected villages and 50 to the Kolkata slums. The water wheels are crucial to helping families get out of poverty because the time and physical health burdens of water collection creates a vicious cycle of poverty. Women are the main water collectors, with millions of women and girls spending hours every day hauling heavy loads of water to their homes they face many injuries which lead to the inability to care for their families. They also have no time to be trained, get a job or young girls to study in school because they are spending this long journey to provide the basic need for their family.
It was a joy to see the gratefulness on the women’s faces as they received the water well because this is a huge tool for them to make a better lifestyle for their family.
Isnaben (name changed) lives in a small village in the North Indian state of Rajasthan. She is 29 years old and is an active member of one of our local women's empowerment group. She spends most of her time bringing water for her 5-member family to use for cooking, washing, and other needs. She has to walk two kilometres while balancing four pots, to bring water for her family. She must do this on average, 8 times per day. The field managers of her group learned of her struggle, and decided to give her a water wheel. She has been using this unit for 8 months now, and she testifies how much time and energy it saves because it is fewer trips and less weight on her body so she does not feel as tired or strained. She is thrilled to be able to give more time to her family and has more energy to provide love, support and care for them. She is so thankful to DFN for making her life happier and we are grateful we were able to help in giving her a better future.
Laxmiben (name changed), another of our women's empowerment group members, is 30 years old and also lives in a small village in Rajasthan. She has been using a water wheel for the past year. She has 6 members in her family and 3 goats which means she was making many trips to the well per day. She testifies her life has become much easier with the water wheel and has more time for her family and to meet their basic needs because she is home more. She, her family members, and ever her goats are so thankful and again we are very grateful to help.
Oct 2, 2018
New Families Get Access to Water!
By Leah Kadwell - Strategic Partnerships
WATER WHEEL DISTRIBUTION IN A NEW AREA
by Leah Kadwell, Strategic Partnerships
Dalit Fredom Network
Here is a brief update from the field....!
With the receipt of new funding in 2018, the Dalit Freedom Network was able to place 20 new Water Wheels with families in a new area of North India. These families are poor and marginalized and have never had easy access to clean water. Many of the women in the villages in this region of North India had to walk long distances and carry heavy pots on their heads several times a day simply to collect their daily required amount of water. The water that they collected was not clean enough for drinking, and made their household duties like washing dishes and cleaning clothes, a difficult job.
The Water Wheels were distributed on September 6, 2018. The families were very excited to receive the wheels. They are certain that it will not only save them time, but that it will better the well-being of their families due to improved access to water for all their daily chores. Not only were the people happy to receive the Water Wheels, but they were honored that the Dalit Freedom Network wanted to help them. They had never been the recipients of any kind of good will help. They were encouraged and given hope that life could improve through the partnership with DFN.
Since the funds continue to come in through GlobalGiving, the Dalit Freedom Network plans to distribute more Water Wheels during the last quarter of 2018. The change in lives made possible through this initiative is remarkable.