Aarohi

The word 'Aarohi' means ascendance or growth; the growth of thought, creativity and harmony. Aarohi was established in the year 1992 "with a view to create opportunities for rural communities in the hills to lead a more self-dependent existence, reduce poverty and live in harmony with their environment." Aarohi's mission is to create development opportunities for rural Himalayan communities through quality healthcare and education, enterprise promotion, women's empowerment, sustainable natural resource use, and the revival of traditional culture.
Jul 22, 2016

Aarohi Bal Sansar- January 1 to June 30 2016

EDUCATION SECTOR UPDATE- JANUARY TO JUNE 30, 2016

The year 2016 started with winter vacation- school was closed in the month of January. The next couple of months were busy in school, with the syllabus getting completed in February and the final examinations in March.  Before the close of the academic session the school celebrated its annual sports day. 

 The new academic session started on April 5, 2016.  Update on student & teacher statistics for the new session is below.

  •  Total of 149 students – a decrease of 10 students from  last year (a cause of concern, and the reasons are diverse- an important factor is perhaps the upgraded local Government school in the same village).
  • There are a total of 73 boys and 76 girls this new session.
  • Staff strength reduced to 19 full time members – this includes a Principal.
  • January- June 2016, six teachers have moved on- relocation, securing a high paying Government job and one of our staff member was awarded a prestigious fellowship award were some of the reasons for this move.
  • We hired 3 new full time teachers.

 Academic Performance

We had 240 days of teaching in the last academic session. We observed a marked improvement in our students' writing, listening, and reading skills in language learning. The academic achievement for the core subjects of Hindi, Maths and English are below.

  •  80% of students from class 1-8 scored above 50% marks in Hindi. Of this 26%scored between 71-85%, and 18% were extraordinary performers and received marks in excess of 85%.
  • 68% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% in English.  Of this 25%scored between 71-85% marks, and 13% obtained extraordinary scores-above85% marks.
  • 67% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% in Maths.  Of this 23% scored between 71-85%, and 17% were extraordinary- scored above 85%.

 School Administration

We launched the ABS School calendar in April.  The calendar tracks the school’s activities- working days, holidays, events, projects, workshops and monthly Parents Teachers Meeting (PTA), and School Management Committee Meetings (SMC) for the entire year.

School Bus Update

Seeing a sharp drop in new admissions this year, we decided to start a taxi service to the nearby villages to pick up and drop students.  We have 30 children using this facility since May 1, 2016.  The taxi picks up children from the villages of Diyari,Peora, Kumati and Kaphura.  The response has been over-whelming and we started another taxi in July, from the villages of Chhatola, Sitla, Satkhol and Dobatiya- covering the other direction.

Sports Facilities

We received a large grant from Helping Elsewhere Foundation, UK and the Mercedes Benz International School (MBIS).  This grant was specifically donated towards purchase of baby scooters, kick scooters and tricycles; we used a small part of this fund (with permission from the donors) to purchase other sports equipment- i.e., badminton rackets, shuttle cocks, cricket bats, tennis balls, football and volley balls.  Our school sports and youth wing activities have received a huge boost now!

Co-Curricular Activities

Alongside settling into the rhythm of academics, the children were exposed to a series of educational, creative, and artistic co-curricular activities.  The first in line was Atul Pant’s science workshop, which was an extension of his ‘tinkering’ workshop conducted at ABS in December 2015. The entire activity of tinkering made our children think and collaborate and learn some essential life skills. Next in line was the butterfly workshop, conducted by Peter Smetacek, a leading expert on Indian butterflies. He gave an entertaining presentation to the students- demystifying everything about butterflies, took them for a nature walk and got them acquainted with local species and other flora and fauna and then taught our children how to make some stunning origami. In early May, we had Puranjay, Sakshi, Hemant and Raiva- all young and talented students from Delhi come down to teach our students to make shelves, coffee tables and other craft items. Later, the same month we organized 2days of art workshops. ‘AkkaBakka’, a New Delhi based team of 3 artists worked with our children and teachers to create a fun-filled and visually creative feast!

 The month of May ended with computer workshops by the enthusiastic team of Gautam, Ashutosh and Dharmendra from Quovantis- a software company. They spent time introducing our children to HTML programming and then later introducing our teacher to e-learning videos to aid their teaching.

 Teacher Training & Professional Development

Renu Sharma came on board in February this year, working part-time (3 days a week), as our Education Consultant. Renu comes with expertise in primary and middle school education in the field of language learning and enhancement. She has previously worked with an NGO called Pratham for several years with their “Read India” campaign. She has been actively involved in our teacher capacity building workshops, and introducing innovative and interactive teaching methodologies. Her presence has greatly assisted in stabilizing systems related to curriculum, collaborative planning and teaching, child-centered classroom activities, long term and everyday planning, maintaining of resource files, teacher mentoring and student and teacher evaluation.

 In January 2016, four teachers were selected for the ‘Saral Tandon Award’. Theselection was based on their appraisals and performance. The top performers were Kamla Bisht, Neema Rajput, Poonam Bisht and Kumari Vimala. They spent a week in Mumbai and visited schools like Zaya Learning Center which uses technology to enhance student interest and learning as well as to support teachers in their classroom teaching. Akanksha, Muktangan, and the American School were other schools they visited, and also interacted with teachers. This award has proved to be a great motivation for our teachers to be more creative and innovative in their work.

 Volunteers

ParibhashaYadav: Paribhasha, a vibrant 17 year old volunteered with us over a period of 2 weeks working on creating a template for ABS’s first ever community newsletter, teaching poetry to our children and putting a together a skit on cleanliness with children of class 8.

 Monika Shukla: Monika spent 2 months with us in school, helping us review the early child curriculum and goals for the kindergarten- LKG and UKG.  She reviewed the curriculum for Social Studies for classes 6-8.  While she was here, Monika also supported Teacher training efforts in Lesson Planning and English teaching in the class rooms for classes 6-8. 

Rajshree Doshi:Rajshree is a coach for Senior Programme Managers at ‘Teach for India’ (TFI).  She also coaches principals at the Akanksha Foundation- they run the not for profit schools. Rajshree comes with an experience of coaching and mentoring teachers and Principals for almost 28 years. We were privileged to have her as a volunteer at ABS for 2 weeks! 

Asmita Joshi &Madhu Upadrasta: Were both together for a period of 10 days and worked exclusively on the library- reviewing & reviving the older system that was put in place.  They worked with teachers to coach them on the importance of creating reading habits among the students, and brainstorming with them on library activities and story-telling sessions!

ABS Staff New Joiners

  • Pradeep Rastogi started on April 1, 2016 as the class teacher for class 7.  Pradeep teaches Mathematics and Social Studies to classes 6, 7 and 8.  He comes with a total teaching experience of 10 years.  Pradeep enjoys sports, especially playing cricket.  In his free time, he loves teaching the neighborhood children, meeting parents and engaging with the local community.
  • Hema Bisht joined ABS on April 1, 2016.  She is the class teacher for class 5.  Hema teaches Environmental Studies and Science.  She has a total teaching experience of over 6 years.  Hema loves nature- feeding and taking care of stray dogs and enjoys pottering in her garden growing flowers and vegetables.
  • Geeta Joshi started with us on June 1, 2016.  She was earlier teaching in Kumati Primary school- classes 1 to 5, all the subjects.  She has a total work experience of 2 years.  Geeta’s father is also a school teacher.  She enjoys teaching Mathematics and also maintains the upkeep of our library resource centre.  Geeta takes a keen interest in getting computer literate and is spending time in our computer centre learning the skills.
Jul 22, 2016

Community Health Sector Report- Rural Kumaon

HEALTH SECTOR UPDATE

The Health sector updates for the period January till June, 2016 are below.This is the community health project in Okhalkanda Block supported largely the Tata Trusts and is partly supported by Aarohi Schweiz particularly for the Mobile Medical Unit. Report is presented comprehensively. Total current population in the block is 54, 590.

 

Maternal Health

Antenatal care services: Early registration of pregnancies has risen to 86.4% which was 45.9% in 2013.Proportion of pregnant women received 4 ANC has reached to 56.3% from 5.4% in 2013.

Postnatal care coverage: Postnatal coverage has increased to 45%, which means 45% of women received postnatal care within 48 hours after delivery. (Postnatal coverage: proportion of women received postnatal care within 48 hours after delivery). 70.2% women received postnatal care this is also an achievement since it was only 34.3% in 2013.

Anaemia during pregnancy: According to annual survey conducted in January revealed that 48.7% pregnant women were aneamic during pregnancy, severely anaemic women were referred to higher centers for treatment and moderately anaemic women were given iron folic acid supplementation and dietary advice.

Referral and management of complication:High risk pregnancies are being identified by ASHAs in the villages and in June 61.5% of such womenwere referred to health facilities for treatment of complicated pregnancies. Referral and treatment of high risk pregnancies was only 34.6% in 2013, it reflects knowledge of ASHAs to identify high risk pregnancies has improved and community is also aware of possible complications.

CHILD HEALTH

  • 92% children received complete primary immunization as compared to 66% in 2013.
  • Incidence of diarrhea has fallen to 1.1% from 40% in 2013; this can be attributed to awareness on hygiene and early identification and management of diarrheal diseases.
  • Total 76 schools are covered in 105 villages under school health programme, school health session includes raising awareness on personal hygiene, environmental hygiene, domestic hygiene and prevention and domestic management of acute diarrheal diseases.

VITAL EVENTS

13 infant deaths were reported in which 7 were early neonatal and 3 late neonatal and 3 infant deaths.

Community Awareness and Mobilization

Community meetings like the Mothers’ group meeting and general awareness camps are more interesting now with projection of health videos. It has increased the number of participants - doubled in numbers. We started organizing a village health fair in which large numbers of people are made aware on selected themes by role plays and games. Last month we organized 3 health fairs and our theme was safe drinking water and waste disposal.

CASE STUDY: Continuous effort could change the behavior

Tulsi, aged 27 years was 4thgravida. She and her family were reluctant for antenatal check up (ANC) and tetanus toxoid (TT) injection. Aarohi supervisor counselled her family for ANC and after hard work of 2 months she was able to convince Tulsidevi and her husband for ANC. At 6 months of gestational period she received first ANC and was given her first TT vaccine. She and her family were counselled for institutional delivery but she delivered a baby in home and delivery was conducted by Aarohi trained TBA. Soon after delivery Tulsi bled heavily, as Tulsi and other family member were made aware of postpartum complications by regular ANC visits so family called Aarohi supervisor and ASHA. AHSA immediately reached there and called 108 ambulance. That day ambulance was not available so family booked a private car and she was taken to PHC Okhalakanda, but case could not be managed in PHC so she was referred to tertiary care hospital, Haldwani where she received 2 units of blood. Now mother and baby both are fine.

Jun 14, 2016

Final Report- Request for Project Closure

Final Report – June 2016

Project Title: Reduce Infant & Maternal Mortality in the Rural Himalayas

Project Duration 4 years: 2012-16

Reason for Closure: Full funding received

 

Summary: The Arogya Health Project brings together training, awareness and treatment to reduce the number of mother and infant deaths, and improve the general state of well being for 30 remote villages in the Central Himalayas of India.

 

Challenge: Over half of the women living in mountain villages of Uttarakhand are severely anemic and malnourished. This along with a lack of health care services in the area results in alarming rates of maternal and child mortality and morbidity. The problem is further compounded by social taboos that often resort in extreme diet restrictions of pregnant and nursing mothers, endangering the health of the infant. Aarohi aims to change this trend through comprehensive community-based training and awareness.

Solution: This project provides extensive training for traditional birth attendants and local health workers (accredited social health activist) in antenatal and post-natal care, safe delivery, and comprehensive growth monitoring of children in the age group 0-3 years. Through Aarohi's mother and child care program, these community members are provided with a dignified livelihood, and are equipped with the skills, guidance and support needed to tackle high morbidity and mortality rates in their village communities.

Long-Term Impact: Going beyond simply providing services to remote mountains villages, the Arogya Project empowers traditional birth attendants and health workers (ASHAs) to improve the quality of health care in their own communities. This ensures that mother and child health is achieved in a sustainable way that provides local people with the knowledge and determination to continue providing services long after the project has ended. The proven result is fewer mother and infant deaths and healthier communities.

Achievements these past 4 years

 

-       Our outreach grewfrom 70 to 105villages in theCentral Himalayas

-       We trained 36health supervisors, 114 ASHAs and other health workers and 111 Traditional Birth Attendants,who now help to support health programs in their villages.

-       With the help of these trained workers, we have increased our antenatal checkup coverage (which includes one pregnancy consultation by a skilled care provider) from 49% to 88% of pregnant women.

-       Institutional deliveries has increased from 20% to 35%, geography of the area is a main obstacle to institutional delivery

-       Of the total patients receiving ultrasounds during the Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) camps, 68.2% were pregnant women. However, only 48% of the women return for a follow-up consultation and our goal moving forward is to increase the percentage of women who receive follow-up care throughout pregnancy.

-       Through the MMU,the number of women receiving antenatal care doubled from the first to the second half of 2015 (461 from January-June to 877 from June-December, for a total of1338 women).

-       Infant mortality was 57 per 1000 live births has reduced to 38 per 1000 live births likewise neonatal mortality has fallen from 36 deaths per 1000 live births to 29 deaths per 1000 live births.

 

Conclusion

In light of these successes, we seek to continue our grassroots approach to healthcare in rural Uttarakhand. In the next phase of this project, we will consolidate our coverage of remote and underserved communities by working jointly with the Uttarakhand government and other regional NGOs—strengthening current collaborative efforts and exploring new cost-effective ways to reach our goals.

 

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