Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kids at Anganwadis

The word anganwadi means courtyard. This government initiative aims to look after the welfare of girl child, women and children. Anganwadi workers are usually trained in various aspects of health, nutrition and child development so that they can cater to the needs of the development of children in the age group of 3-6 years. They ensure the implementation of regular health check-ups, immunization, health education and non-formal pre-school education programmes. I had the opportunity to visit two anganwadis and two schools at Kawant yesterday. The region in eastern Gujarat that borders with Madhya Pradesh is populated by very orthodox tribes such as the Rathwas and Naiks, who don't care much for city folks like us who teach them new living ways. 'Development', as we know it, in terms of education, sanitation, roads and healthcare, is minimal. Only recently have the locals thought of sending their children to school. Here are some shots of kids at these tiny prathmik shaalas and anganwadis...

Waiting for lunch...

The village kids pose for us at the Hathikhana Anganwadi. In front is a woman from the Rathwa community in full tribal gear.

The Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) at Mogra village near Kawant is a good residential school for tribal girls but there's no road to reach there

Water is scarce. Three tankers come here everyday from Kawant. Villagers have to cough up Rs 500 for each tanker, lest their daughters at KGBV go without drinking water. For two weeks after the school opened on November 13, 2011, the 161 girls who live in this school could bathe only twice a week. The fact that there is no road makes it difficult to haul up water to the top of  the knoll where the school is located.

But, in spite of their drawbacks, it's a great school

The 76 girls in seventh standard were brighter than some of the students I have seen at colleges in Mumbai and Vadodara. They said they needed to get an education so that they would not be oppressed, exploited or be treated badly by their in-laws. Most want to study further and are willing to go farther from their homes to get an education. Ask a SoBo kid to go to a better college at the other end of Mumbai and he/she will cringe at the prospect!

Mothers dropping their girls off to school after the Uttarayan (Makar Sankranti) holiday

All children just love the camera!

And some do have an attitude...

Kids ready for a ride to their school at Mundamor in Kawant

Loved the colours on the walls of this anganwadi

The principal (left) of the prathmik shaala at Mundamor village is trying to build two toilets - one for the boys and one for the girls.

1 comment:

Ramesh Narendrarai Desai said...

I have always held that there is nothing much that we can teach the tribals in terms of soft skills. they possess them by instinct. they know how to remain happy. Yes, we can help them in other terms but how to remain happy is something that we could learn from them.