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Projects > Gujarat

State Level Programme in Gujarat

In the week following the quake, VAK representatives had mobilised relief supplies, and distributed to the affected people in Maliya. This initial intervention in Maliya and the mass contact programmes that followed, helped the VAK team to grasp the community dynamics that played a role in people's accessing the State relief measures. The team observed that the state machinery discriminated against minorities - Dalits and women. Thus, the focus was on ensuring that these minorities received adequate aid compensation. Also, the extent of the devastation in Maliya was severe; to the extent of 89% (42 of 47 villages were severely damaged). It had a majority population comprising Dalits, Muslims and Other Backward Classes. Successive droughts in the two years prior to the quake had caused further impoverishment of the small and marginalised farmers. Also, in economic and social terms, Maliya has been one of the most backward talukas in the district. It was thus decided to consolidate efforts in Maliya.

Education

The Situation

In the earthquake, school buildings had collapsed, adversely affecting the schooling of children. Also, during its survey VAK observed that generally children in Maliya did not go to schools or had dropped out early. This was especially the case with children belonging to communities that faced economic hardships, struggled to make a living and migrated for work. Such children were found working in saltpans, hotels, panshops, rearing cattle or handling responsibilities at home. Education of the girl child was largely ignored.

Objectives

The objectives of the education programme basically remained the constant with few additions over time. At first, the immediate priority was to restore schools in the affected districts and ensure that children continued school education and did not drop out of the system.

The objectives stated first were:

  • To restart / start the pre-primary education of children in the select villages through constructing community education centers in earthquake affected 16 villages.
  • To provide education to children who have never been to school and children who dropped out after earthquake, and enroll them in formal school
  • To sustain the development progress made through the proposed intervention, by mobilizing community's support.

Activities

PPE / NFE Classes

The PPE and NFE classes are run from Monday to Friday. The curriculum is specialized and oriented towards holistic growth of children's faculties. Besides learning alphabets and basic mathematics in their mother tongue, games, music and play are important components and media for learning. Children's creativity is given space for expression. Media for learning is developed by the teachers with locally available material usually discarded as trash. Teachers in these programme were specially trained for preparing teaching material and aids, and using it, classroom management, people's participation in education, basic mathematics through aids, realization of self and personal management, preparing lesson plan, maintaining registers, reports for various activities, environment education and community play, preparing growth monitoring charts, story telling and family interaction.

In 2002, in the primary school in the Railway ward, that denied admission to the chidren from the basti on grounds that their seats were full and that children from basti had a tendency to drop out from schools. VAK staff checked the district administration records if the classes were indeed full and found it untrue. They took up this matter with the Taluka Education Officer. 5-6 children were then admitted in that school. Their parents also committee to ensuring that children would not drop out.

Supplementary nutrition

Supplementary nutrition is provided to all children attending the center on all the days. A person is assigned to cook fresh food everyday according to preplanned menu. The menu over the week from Monday to Friday includes sukhadi (a mixture of jaggery, wheat flour and oil), potato pova, boiled moong, boiled chana, sheera and potato pova. Children growth in terms of height and weight is also regularly monitored.

Parents' Committees

Parents of the children attending the education programmes, form the parents committee. Its role is to monitor and look after the education centers and its needs, contribute towards a token fund, participate and develop as a community center.

  Youth Literacy

Literacy programmes for youth were undertaken, with the objective to make them literate and to build up their individual confidence and knowledge on social issues. Two centers were opened to Vir Vadarka and Maliya town with 8 women and 23 men respectively. A yuvati class was also started in Derala.

iv) Women's Empowerment Programme

The Perspective

Gender perspective building for women's empowerment is a process, which is on-going enhance women's ability to change those structures that subordinates them. The process of empowerment is a political process, because it aims at changing existing power relationships. Accordingly perspectives are developed on issues of patriarchy, socialization, economic and political rights and specific issues of child marriage, education of children, government schemes etc. This process enables them to gain more access to resources and decision-making; gain more control over their own lives, gain more autonomy. It is a process, which enables women to have self-respect, and dignity, which improves their self-image and social image.

It is also to make women and society recognize the knowledge, capabilities and skills that women have, particularly in areas of agriculture, health, handicrafts etc. It is to create a social environment that gives women self-esteem and self-confidence. Providing opportunities for girls and women to realise their potential and have choices than be pushed into the traditional roles and occupations. Education for empowerment, providing facilities and resources to meet their potential and have choices than be pushed into the traditional roles and occupations are the other areas including providing women access to and control over means of production, property and other resources and control over income.

The Objective

•  To address specific gender issues

•  To help articulate women's grievances on issues related gender rights

  Activities

i. Micro Credit Scheme

Women were organized by undertaking door-to-door canvassing for forming women's savings groups. Besides, training in savings groups operations, gender issues and health were undertaken.

The objective was to empower whilst simultaneously causing economic and social benefits.

The clarity on the purpose and implementation of this programme, developed gradually through a series of training programmes. First there was a gender training and exposure visit in Dwarka. Here the team learned about savings groups' size should be limited to 20 members. After these training existing groups were split and new ones created to manage the membership limit. This was followed by training at Dakor, in savings and credit operations. Nitty gritties of even conducting meetings were imparted. The Dakor training helped with inputs on systematic management of savings groups. After this training more groups were created.

A perspective-building meeting was held at Koba. Here the clarity on MVM and saving groups developed. MVMs were envisaged as larger and open groups without any limits to membership. The savings groups could be contained in them, besides the Citizen's Education Committees, yuvak mandals, and a working committee of the Mahila Mandal at the village level. After the meeting at Koba the staff started mobilizing women for this epanded community organization.

ii) Mahila Vikas Mandals

MVMs were first made in 5 villages viz., Manaba, Vidarka, Navagam, Derala and Kiliwas. In Navagam and Manaba, 70 and 35 women came together respectively. In Koliwas parents' committees, IGP and savings groups were formed and it was planned to combine them into a MVM. In Koliwas and Kajarda the MVMs took up social issues and conducted meetings once a month. They had been taking up village and health issues and focused on women's issues. A campaign for issuance of ration cards to those entitled to it was undertaken by them. Supplying water in Koliwas and reinstating Morbi as the center for collecting widows pension instead of Rajkot were some other issues up by them.

Health

The situation

Two kinds of health concern showed up during the assessment undertaken by VAK, viz., physical and mental health. In its assessment VAK found that most of the women and children suffered from various illnesses due to malnutrition, lack of drinking water and other basic necessities. Following the quake in rural areas, public services like health care facilities were not functional and people had no recourse to any other health facility.

The study on psycho-social impact of the earthquake on women and children revealed that even six months after the earthquake psychological problems prevailed especially among the single, elderly, injured and with those in bereavement. The prevalent symptoms observed were insomnia, startle reaction, intrusive memories of the quake, obsessive possession syndrome, sadness, diminished interest in work and uncertainty of the future. Also psychosomatic ailments were noticed among women, pertaining to their gynecological health.

 


 

 

Vikas Adhyayan Kendra
D-1 Shivdham, 62 Link Road, Malad (West), Mumbai 400 064 INDIA
Tel : 022-2882 2850 / 2889 8662. Fax : 022-2889 8941
E-mail: vak@bom3.vsnl.net.in