The struggle against deprivation, discrimination and injustice is seemingly endless. What keep us going are those children, families, and communities who are clinging steadfastly to their hope of a better tomorrow.
Saiba (name changed) approached our project office when she discovered that one of her four daughters had tested positive to HIV/AIDS. ‘I knew I was infected. Precisely, the reason why I got my three daughters tested. My eldest daughter was found to be positive’, she explains.
Initially, she was hesitant and afraid of approaching anyone for help. She had lost her husband, had four daughters to take care of, and no income of her own. She was in a live-in relationship with her brother-in-law, who did not like her daughters. ‘He knew that I was positive. But if he came to know that one of my daughters had the infection, he would have thrown all of them out. He had always disliked my daughters’.
It took a few months of interaction by the social worker to allay Saiba’s fears and help her understand that it is possible to live a healthy life with HIV/AIDS. It also helped Saiba overcome her reluctance to send Sania (name changed) for a CD4 test. Eight-year-old Sania took the test and started on her ART medicines. Saiba was given detailed instructions on how to take care of Sania’s nutritional requirements.
Soon we came to know that Sania was not taking her treatment regularly. Our counselor spoke with Saiba and informed her of the importance of informing Sania of her own positive status. In Saiba’s presence, the counselor informed Sania of her positive status using the analogy of a police-thief story. This is a standard ‘partial disclosure’ process adopted in a case when the person is too young to grasp the full implications of her illness but understands that a ‘thief’ has taken refuge in her body, and she needs to police it by having medicines regularly.
As for Saiba and her partner, both of them were informed about the importance of safe-sex practices. Saiba was invited for a Support Group meeting. She came for one and since then, she has been a regular. With the help of Rs 1000 as loan from the program, she began her own shop, selling vegetables. Her shop is doing well and she has repaid the entire amount.
‘I feel more confident of my future now. I know I’ll be able to take care of my daughters’, Saiba says with a reassuring smile.
Residents of Shanti Nagar in Dahisar (East) have been forced to live on piles of garbage, skirted by an open drain and a big well full of garbage till children from their community intervened to put an end to the suffering.
35 group leaders from 20 Maitree groups came forward with a desire to change the unhygienic environment they were living in. With support from child area leaders and ICD program staff, they were able to send a letter to the local Corporator voicing their grievances. They mobilized the adult members of the community and got 76 community members to sign the petition letter to the Corporator. The Corporator responded to their plea and announced her visit to take stock of the situation. The children decided to bring out a rally on Health and Hygiene on the day of her visit.
On 12 November 2013, when the Corporator came on a visit to ShantiNagar, she saw 120 children along with 12 ICD staff, assembled with banners and placards. To everyone’s surprise, she joined the rally
herself, marching along with children, and mouthing slogans for a cleaner community.
The rally ended at the open drain and the well, full of garbage. The Corporator gave instructions to her team to clean up the well and promised the community members a covered drain and a new pipeline. She expressed her gratitude to the children for having drawn her attention to the issue, remarking “In bachon ne awaz uthai aur is mudde ko mere samne leke aye. Hum badon ko is se sikhna chahiye”(The children brought the issue to my notice. We adults should learn from them.)
Shanti Nagar is a cleaner place now, thanks to its children. The well stands cleaned. Now, it is a source of water for the community. A new pipeline is being laid and soon the community will be rid of its long standing difficulties of sewage disposal and unavailability of water.
Promptly reaching out to children in crisis continued to remain our focus.
- Between November and February, CCDT-Childline received and intervened in 129 cases out of which 87 cases were reached within an hour. 49 cases are under follow-up.
- 35 children were rescued from abuse among which three were child laborers and four child beggars.
- Three missing children were reunited with their parents
- To generate evidence-based results, a robust Data Management system is being put in place. A month-long Data Validation exercise was conducted as a first step in this regard to ensure accuracy and timeliness of data capturing and analysis.
- Key staff from all Programs has been capacitated on Data Representation to strengthen reporting.
- A Report on the State-level Dissemination Workshop ‘Positive Caring: Institutions and Beyond’ was developed for UNICEF.
- 1231 visitors visited our website 1896 times in this quarter.
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As a part of the Umeed consortium, we work for better health and hygiene in the slum clusters of Garib Nagar, Patel Nagar, and Pipeline areas of Bandra East.
Ensuring proper garbage-disposal
In November, a Jan Sunwai was held on the issue of garbage disposal where 60 community members from intervention areas voiced their concern on the lack of timely garbage disposal services in their area. Representatives from the MCGM and officials entrusted with implementing the Vasti Swachchhata Yojana (VSY) were also present. They registered the complaints raised by the community members and promised to act upon them.
Prior to this, 22 child leaders and 17 Community-based Monitoring Committee members had raised the issue of inadequate garbage disposal, and garnered community support. After the Jan Sunwai, garbage disposal services have been regularized in the area. Child leaders and Community-based Monitoring Committee members are continuously monitoring with the VSY officials to ensure a garbage-free locality.
Improving ICDS services for malnourished children
In October 2011, through a home-to-home weight count, 365 malnourished children were identified in the intervention area. Since then, the Umeed team conducted several meetings with ICDS Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) pointing out the inadequacy in their data and insisting them to conduct a full-scale survey to ascertain the exact number of malnourished children. Finally, the ICDS CDPO consented to carry out weight count drive among the 365 malnourished children identified by us. However, only 222 children could be weighed as the rest had migrated. The weight count, jointly carried out by ICDS and Umeed staff in November 2013 in Garib Nagar and Pipeline area, and in Patel Nagar on February 2014, confirmed our estimation of the number of malnourished children in the area. With continuous monitoring, food and nutritional support, 50 out of 222 children came out of malnutrition. 172 children are still under follow-up with 89 of them in the Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) and 83 in the Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) category.
On January, refresher training on malnourishment was conducted for ICDS and Umeed staff by SNDT’s Department of Home Science at the Holy Family hospital in Bandra. 29 participants, which included 17 ICDS and 12 Umeed staff, were part of the training. At the end of the training, the ICDS CDPO and three Supervisors from Bandra East, who were also a part of the training, instructed their staff to collaborate with our team to conduct a follow-up on all the identified malnourished children in the area.
The ICD program engages with the families from the slum clusters of Mumbai and its suburbs on issues pertaining to Health, Education, and Child Protection.
In this quarter, the Program identified 84 families for intervention.
So far, we have reached out to 4368 families in crises. How far has the Program been able to make a difference in their lives? Take a look:
- Out of 632 pregnant women unregistered for ANC, 277 women were registered and 300 were under follow-up in this quarter
- Out of 36 unregistered women for PNC, five were registered and 25 were under follow-up in this quarter
- Out of 471 school dropouts, 47 children were re-enrolled in this quarter and 127 re-enrolled children were followed-up. The problem of dropouts still remains a challenge as 248 children are yet to be re-enrolled in schools.
- 140 out of 1031 eligible children, between 3 to 6 years, were re-enrolled in ICDS Centers in this quarter. 214 enrolled children were under follow-up. The unavailability of ICDS Centers in the intervention area poses a huge challenge, due to which 615 children remain un-enrolled in ICDS.
- 403 out of 2281 children, between 0 to 3 years, were under follow-up after they were weighed in the ICDS Centers in their areas. Lack of ICDS Centers in the area resulted in 1878 children being left out from the weight monitoring process.
- 12 clusters in Nallasopara (East), nine in Dahisar (East), and four in Dahisar (West) did not have an ICDS Center.
Support classes for children facing learning difficulties have begun at Ashokvan, Swami Vivekananda, and Tare Marg municipal school in Dahisar West area.
On 3 December, 203 Community Volunteers across all ICD projects were felicitated for their inspirational work in their respective communities. An audio-visual depicting their active role in various awareness campaigns and actions on issues like rationing, garbage disposal was screened during the event. Dr. Pratibha Jadhav, Assistant Health Officer, Western Region; Dr Anita Inamdar, Medical Officer of Health, R/north ward; Ms. Yashoda Sankhe, Administrative Officer of Education, R/north ward; Mr. Sarang, Police Inspector, Dahisar Police Station; Mr. Nagapurkar, Senior Officer-Fire Brigade, Dahisar, were some of the dignitaries present at the event.
Elections for Child Leaders have drawn to a close. 1634 children in Dahisar elected:
- 90 Area leaders, representatives of a minimum of three children’s groups in a particular geographical area
- 18 Project-level leaders representing all the children’s groups from the four ICD-project areas.
- Seven Program-level leaders, elected from the project-level leaders representing all the children’s groups from the Program.
The elected leaders have begun the process of building linkages with adult stakeholders within and outside their community. The first step in this regard was through ‘Hum Se Ho Duniya’, an event through which they attempted to reach out to adults within and outside their community, introduce them to the Bal Sangathan model and its elected leaders at various levels, and thereby, open the possibility of gaining their support on issues raised by them and their groups in their respective communities. Organized by 18 child leaders, the event enlisted the participation of 320 children and 79 adult stakeholders.
Child Leaders conduct independent sessions
Addressing issues within their community is not their only mandate. A child leader also leads her/his group, works towards improving group dynamics, and also conducts independent interaction on various issues with group members. 213 child leaders facilitated group interactions in 427 children’s groups in Dahisar on Child Rights, Child Sexual Abuse, the Right to Education Act, health and hygiene, civic sense, and garbage.