Dreaming for her Children

Given the mammoth scale at which any government scheme operates in India, the final output really stands on the shoulders of a few people who work on the ground among the potential beneficiaries. These women and men are the ones who sweat it out, work long hours and help people get the benefits of schemes. But what happens when these dedicated individuals are failed by the system? Community Correspondent Dasarathi Behra reports from Gairmunda village in Barakot block, Odisha. Dalarasa Kulu is in charge of the local anganwadi (child care centre) in her village. Anganwadi centres across India function as kindergartens and in addition are supposed to be a place for pregnant women and new mothers to get vaccinations and basic healthcare. In Gairmunda, around 23 children from ages 3 to 6 come each morning to the modest looking building to learn the basics of reading and writing, to sing and play. The activities at the anganwadi will lay the foundation of their future education, they will learn their first valuable life lessons within its walls. Dalarasa has tried to make this a happy space, despite all the shortages and problems she has to deal with. Though the centre has been operational since 2009, till date the building hasn't been constructed properly. There are no grills or panes on the windows nor is there a fence marking the boundary of the centre. As it stands, it is a bare cement shell made lively with a few haphazardly stuck posters on the wall. The posters however fall off the wall every time there is a strong gust of wind... "People from outside jump in and defecate in the storeroom. We have to clean it each time... One time, a boy tried to steal oil lying on the window, we happened to see him and he ran. There are no grills, so when the anganwadi is shut people park their motorcycles inside; they wash them inside and leave all the water on the floor" says Dalarasa. It is unfair that the children and their caretakers have to face such situations. In fact, given that the Government of Odisha has ear-marked Rs.5 Lakhs to build each anganwadi centre, the situation here is absurd. Where did the money go? Why is a dedicated person like Dalarasa being driven to the edge of madness having to deal with tripe like this? Today, you have the power to rectify the situation. It will take a minute of your time to dial the below number and ask the concerned authorities to make sure the centre is built properly. Please call Pratap Pratimayee, the Block Development Officer on 09437250473 and ask him to make sure that the Anganwadi centre gets a proper building.

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