Anganwadi centers in Maharashtra malfunction due to corruption and casteism.
Anganwadi centers are part of the Integrated Child Development Scheme, an ambitious program implemented by the Indian Government to tackle mortality and malnutrition among young children – below 6 years old. Anganwadi centers distribute food, provide health check ups to kids and have playgrounds. These multiple aspects are key to the holistic development of children.
But in Malegaon, the two Anganwadi centers had been planned to accommodate 300 children, but only 20 of them are attending the programs granted to them. Most of them are from upper-caste backgrounds whereas the Anganwadi centers are supposed to primarily target the most vulnerable of the population.
“The most in need are Dalits and tribal kids, whose parents can barely afford two meals a day. But the Anganwadi centers have been built in the upper caste area, far away from their homes. So reaching the centers is difficult, and they are often uneasy going there anyway. Besides, Anganwadi workers are not making efforts to reach them,” says Anand, our Community Correspondent in Malegaon.
Numerous malpractices have been reported on the part of the Anganwadi workers. The food is often not distributed to children, but instead sold in the black market by the workers. Similarly, the scheme targeting pregnant women that is supposed to be run by the center has not been delivered.
Villagers have attempted to protest individually without success. Anand hopes that his video will be the starting point of strong collective action.
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