The tiny brick building is coming apart. The insides are dark, cramped and stuffy. On summer days, it seems to close in and suffocate you. In the monsoons, the cracked walls grows moss and the roof leaks like a sieve. The place is not fit for a rabbit coop. But for 40 young kids in the village of Nichitpur, District Khunti, Jharkhand, this one room is all they have for an Anganwadi.
The Anganwadi was sanctioned more than two decades ago and the designated workers decided to move into the makeshift room until the building was constructed. But the promised center never materialized. Authorities who first kept renewing and extending the promise of a new building have now altogether stopped caring. But the sheer dedication of the workers has managed to keep the the Anganwadi alive and kicking.
Even in the dark interiors of the crumbling room, they have managed to conduct the classes. There is no space for a board or chart. They complain but carry on. Since the grains for the mid-day meal and the medicines would spoil if stored in the room, they began to storing it safely in their houses. They built a little shed where pregnant women could have privacy while they wee being examined. But even that is too little during the monsoons. To weigh the children they tied the weighing machine to a nearby tree. The people in the village are supportive but the authorities turn in two deaf ears each they someone complaint.
The Anganwadi center is a cornerstone of health, education and nutrition for some of the most vulnerable sections of rural India – children, underage girls and pregnant women. Not only does the center provide basic services like primary education, vaccinations and timely medical check ups, it is a place of awareness and empowerment where women and children can access government schemes designed to promote all around development. Despite the best efforts of the Anganwadi workers, the fact remains that Nichitpur Anganwadi is far too ill-equipped to perform all its functions.
Call to Action: IndiaUnheard Community Correspondent Amit Topno who lives in the village says that enough if enough and twenty years down the line, it is high time as ever that the authorities begin doing what they are supposed to and get around to serving the people as they should.
“Pick up the phone and call the concerned Child Development Project Officer, Ms. Sujata on +919431358611 and demand that the Anganwadi Center in Nichitpur Village in Torpa Block be given a proper pucca building with equipment and infrastructure in place.”