|The Joy of Learning|
Madhuri Kalari is a 35 year-old housewife, from Butrakhamar village, of Mithapali Gram Panchayat, Bargarh district, Odisha. She is a regular learner at the CBFL Centre of Butrakhamar, run by the NGO, AJKA. She says that she had studied up to Class II. She dropped out of school due to a lack of proper guidance from her parents during her childhood. Now, she is a mother of two children. She was unsure about how she would manage her children in the field of education in the future. In the meantime, the CBFL Project initiative came her way and she was provided with the opportunity to become independent and help her family through education. She got a chance to read in the Centre. From the beginning of the CBFL Program, she has been attending all the sessions. If the facilitator is late, she runs to call him for the class. Now, she practices reading, writing and math regularly. Madhuri understands and appreciates the contribution of AJKA for their effort in the rural areas.
Kumari Surekha Kapat, is a 22 year old girl from Kendubhata village of Mithapali Gram Panchayat, Bargarh district, Odisha. She is illiterate. She was selected as a learner for the CBFL program. She is an enthusiastic learner and does not like to miss any session. She reads very attentively and co-operates with the Facilitator in motivating other learners when they are absent for sessions. She has secured the highest attendance in the Centre. She says, starting to read is the key to progress.
Smt. Rupabati Sarjal is a 30 year-old housewife from Kutramal Village of Chhetgaon Gram Panchayat, Paikmal Block, Bargarh district, Odisha. She dropped out of school after completing Class-II. Now, she is the mother of two sons. She says, after her marriage, her responsibility was to manage all family duties. But she faced difficulties in supporting her children’s school education. Most of the time she felt a sense of dependency in supporting her children. With the CBFL program she has got an opportunity to bridge this gap. She attends the sessions regularly and is improving her fundamental knowledge by reading, writing and practicing arithmetic regularly. She says education shows the path of life. She is grateful for a program such as CBFL that gives her an opportunity to do the same.
|From hesitant steps to confident action – the journey of Baru Umbul Mahila Samithi|
Formed in the year 2008, the journey of Baru Umbul Mahila Samithi has been that of initial diffident steps to that of a confident women’s group, who know what they are doing and where they mean to go. They are 17 members strong, after formation has undergone all training exercises pertaining to the group. They meet every week, each member saving an average of Rs.10. Common Fund is approx. Rs. 70,000 while the total savings are Rs. 32000. Members of the group have all taken up income generating activities; net gross income in the year 2011 from potato farming and Mahua flower collection/sales was Rs. 5800; while the Mahua flower sales yielded Rs. 3100 in year 2012 and Rs. 2000 in the year 2013.
The gradual financial empowerment in process have given them the confidence to be actively involved in the affairs of the village especially issues of common concern. Their active monitoring and dialogue with the School management Committee has directly impacted in:
Their confidence and boldness has also led them to take on the larger role at the village level- their efforts were instrumental in stopping liquor sales in the village. Elders attribute the improved pace of development in the village to the untiring efforts of this women’s group – ‘Baru Umbul Mahila Samithi’.
(Baru Umbul Mahila Samithi, is a SHG at Porahatu village, facilitated by YUVA, a partner NGO of SSP Cluster in Jharkhand)
|Community Based Organizations can “make it happen”- The case of School management Committee at Kamo, Sadar Lohardaga, Jharkhand|
The middle school at Kamo, Sadar Lohardaga did not have a toilet, as the land designated for the purpose was occupied by the nearby households. Students were compelled to go to nearby bushes, to respond to nature’s call often at the risk of snake bite.
Concerned by this plight of the children especially girl children, Mr. Mansoor Ansari the president of the SMC raised the issue and made a forceful plea that when funds are available, there cannot be any delay on an important work as this. Prodded by this, the SMC filed application for resurvey and measurement, following which the construction of the toilet was taken up and completed. Thanks to the initiative of the SMC, today children have access to safe sanitation.
(SMC at Kamo, Sadar Lohardaga, is facilitated by the LGSS, the Cluster Lead of Dahar)
|Renewed Hope for Education takes Parbati far|
Parbati Bhoi, a keen student with hopes of completing standard 10, had to leave school after class 6 because of the poverty in her family and the need for an additional income earner. Parbati helped her parents in the fields all day and then ironed clothes in the evening. Her work definitely brought in a substantial income and the thought of her going back to school never occurred to anyone. That was until the Children’s Club in the village approached Parbati’s family and convinced them that completing school would be of great value. Of course, understanding the financial situation of the family, the Children’s Club introduced Parbati to the Earn While you Learn initiative, which meant she could continue contributing financially to her family.
Parbati took up vegetable gardening and chicken rearing, and being the conscientious worker that she was, her income grew to 1000 rupees in 3 months once production started. She also got training in calculating profit and loss and other business concepts. She now has a savings account at the local post office and wants to expand her business. Studying in standard 9, she not only has a bright future ahead of her, but also enjoys the present, getting actively involved in singing, sports and other co-curricular activities. Her passion for studies has inspired many other girls to return to school.
|A Bright future for Mallika|
Mallika Jagadish seemed to have things going well for her at school – she was intelligent and always got good marks. Things at home however, were quite different – Mallika’s family was very poor and her parents did not see any value in her finishing grades, while they continued in poverty. Finally in 2008, Mallika dropped out of school and started helping her parents on their farm as well as took care of her younger siblings and collected firewood. It did not take long for Mallika to lose sight of what she wanted to accomplish and resent the decision to drop out of school. She was also socially distanced from some of her friends.
Mallika then came in contact with the village Children’s Club and with the Village Education Committee. Members of these groups assured Mallika’s parents of the value of education, and also introduced them to the Earn While you Learn initiative, which would allow Mallika to continue supporting her family financially while at school. Mallika took up income earning activities and joined Class 7 at her village school. She excelled again, and is now in standard 8 at the nearby High School. Mallika beams as she talks about school and the different activities she is involved in. Her teachers and the rest of the community are equally happy that this girl is back in school and that they have got back one of their most promising students
|Poultry Income helps Susanthi reclaim her Education dream|
Susanthi Barik, an 11 year old, was one of the happiest girls who regularly attended the local primary school in Panduri Dungri until the sudden illness and death of her mother two years ago. Being the eldest in the family, she had to share the responsibility of maintaining the house and assisting her father. While taking care of her younger siblings, she was eventually forced to drop out from school. This is the plight of many girls who suffer similar circumstances. No one took notice until the Education Watch Committee (EWC) of the village was formed and oriented a year ago.
EWC came in contact with Susanthi and her father a number of times to motivate Susanthi to rejoin school. While talking to her father, the committee realized that her meager income would be lost if she attended school, putting the family to further hardships. She was encouraged to take up poultry and vegetable farming to support her family in her spare time, under the project initiative “Earn While You Learn”. EWC also met with SHG members in the village and Susanthi’s neighbors in order to muster support in helping her rejoin school.
This helped convinced her father to send her back to school. This academic year Susanthi has rejoined standard 6. She has earned 200 rupees by selling chicken. She has also opened an account in the post office with an initial deposit of Rs. 100/-. She continues to do her household chores not in desperation but with the hope that one day her education will redeem her from the present situation.
|Education for all, begins at home – The story of Purnima|
Purnima Padhan was a studious girl and did very well till Class 7. When her mother left the home, her father had to take care of all her siblings as well as work his land, and being the oldest, Purnima had to drop out of school to help him. This situation did not affect her interest in studies however, and when the Children’s Club of the village came to her home to see how she could come back to school, she gladly welcomed their ideas. When she got to know about the Earn While you Learn initiative, she chose the chick rearing activity and bought 4 chicks. She began production and worked hard at school as well as home to make her business successful.
Today, Purnima has a post office savings account with 2050 rupees in it. She saves every spare rupee she earns and hopes that it will be used to send each of her siblings to school as well. Purnima’s perseverance is an example to many around her.