Friday, May 5, 2017

Gender Reports

Gender Reports
As a part of Commitment Based Initiative of International Land Coalition, which ensures commitment towards women’s land rights, Swadhina  has undertaken the special effort to translate documents and case-studies related to women’s land rights. The aim of the exercise is to disseminate the different forms of reports on women;s land rights to every part of the scoaiety –including the basic grass-root regions. For that it is essential to translate the reports in local languages. So, the translated reports are now available in Bengali, Hindi and Oriya. The contents were finalised through special one day workshops. On 13th April 2017, the workshop helped finalize the translated contents into Bengali. Diptendu Mukherji & Smriti Sarkar were the convenors for this. On 14th April 2017, the papers translated into Hindi were finalized. Prabir Sarkar was the chief convenor. On 22nd April 2017, the translation in Oriya was finalized. Hrudananda Sahu convened the workshop, supported by Kirtibas Mahato.

The reports are now ready for distribution & discussion.

Animal Care : Vaccination Camp

Animal Health Care Effort
Come summer and there appears a growing number of death of animal resources in the rural areas every year – thus robbing women of their most important resource. To curb this alarming situation, a special meet was organised for vet doctors in the rural area of East Singbhum in Jharkhand. The meet took place at Swadhina Bondih Centre.  Convenor Dr.Sristidhar Mahato, along with Dr.Laduram Mahato, Dr. Santosh Mahato, Dr. Shantiram Mahato and Dr.Sudarshan Mahato, chalked out strategies and plans to protect the animal resources of local women. Speaking on this occasion, Dr.Sristidhar said that in the mid summer season when the agro produce becomes limited, most women depend on income from animal resources for their survival. But it is this season that witnesses an alarming rise in animal mortality. Hence it was decided to vaccinate as many animals as possible through Animal Care Camps. Especially it was felt that HSBQ vaccine becomes utmost important in this season.

As a follow-up a two day Vaccination Camp as a part of animal care has taken place in Sasandih on 3rd and 4th May 2017. On 3rd May, 44 animals (38 cows and 6 buffalo) were vaccinated. On 4th May, 50 animals (44 cows and 6 buffalo) have received vaccination. The camps were conducted by Dr.Laduram Mahato.

World Health Day

World Health Day

On the occasion of World Health Day on 7th April, two special Health Camps were organised. On 7th of April 2017, a camp was organised at Taladih village in Purulia district, West Bengal. It was attended by 46 women.  On 17th of April there was a discussion on health issues – the need to take basic health precautions, homely remedies etc. It was attended by 26 women. Dr. Sahebram Gope was the doctor-in-charge for both the camps. 

Women's Meet at Village Level

Village Level Meets on Women’s Day:
 A quest for an equal world

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, grass-root meets were organised in the villages of Kadamdih (Ghtsila Block, East Singbhum), Hurumbil (Patamda Block, East Singbhum) and Taladih (Purulia District, West Bengal) on 8th, 9th and 11th March 2017 respectively.

Attended by rural women, the meets focussed on equal gender rights, including the right to protected against gender violence and discrimination.

The discussion focused on how equal opportunities on land would ensure equal social rights to women. It also highlighted the fact how violence against women including lack of safety at work-space were tools of subjugation of women.

Women spoke on how little rights go a long way in ensuring security for women. For example, Karmi Kisku of Kadamdih village and Usharani of Taladih village explained how the right to kitchen garden had helped them to own a piece of land, as well as to make some savings through sale of the vegetable surplus from the gardens. They explained how it had given them the power to decide about seeds, production, sale etc.

Jayanti Mahato of Hurumbil explained how equal rights often excluded the need to have equal nutrition. In this context, she explained how she has taught easy nutrimix supplement to women using local resources. This nutrimix is a low cost method to provide nutrition for women and children.

Using the platform, it was also explained how women’s equal land rights movements in Nepal and Bangladesh has helped grant equal rights to women.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Earth Day : Swadhina

Earth Day (April 22) is an important event for Swadhina. Every year this day is celebrated in many ways. Activities are organised in several places in remote villages, as well as in small towns. 

Basundhara Mela: In the past we organised this Basundhara Mela i.e. Earth Festival in many places like Ghatsila, Bondih, Bordih, Kuchia in Jharkhand and several such Festivals were held in Garbeta in West Bengal. Along with stalls on various items made from nature there are discussion sessions and cultural programmes held in these 3 day event.

Poster Exhibitions: We also organise Poster Exhibitions on a varied subjects related to earth and nature. Villagers too joined us in making banner with simple cloth and hand painted writings.

Workshop with Villagers: These are also very popular event held in rural areas

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Animal Care Camps

During this part of the year every year a large number of domestic animals suffer a lot due to various diseases. Swadhina for many years is concerned about this issue and some regular programmes are undertaken to tackle the issue to provide relief to the animals. 

First of all every year Animal Care Camps are held for women so that they can learn about various diseases of the animals like cow, buffalo, pigs, goats, and, of course birds like hens and ducks. A lot of the suffering for these animals can be reduced if timely vaccination is done, and proper treatment is done in early time. The trainees also learn how to vaccinate. Swadhina also provides know how to treat wounds of the animals and the ointments names and how to put. Beside these training, regular Animal Care Treatment camps are held at remote rural villages so that animals get direct help in time.

During the month of March and April several such initiatives were taken up in the interior villages of Barabajar block of Purulia district. Following is short note on these activities:

Taladih Village:
On 30 March, 2017 a animal care training was held for 14 village women. The participants were all very enthusiastic about the training and the very next day an Animal Care Treatment Camp was held. Many cows were found suffering from throat infection which is very common during this season. Goats and Sheeps were found getting suffered from stomach problem. 16 cows, 20 goats, 10 sheeps and 3 pigs were treated. Swadhina provided the Doctor free of cost. 

Hatnadih Village:
On 2 April, 2017 a animal care training was held at the Hatnadih village on Jharkhand border area. 15 women and 1 man attended this training. On 3 April, 2017 an Animal Care Treatment Camp was held at this village from morning 6  till 11 a.m. 8 cows, 25 goats, 10 sheeps and 6 pigs were given treatment on various diseases. 

Charri Village:
On 4 April 2017 an animal care treatment  was held at Charri village in Borabazar Block.32 goats were given ppr vaccication,  9 cows, 5 pigs were given treatment. 100 chicken were given vaccination against Rani Khet.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


Changing Life & Living: Children of Tomorrow
EDUCATION SUPPORT PROGRAMME: Education Support Programme is a special programme organised in the very remote areas ofJharkhand and West Bengal.
Education support is provided in the formof Good Hope Schools for very young children as well as free Coaching Centres for children ready to go to the middle school.

The aim of the schools is to ensure that the children from very poor, tribal families who could not have ever imagined that they would wear school uniforms and get access to colourful school books in the pre-primary level are actually getting educated in the kindergarten schools.
Good Hope Schools are special schools located in remote regions to provide quality pre-primary education to grass-root children. The schools deliberately focus on English as a medium of learning to break the traditional idea that only urban children have the scope and inclination to be taught English.
A group of educationists with vast experience have put in their efforts to develop the curriculum for the schools. The focus of the schools is not just education but an overall improvement of the quality of lives of the children. That is why special days are organised – Independence Day, Children’s Day, Environment Day, Literacy Day etc – to help build awareness among the children. An environment-friendly proactive mind is created through efforts like sapling distribution and care among the children.

Another special focus is the health of the children. In these remote areas, health services reaching to these children is negligible. Moreover, there is the daunting task of low consciousness about nutrition.For this purpose, intermittent health check-ups are organised for the children. Doctors check-up the children for the identification of diseases in the children, if any. It also helps to monitor the health and nutrition levels of the children. Mothers of the children accompany the children so that health and nutrition related suggestions can be provided to them.
GOOD HOPE SCHOOL- KADMADIH: Supported by: AHP Foundation:  One such Good Hope School is located at Kadamdih. This Good Hope School has received kind support of AHP Foundation.
Kadamdih is a small village located in the Mosaboni block of East Singbhum district of Jharkhand. Almost all the population here are tribals – dominated by the Santhal adivasis. The inhabitants were originally settlers who were brought in to work in the mining and related industries. Overtime, these inhabitants have settled in these areas and some have acquired very small plots of farming land. But the majority of the population work as labourers – the men  mostly work as construction or daily labourers in the nearby town of Ghatsila or in cities like Jamshedpur. Some even work in other states. Some work as marginal agriculturists. The women work as support labours in the brick kilns located in nearby areas.

The primary school is located nearby but there are no pre-primary education centres offering quality education. The Anganwadi centre in the vicinity offers nutritional support to the children but not any form of real education. In order to get quality pre-primary education the children have to go to the nearest town of Ghatsila but to go there they have to ferry through a river which is a near impossibility for the children. Moreover, the Montessori schools there are too costly for the comfort of labourer parents. Being working in the cities, the parents are aware of pre-primary and Montessori schools but were so far unable to provide such education for their children in their village premises due to socio-economic reasons.
The Good Hope School has given them a good opportunity to provide for quality, holistic education for their children.

FUNCTIONING OF GOOD HOPE SCHOOLS: There are 20 enrolled students in Good Hope School at Kadmadih. The average presence in school is about 15. The teacher of Good Hope School is Gracy Kisku. Gracy has passed her higher secondary school.
Gracy not only is a diligent teacher but also updates herself regularly with teaching techniques through interaction with Saswati Roy- Secretary of Swadhina as well as a well-known teacher.
The teaching technique is totally different from that of usual schools, which make learning interesting as well as less burdensome for the children.



-The school offered many first opportunities for the children. On the occasion of Children’s Day, on 14th of November 2016,  the children got an opportunity to know that a special day is earmarked for children where their presence is celebrated. Special songs were sung and the children recited rhymes.

-A special drawing contest was organised for the children on 7th of December 2016. Crayons were distributed among the children. This was the first time that the children ever got to use crayons. Their enthusiasm reached sky-high. With little fingers the children produced beautiful little drawings.
 The children tasted delightful chocolate cakes – for many this was the first time that ever got to taste one!
At the end of the programme, the children were given little stationery items as gifts. And being the beginning of Winter Season, each child was given a woollen sweater.
Coming from poor, marginalized families, for them these woollens are their only winter wear.
-The Final Evaluation for this batch of students took place on 24th of February 2017. Each child was provided an Evaluation Sheet. The teacher helped the children fill up the evaluation sheets. To make the atmosphere a fun celebration, each child was given a packet of chips.
Their grade assessment based on their evaluation is ready for distribution.
The new session would begin from April 2017.
FOOD & NUTRITION ENHANCEMENT THROUGH KITCHEN GARDEN: Due to constant motivation of the mothers, as well as the women of the region, women have begun to use their kitchen garden for nutritional requirement of their families. Normally dependant on rice, dal, potatoes, the families have now begun to consume pumpkin, Red Amaranth, spinach, papaya, gourd, okra, brinjal as a part of their daily diet. This has helped improve the diet and nutrition of the children and women as well. Some women have also sold surplus vegetables in the local market.

Payel Hansda & Kunami Hansda: 5year old Payel and 3year old Koonami Hansda, both are students of Good Hope School. They have two older sisters. Ram Hansda and Sabitri Hansda want to ensure that all their four daughters get good education. So, while the young ones are sent to Good Hope School, the older ones study in classes five and eight in government schools. Ram is a temporary auto driver, while Sabitri grows a vegetable or two in the little plot of land that they have. For the parents, looking at their girls learning to write English alphabets is a dream come true.
Reshmi Majhi: Little Reshmi Majhi is all of five years old. Her father is a daily labourer. Her mother used to be a brick kiln labourer but due to the birth of a baby boy, she is currently at home, looking after the six month old baby. When Reshmi goes to Good Hope School, her mother gets some time to rest – as otherwise the little girl and the baby keep her too occupied. She feels happy that Reshmi is learning words that she has never known about!
Shureeta Murmu: Shureeta is the only child of her parents. Her father is a daily construction labourer while her mother is a brick kiln worker. Her mother drops her to school on her way to work. For her mother, this provides a relief to know that her daughter is safe and secure in her school. While her parents hardly know to read or write, Shureeta has learnt to write from 1 to 10 with much confidence.
Rina Majhi: Four year old Rina has a two and half year old brother. Her father currently works in the mines. They have a small slice of land which they use for growing paddy or some local vegetables. Rina’s parents are very hopeful that their daughter would excel in her studies and make them proud.

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With regards,
Team Swadhina
34/C Bondel Road, Kolkata 700019. Tel: + 22870934