Thursday, 14 March 2019

Let us Fight Malnutrition

While we loudly discuss the probable war strategies (however novice we may be about defence issues), with our friends, munching on a plateful of goodies, a child somewhere dies a silent death – of malnutrition! Yes, you heard it right – there are communities which still die of severe malnutrition. And what could be more shameful that while we waste plates and plates of food in lavish weddings, a lot many hungry children go to bed in empty stomach.

Despite India’s recorded increase of GDP more than one third of world’s malnourished children live in India . One of the major cause  for this is economic inequality. Obviously the diet of a large number of population often lacks both quality and quantity.

Women who suffered malnutrition are less likely to have healthy babies. 44% of children under age of 5 are under weight. 72% of infants  and 52% of married women have anemia. 

Dr Subhas Chandra Gorai is a medical doctor by profession and a dedicated social worker by choice , he is a colleague in development of mine for several years and I have work experience  with him in remote locations in various remote villages in West Bengal and others places as  far flung as Assam. Recently he sent me a note along with few pictures on his visit (along with some of his co-workers) to a remote area, which can well be a pointer towards the ground reality of the scenario of mal-nutrition. 

Guhisayal village in Sukinda Block in Jajpur district in the state of Odisha is one such area which is reeling under conditions of severe malnutrition. The area is very close to Nagada which came into national headlines recently due to malnutrition related deaths. To reach to this village would require a 5 km walk through a rough, rocky terrain.

The team was appalled to see the pathetic living conditions of the handful of villagers, especially the children. 4 children are already under medical support for severe malnutrition condition. The rest of the villagers are grappling with hunger and poverty. PDS is their only source of food supply but is not adequate to fulfill the nutritional needs. Moreover, as the team discovered, the lack of knowledge about health and hygiene too contributed much to the deteriorating conditions. Their condition disturbed Dr. Garai and his team so much that they shared whatever dry food they carried with themselves….But not before the children were made to wash their hands with soap paper that the team was fortunately carrying with themselves.  It was a moving picture to see the children hungrily devouring the food that was offered.  He writes "the sparkle  of their eyes  was very much visible .  On a lighter note - though our stomach remained empty, their smile filled our hearts." They have a water-hole the only source of  water for all purpose.
The experience has moved Dr.Garai and his team so much that they have decided to tackle the issue head on.
Soon the team is gearing up to prepare an action plan for the area.
As one of the team members reacted, “Sirjee. Aap Gabbar ban jaiye. Hum is elakey ki, har ghar se chun chun kar malnutrition ko dhundhenge aur usey desh se bhagayenge”.

The core idea behind this write-up  is not to open an academic discussion on the issues of malnutrition. It is primarily to rededicate some of us working at village level on rural development to continue to address the issues of malnutrition in different ways which are feasible within our reach.  

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Witch Hunting : A social crime, still exists !

For the past few weeks there were several incidence of violence meted out women in the name of Dain (witch). It is indeed very cruel and a very dangerous ploy, normally accompanied by rumor mongering against the woman, by vested interested elements in the village. It is seen in most cases the woman had land or property, and, certain greedy persons created this rumor to get rid of the woman so that her property can be grabbed. Let us create awareness on this problem of witch-hunting and resist all such attempts with all our might.

Decades ago some of us got together to create awareness through songs on the issue. On the background was such incidence which was happening in Purulia area in West Bengal. The language of the song was local dialect written by our co-activist Manik Dasgupta. Below is the lyric and please click below to listen to the song -

তরা মানুষ্  হয়ে করলি মানুষ খুন
রে সমাজেতে ধরাইন দিলি ঘুন

ডাইনি বলে লেগ্লি যাদের জান ওঝার কাছে
ভুল্লি কেনে তার ভিতরেও তর বিটিটাও আছে,
বিনা দোষে দিলি সাজা কাঁদছে বিটি শুন, সমাজেতে ধরাইন দিলি ঘুন|

তুই ভাবলি জান ওঝারা মারাং বুরুর সাথী
বিটি বহুর ডাইন ছাড়াতে উঠলি রে তাই মাতি
জান ওঝারাও মানুষ বটে নাই দেবতার গুন, আনখা রাগে করলি মানুষ খুন


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Training on Communication & Networking

NAVA team conducted a training programme for grass root women leaders of Community Mobilization Programme of Seva Kendra, Kolkata. There were three batches of participants attended this training held on 20, 22 and 25 May, 2017. The event was conducted with the help of various creative exercises like group games, role play, painting, cut and paste posters along with short thematic talks. The training was conducted by Diptendu Mukerji assisted by Smriti Sarkar. This was held at the Seva Kendra programme centre at Kolkata.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Women's Day 2017

Here are two poster / wall paper for Women's Day 2017. Please feel free to use them in any befitting manner. Thanks. NAVA Team.