India Community Development
Many communities in the West Bengal state of India live well below the poverty line. The residents of urban slum areas in Durgapur and villages in nearby rural Sarenga predominately depend on inconsistent daily wage labour for their livelihood. As a result they face chronic food insecurity have limited access to health care and education.
Although education is free in India, the quality of education is poor within these communities and viewed as a burden due to its associated costs such as uniforms and school supplies. Additionally, children are viewed as potential household earners and are often expected to work. As a result many children living in this area do not attend school, with the level of school dropouts remaining especially high among girls.
The level of health within these communities is exceptionally poor due to the lack of access to clean water, inadequate sanitation facilities and overcrowded housing conditions. This has resulted in various health problems including diarrhoeal, respiratory and skin diseases.
The Community Education Program views the education of children as vital. The project promotes continued education among children through providing tutorial centres to support children who have dropped out of school, improving the quality of teaching, supplying necessary services such as uniforms, stationary and nutritional support, as well as reinforcing the values of education among community members.
The sustainability of the project is strengthened through raising awareness of the rights and privileges of women and children among the community.
Additionally, health awareness and support programs have been implemented in order to reduce the amount of preventable disease within the communities. This is carried out through the promotion of safe drinking water and the importance of hygiene and sanitation. The project also includes regular health check-ups for children, making sure they are healthy and can gain an education.
Centres for providing children with coaching have been established in several rural villages in the Sarenga region. Bags, school stationary and shoes have been distributed to the children who attend the coaching centre in each village. Milk, Eggs, Cereals, Dahlia and Pulses are provided at the coaching centres to provide nutritional support to the children.
The villagers’ participation in the affairs of the community has increased and they are now thinking of extended and sustainable development into the future.
Training programs have been run for female teachers and the mothers of children involved in the program, aimed at increasing skills and awareness of income generation opportunities.