By Bikash Kumar Meher, Block Coordinator
This is a story of eight children aged 3-6 years from Haribereni village in Angul district who could not access preschool services and Hot Cooked Meals for the past two years as their village is situated far from the nearest Anganwadi Centre (AWC).
Haribereni is a tagged village of Mandua AWC of Kampasala Gram Panchayat under Chhendipada block of Angul district in Odisha. The village is located at a distance of 72 kms from the district headquarters and 30 kms from the block headquarters. Most of the population in this village belongs to the scheduled tribes category and they depend upon daily wage labour work and marginal farming to sustain their lives.
An awareness meeting by APAA was conducted in October at this tagged village to share information about the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) under ICDS and Mamata Yojana. While discussing SNP scheme and category-wise entitlements provided by an AWC, beneficiaries and other participants shared their experience on THR (take home ration). Although they were getting THR from the AWC but they did not have information about specific date of THR distribution. There were other grievances raised at this meeting too.
We urged the community to take up their grievances with the Anganwadi worker (AWW) of the nearest AWC – Mandua AWC. A meeting with the AWW helped us understand that she was ready to help. She was also concerned that 8 pre-school beneficiaries who were registered at the AWC had not been able to come to the AWC for the past two years because of the problem of access. The AWW fixed a date for a meeting with the community and invited APAA to be a part of it on November 28, 2019. All grievances were discussed and redressed because the AWW was present at the meeting.
The THR beneficiaries were informed about the date of THR distribution (which is fixed as day one of each month. A resolution was also taken to ensure that 8 pre-school children would receive their entitlement. It was decided that one of the villagers will go with the children and drop them at AWC and at the time of return, Anganwadi helper will come with the children and drop them at the village.
Since December 2019, all 8 pre-school beneficiaries of Haribereni tagged village have been regularly going to Mandua AWC and receiving their pre-school benefits.