Educational Sustainability, Health and Nutritional Assistance and Prevention of Communicable Disease for Disadvantaged Minors in South 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India
Background of the Project:
In the district of South 24 Parganas which includes the rural areas of South 24 Parganas where the density of the population is very high. The intervention addressed to the disadvantage minors between 7 – 18 years of age from extremely poor families that are not able to cover the basic expenses of their own children. Often, that family is comprised of many members, whose combined average daily salary is less than 1 Euro a day. Often, the parents who are mainly employed as agriculture day laboures, rickshaw drivers and construction workers, work for daily wages, and subsequently must endure long unpaid periods of unemployment and sickness (or injury). Thus they cannot guarantee a steady income and economic stability. Consequently, the living conditions are extremely poor; the families cohabit in one room shelters made of mud and bamboo almost always without neither electricity nor running water, the shelters are exposed to humidity and hard rains in the monsoon season.
In such problematic areas, one of the most difficult challenges in the field of education, is not only convincing the families to enroll their children into schools, but also making the minors attend school regularly, involve them in the lessons and to study and pass the final exams, till the achievement of a degree in order to strive for a better future. However, the obstacles are many fold as well as the causes that lead to the drop-out phenomena in West Bengal.
As previous mentioned, oftentimes, from early childhood on, the children are employed in working activities not only for household chores but also for real life jobs (although the Indian law forbids it) which, on the one hand, allows them to increase the family income, but on the other hand, hinder their personal growth and academic achievements. Even when the children are not employed in the working activities, they are often busy looking after their siblings in their homes, or with their parents while they are working.
As far as the home environment is concerned, the main issue in the education of the children is the problem of overcrowded spaces which are not conducive for the studies of the child. The house unit is very small and the members of the family almost always have to share same room and the same bed (the less lucky have to be satisfied with a thin mat on the floor). Since they don’t have tables and electricity, the children are highly disadvantaged in the comprehension of homework assigned by their school.
Another obstacle that seems to have a significant role in the school difficulties of the children regards the level of education of the parents, who very often are illiterate or are only able to their own name or a little bit more. This leads to the facts that the parents not only are unable to support their children during the educational course, but they are not even able to provide the children with an initial elementary cultural background, but above all, often they ate unable to understand the importance of giving an education to their children and the importance of school activities for the growth of their children as an investment for their future.
UNDP, OMS, UNICEF Recommended the Area as Health hazard prone:
The international organization like UNDP, OMS, UNICEF confirmed the operational guidelines of prevention and sensitization amongst the new generations. The intervention is the vehicle of change in the rural Health behaviour, transforming the lives of the marginalized. It is to be noted that that problems cannot be solved alone or by a single agency. The funding Agency and partner organization get together to pool their resources, skills and talent for the betterment of their Health status.
Reduction the rate of communicable diseases and of those sicknesses related to unsafe drinking water. Intervening with the minors through a system of regular medical check-ups and a healthy diet together with sensitization activities regarding the most common daily hygienic and sanitary habits as well as risky habits, means to introduce lots of factors of change therefore for the benefit of their families as well as for their respective communities.