• Children attend preschool in a temple in Pune

    While Pune city is all set to be a smart city by 2020, an anganwadi in hinterlands of Pune district functions out of a temple since 2009. Located in Walhe village of Pune district, the anganwadi has 20 children between the ages of three and six who study in a limited space of the temple, while people carry on with their prayers. Hemlata Jadhav, a dedicated anganwadi sevika has been trying her best to teach these kids basic alphabets and numbers, but education comes to halt whenever there is a puja or community celebration. Parents who are concerned about the quality of education their child gets, have raised this issue several times with district officials, but six years on, the anganwadi still remains homeless. “I don’t just want bookish education for my daughter. I want her to be able to play and get involved in other anganwadi activites,” says Nitin Velip, a father. But due to the unavailability of a private school, the parents have to make do with the broken government education system.

    Anganwadi is a government sponsored child-care and mother-care centre in India under Integrated Child Development Department. These centres ensure that children, women and adolescent girls are given supplementary nutrition, non-formal pre-school education, nutrition and health education, immunisation, health check-up and referral services as part of the public health systems.

    But since the centre runs from a temple, Anganwadi sevikas (Health workers) can’t run a fully-functional centre. “Pregnant women and menstruating girls aren’t allowed to enter the temple due to traditions,” says Hemlata. Due to this sevikas have to individually go to each expectant mother in the village for ante-natal check-up along with a weighing scale and medicines, travelling the 6 km stretch of their areas on foot. Rohini Pawar, a Community Correspondent and an Anganwadi Sevika herself, decided to raise her voice through the power of media and put an end to this ignorance of six years. In the past six years, Rohini estimates that between herself and Hemlata, they have done home visits for over 500 pregnant women for ante-natal check-up.

    Recently, during a Gramsabha meeting, Rohini had a community screening of the video to the Village council head district officials and raised the issue on non-availability of an anganwadi centre, admist all present. Seeing a video report of the state of anganwadi, the Village Council head has ascertained that the anganwadi is in the process of getting a new building.

    Let us ensure that the Village Council head, Kalpana Gole, stays firm to her promise. Call her on +91 8007015047 and insist that the anganwadi centre is built soon in the village and children are ensured a better learning space.

    Community correspondent Rohini Pawar reports from Maharashtra for Video Volunteers.

    This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent. Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org or our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/VideoVolunteers

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