Second Front – After 14 Years
14 years after starting of Parivaar in Bengal, we have started work in a new geography of MP. Here the immediate plan over next one year is to start 10 centres, each of around 100 to 200 children in selected pockets of deprivation and malnourishment in Districts of Madhya Pradesh where Day Boarding (Education cum Meal Programs) for children in the age-group of 4 to 14 will be started. These centres are being named ‘Sri Ramakrishna Vivekananda Seva Kutir’.
Our first Kutir has been started in April ’17 at our land on banks of Narmada in village Navada. Here children from nearby villages are coming (some from more distant villages are being brought by vehicles we have hired). About 105 children in the age-group of 5 to 11 are attending the Navada centre. They arrive at 8 am when they are given breakfast with milk, then classes follow till 1 pm, following which they are served lunch with roti, sabzi, rice and dal. They are then dropped back between 2 and 3 pm.
The second Kutir has been started on 1st September ’17 at village Eklera and is servicing nearby 5 villages which are predominantly adivasi (tribal) and in severe deprivation. Here already 145 children are attending ( a vehicle is being hired to ferry from distant villages). The space has been offered by the community.
The location of these centres is :
Eklera witnessed a completely new situation here with villagers objecting to children from lowest castes sitting with those from upper castes while partaking of the meals. We made it clear that it will be this only. I now feel, more strongly than before, that even a simple act of dining together right from childhood can go a long way in a more integrated society.
MP has the worst record as far as child malnourishment is concerned (with 60% children being malnourished), with 28 thousand children in age-group of 0-6 dying last year alone. We have done field-work across the whole district and have identified 10-12 more pockets where we will start similar centres (we need not buy land but will get space from communities or on nominal rent).
This is towards deeper field-engagement in the district as we are building up our main institution here – Nivedita Vidyapeeth (to commemorate Sister Nivedita’s 150th birth anniversary) which will initially be a day-boarding educational institution and later a residential facility like Parivaar in Bengal). Children from all these areas and many other districts in MP will admitted into Nivedita Vidyapeeth.
We are also developing a new residential campus for children at village Sandalpur in Dewas district which will initially be for 200 children. We had purchased 3 acres of land for this in June 2016. The construction of this complex – Nivedita Vidyapeeth – is going and our Engineer is already stationed here supervising the construction. This will cost Rs 2 Crore. Contributions towards this are solicited. The work at MP is going on by the support of our local associate – Singaji Society.
Ground work for similar Education cum Meal centre (Kutirs) is being done in Sundarbans (Bengal), Jhargram (Bengal), Birbhum (Bengal), and also Singhbhum (Jharkhand). These will be started in course of this year.