This visit to Vikramgad was unique in itself. For the first time, we had two teams worked on two different sets of activities in parallel. The medical team conducted an all girls camp at Arvind Ashram Shala, Dadade, wherein the other team conducted the parents meeting at Guravpada and Janathepada.
Parents meeting at Guravpada and Janathepada
During the pre-Diwali period, we induct new schools, new students, launch new projects, supervise the existing projects and conduct first set of camps. Our post Diwali session starts with the second round of visits to the schools. The primary objective of the same is to have a common meeting with the parents, students, teachers and the local well-wishers. As a part of that, we visited Guravpada and Janathepada on 12th Dec, 2015.
The sessions started with teachers updating the parents about the progress in this year, current projects and future plans. Team Suhrid then addressed the parents and spelled out the expectations in the direction of health, education and environment. The response from the parents was overwhelming. These tribal people are not used to communicating with the outsiders that freely. However, having observed our contribution in the progress of their kids, they have become extremely comfortable and expressed their gratitude and spelled out their expectations. In the absence of the funds, these kids are deprived of certain sports items for indoor and outdoor games. Apart from the traditional cricket set, badminton, football, volleyball, lagori, rings etc, we distributed carom, chess, ludo, snake and ladder, Lego set etc. Our schools are the only schools in the entire region, wherein the kids get to play the indoor games. It helps them play indoor during bad weather.
Teachers shared encouraging feedback with us. A few important ones are as under
- Most of the kids, who had already moved to different schools for higher education, make it a point to be present for all our meetings even now.
- All the kids wash their hands before and after the meals.
- These kids are expected to apply oil, comb the hair and trim the nail. If they miss out on anything, they would use the stuff available in the school before attending the class.
- Janathepada School has almost 99.9% attendance for last two years.
- Janathepada school is considered the best in the 16 schools in that cluster. They are considered the benchmark for others.
- Most of the kids belong warli tribal community. They use local dialect, which is similar to Marathi. Since we started Jolly Phonics workshops, the kids from 1st and 2nd standard can read three to four letter English words with utmost ease.
- Number of kids, falling sick every year, has gone down drastically because of the health care and nutrition provided by the teachers.
- The kids were extremely shy earlier. They have grown in confidence to such an extent that they can independently answer the queries, raised by the external visitors.
The positivity created by Suhrid foundation in the school environment was quite evident. As per the Sarpanch of the village, they had to face problems in convincing the parents to send their kids to school earlier. At least, 20% of the kids used to avoid the schools. However, NOT even a single kid is avoiding the schools. In fact, at times, even the play school kid (junior Kg) kid spends time with the first standard students.
Medical Camp at Arvind Ashram Shala, Dadade
We have started working with this school since Dec 2014. This school is supported by various charity organization. They have around 1250 students from class 1st to 12th. Out of which, 80%+ are resident students. The students include 850 boys and 400 girls. Most of the schools in Vikramgad area have classes up to 4th or 5th. The parents then make kids go to these ashram shala. In the absence of adequate fund, the students’ hostel double up as their class in the day. The wardens have enforced strict discipline in terms of the studies, exercise, prayers and timing. While they get good quality meals there, it is more carb and protein dominated. They don’t get vegetables on regular basis.
We had realized that they were able to get help in improving infrastructure, uniforms, study material etc from other organizations. However, they did not have facility for addressing the health problems of the growing girls. As a first step, we decided to take care of the health aspects of all the girls.
The camp was conducted in the school premises. The senior girls acted as volunteer for the entire camp. The girls from 11th and 12th were also keen on knowing about the career from the lady doctors. We examined roughly 400 girls. As per the doctors, following are the key findings from the camp:
- In menstruating girls, dysmenorrhoea has reduced by 60-70% due to medicines provided in last camp in Dec 2014
- De-worming done earlier had shown good results
- Skin discoloration due to calcium deficiency has resolved by almost 90%
- Headache due to general weakness reduced due to supplements provided
- Emergency medicines provided in first-aid kit helped reduce critical situation arising like abdominal cramps, sever headache etc
The girls, who have been identified for the advanced treatment, would be brought to Mumbai for the further treatment.