‘Badlav ki Chah’ initiative among manual Scavenging Community

Mohammadabad, Gazipur, UP

Yusufpur, Mohammadabad, Gazipur is around 115 kms towards away from Varanasi towards Patna. There are many families which were dependent on manual scavenging as their only occupation. Over years of SDF’s hard work, there has been a significant change in the entire community.

Badlav ki Chah Centre

SDF has a centre in the area, which is meant for young boys & girls to learning different things. There is a computer learning centre which has 3 batches of one hour each. Due to erratic supply of electricity, the students have to depend on theory more than practical. The problem of electricity supply could be solved if we raise some money to get a powerful inverter, which will be charged during the time when the supply of electricity is there and used later.

The students want to learn to develop blogs and HTML pages if we take internet connection. Most of the students have been taught in Hindi but with basic English words related to omputers so far many girls have learnt typing. But they still don’t know much about Hardware. So a special class per week has to be dedicated to hardware. The girls seemed to be intelligent and have keen interest in learning things. If more time is spent on actual practical then the girls can take up computers as their profession.

The other centre is the sewing centre which has been handled by Women teacher. There are about 10 girls from both Muslim & scavenging communities. As part of the course the girls are learning cutting as well as sewing. At present they are learning both on newspaper but later on the plans are to introduce clothes and other accessories to make dresses for young girls there.

The centre also has a library, the book ranges from history to contemporary fiction. It covers all major writers of India and West but in simple text best suited for children.

Scholarship for Girls

Another initiative of SDF in Gazipur had been ‘Savitri bai Phule scholarship”. For the past 6 years, girls were given scholarships from the Manual Scavenging community to continue their schooling. Their schooling was about to get discontinued as their parents were unable to support their fees. This year out of 8 girls 3 girls completed their schooling and all of them secured first division. Completing them the boys (who often asked what wrong they committed for being born as boys; as they have not been supported their scholarship) also scored very good percentages. Boys being boys, the parents are really going out of board to give them best available education in technical courses, even if they pant to have not money for girls. SDF too is unable to support the financial burden of girls but have sent 2 girls to an institute in different city to study social action, computers and English. But the girl will have to sit for their under-graduate examination after they return.

Apart from these girls, 10 more girls have been identified by SDF who will be given scholarship to study from class I to XII in one of the best English medium school of that area. These girls are being supported by “Friends for Education International US”.

There have been many individuals who have been supporting our cause from time to time to liberate the children from the horrendous traditional occupation of their parents and grandparents and the taboo attached to it.

Economic Empowerment of Women

This year SDF have gone upfront with its very small income generation program for the women who were working as manual scavengers till today. 5 women have been given support to their small income generation program. 3 women leased a piece of agricultural land for a year to grow vegetables. Theses women were dependent on the alms of the food of previous day from the owner of the houses which were cleaned of night soil by these women. Now the women are optimistic to earn enough money to regain the piece of land for the next year and return the money taken from the revolving fund.

One woman bought a cycle rickshaw, which is run by her husband who used to rent rickshaw for daily wage. Now the family is a proud family, earning from their own vehicle but at the same time they are returning back the fund money on daily basis. Another woman bought a cycle-cart which is helpful for the husband who now earns double the income. His daughter is one of our scholarship girls and faired 1st division and has been awarded with a bicycle and Rs.15000 to study class XI, & XII by the State Government. The happy couple wants their daughter to get into police services.

The revolving find has been created in order to help families to de-link themselves from the traditional occupation. That is where “Badlav ki Chah” is showing the real change in the community.

SDF initiative and overall development of the Children in the area

Interestingly, the Gazipur Centre is falling short of space in spite of having 4 rooms. As the number of children using the centre multiples and its hard for the coordinator and other teachers to accommodate children. If here will be resources, the centre can take bigger space somewhere.

But still, performances by the children never deterred the space crunch. Below are some pictures of fun-filled students performing on the eve of Independence Day at Gazipur.

Fun- filled kids of the neighbourhoods, very regular to the learning centre and enjoy all activities. The students of the centre performed many songs, dances, and also poetry recitals and play-performance on Young boys and girls how they feel about each other.

Due to objection from the community, the adolescent boys have been restricted to join
the activities of the centre. The community made a point clear that they would like girls
to take benefit from this centre.

Girls singing songs from Independence movement.

Girls performing play, dressed as boys with head scarves and dressed as modern day girls with Jeans and Tees.

Dancing on the beats of a Hindi Film Music. Muslim girls were not allowed to dance in the community but the times changed so much that even an adult Muslim Girls parents raise no objection when the girls want to study or dance and sing or learn computers in the Centre.

These children are the future ambassadors of Social Development Foundation’s Initiative.

(Thanks to the friends of SDF Gazipur Initiative
Friends for Education, US; Barabra Codispot, Italy; Bagga, US; Bruce Moore, Canada
For more info visit: http://gazipursdf.blogspot.com/)


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