Machakhurd becomes a shining example of change
There is another village facing barriers in development – Machakhurd. This is residence for 68 Saharia, 41 Harijan (Scheduled Caste) and 21 Other Backward Category people. The story of this village is also somewhat like Jakhnod. Children were malnourished. In year 2016, the village had only one anganwadi that had 158 children registered. Of them 96 were normal, 45 moderately malnourished and 17 severely malnourished. This meant that the anganwadi was under additional stress. Due to distance from their settlement, Saharia children did not attend the anganwadi. The village saw four child deaths during 2016. The village did not have employment and people would migrate for livelihood.
Given the circumstances, community-based management was implemented here too. Community put up proposal for additional anganwadi. Demand was stressed through various media and resultantly in year 2018, a new anganwadi centre was set up. For 2018-19, the two anganwadis in the village has 180 children resgitered. In all 50 children have moderate malnutrition and only two children have severe malnutrition. Only one infant death was recorded in the village this year. Of the 25 registered childbirths, 20 were institutional deliveries. At present, the new anganwadi centre is catering to 83 children, five pregnant and nine lactating mothers. Immunisation has become regular and health awareness has increased.
New school too: The Saharia Mohalla children had to cover quite a distance to reach school in Machakhurd. They were then enrolled in school of Bhojpur village, which was nearer to them. All 23 enrolled children are now regulars at school. Earlier, the school refused to give mid-day meal to Saharia children, but later through sustained efforts of the people and the organization, the kids started getting mid-day meal too.
Solution to drinking water crisis found: Drinking water was a big problem for the community. To resolve this, meeting with community was held. The issue of the pond in the village was discussed. The villagers shared that there was a breach in the wall of the pond which leads to leakage of entire water. If water could be stopped in the pond, about 50-60 bigha of Saharia community land could be irrigated. Here too, work was started with NGO Goonj. Total 31 persons of the village worked for eight days and with 248 days of man labour, lot of water was collected in the pond and people could grow good wheat crop on about 40-50 bigha land this year.
Poultry farming for livelihood: Without livelihood options, no community could have sustaining development. It is very necessary for community members to have assured income. Government makes efforts for this, but results are hardly visible on the ground. Looking at the livelihood issues of the community, poulty farming applications were moded through the animal husbandry department two years ago. This resulted in 44 families of village getting 1100 chicks and poultry farming business was started. For this, special community meetings were conducted and training was provided to the persons concerned.
Pic: Children’s group activity photo