Child Centered Village Development

Introduction

Extreme poverty, and constrained access to right based entitlements together determine the status and condition of children in Dholpur. Dholpur, is also among the districts having a most adverse sex ratio in the state. The practice of female infanticide, sex selective abortion and strong preference for a male child in most communities has been seen as factors contributing to this imbalance. Child marriage also continues to be serious problem in the district. The situation is particularly adverse for the children who born in poverty. These children face further inequalities in access to crucial resources, leading to exclusion and marginalization. A considerable number of children in the district are in child labour category and those who are in schools, can no way in a better situation. There are huge variation in terms of retention, learning levels and drop -out rates in the state. There are also reported cases of child trafficking and child migration for seasonal work in nearby cities and states. In Dholpur, involvement of children in mining work
and processes is significant. It is also important to note that a significant part of mining is “illegal” in the state. Given that most of the mining and quarrying in the District is carried out on informal sites leaving very little space for legal intervention related to the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act.

Prayatn, in 2003 initiated a child centered development process in 90 villages of Dholpur district. In all these villages the incidence of child poverty was high. Particularly the issues such as child labour, child marriage and high dropout rates in primary school grades were rampant. The core approach of the project has been to build community’s capacity to demand for their rights and entitlements. There was also a focus of developing a facilitating external environment thereby working closely with institutions of accountability such as school, health department, Panchayati Raj Institutions and Police. Like any other social issue, it was not an easy task to sensitize the community on the rights of the child. Challenging the phenomenon of child work was also a great difficulty. There was always a circular discussion on issues of why children do not go to school….because of poor quality of schools or apathy of parents. The mechanisms of local control such as School Management and Development Committees (SDMCs) or Village Health and Sanitation Committees (VHSCs) were dysfunctional. There was no mechanism to discuss issues of Child Marriage. Dholpur,
an eastern district of Rajasthan is among the poorest districts. Dholpur is among the poorest districts of the state of Rajasthan. The health indicators of the obviously match the poor health indicators of the state of Rajasthan. Dholpur is not only one of the remotest but also one of the most difficult places to live in Rajasthan. Notorious for being a hide out for dacoits for its proximity to the Chambal ravines, the district is also poor in terms of infrastructure. Besides, the district is also known for its stone mines. The red stone of Dholpur (popularly known as red stone) has been a popular building material since ages. The historical red fort of Delhi is made of Dholpur stone. Communities in general have a significant dependency on mining work and processes for their livelihoods. However, the mines do have a darker side. You will also find a good number of young age children involved in mining work and processes.

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