Today, when anybody enters Sarekhi ka Pura village it appears clean with proper construction of roads and drainage systems. No one is found gambling or consuming alcohol and issues like water have been resolved. All younger children, adolescent girls and pregnant and lactating mothers go to Anganwadi and receive immunization, supplementary nutrition and other services in timely manner. No child is involved in child labour and all children are going to school. No child marriage is taking place. Use of abusive language and corporal punishment has stopped. Eve-teasing and sexual abuse has disappeared. Nobody now asks any child to bring pouch of gutkha for him/her.
The village was not so when Prayatn started working in it in 2011. There were no proper road, only mud was lying everywhere, people used gamble and stink with alcohol, inadequate availability of drinking water, high prevalence of ill-practices of child marriage, child labour, gender based discrimination, mrityubhoj, etc. was there and what not. It would have been impossible for anyone living in or visiting the village to believe that 8 years down the line, the small village Sarekhi ka Pura of Dhaulpur block and district of Rajasthan, is turning out to be a model of Child Friendly Village for others.
Prayatn started working in this village in 2011 and facilitated formation of three community based institutions in it namely, Bal Manch for children, Village Child protection Committee consisting of adults and Self Help Group of women. The process of their strengthening was long and intensive but resulted in development of several sustainable community based systems and mechanisms on different issues related with children as described below:
A sub-committee of Village Child Protection Committee has been formed which monitors Anganwadi and ensures that children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating mothers get all the services of the same
Education of Children
A-sub-committee has been formed to monitor functioning of government school in regular manner and talk with teachers and others if required.
It also monitored whether all the children are going to school and Anganwadi or not.
Development and abidance to School Development Plan was ensured.
Child marriage was banned. If anybody was found doing so, the family was counseled. Still, if the family wanted to do it, legal action was called for.
Child labour too has been banned. If any family is found doing so, it is counseled and efforts to link the family with alternative sources of livelihood through SHG and/or linkage with government schemes is tried. The family is required to sign an affidavit for discontinuing child labour and sending all its children to school before any loan support is granted from the SHG.
Gambling and sale of liquor too were banned. If anybody was found doing so, there were provisions for penal action. At the same time, the informers were rewarded for encouraging vigilance.
Ban on use of abusive language, corporal punishment etc.
If anybody was found violating the above systems and mechanisms in the village, provisions for penal actions which varied from imposing fine, social boycott or taking legal action were taken up.
Sincere abidance to the above mentioned systems and mechanisms by the community based institutions resulted in several developments and achievements in the village as listed below:
- Enrolment and retention is now 100 percent in the village with 63 children in 6 to 14 years age-group going to primary school located within the village and 35 older children going to nearby villages for studying in upper primary and secondary classes. Further, 9 adolescents including (5 girls) are studying at college level.
- The village child protection committee is monitoring the school regularly and has ensured several developments in its infrastructure like repair of drinking water handpump, repair of its gate, painting of school building to make it attractive for children, leveling of its playground. It is trying to free school playground which has been encroached upon by an influential person through proper legal action.
- The VCPC and Bal Manch have ensured improvement in quality of midday meal supplied in nearby government school of Moroli ka Pura where their children too are going.
- All children of the village in 0 to 5 years age-group, as well as, pregnant mothers have got immunized in regular manner.
- Birth certificates, which gives identity to any child, has been ensured in 76 deprived cases while 12 more are in progress.
- No one now asks any child to bring any tobacco product like gutkha for his/her consumption.
- Three self-help groups are presently functional in the village with 30 members in total and overall saving of Rs 1,19,240/-.
- Village corpus has been developed out of the contribution of the community members and fine is collected from violators of above mentioned systems and mechanisms to support village development activities.
- Open defecation has disappeared with the construction of several toilets because of community efforts.
- Within last 3 years, the community based institutions have resolved 27 out of 36 issues that they identified during processes like Village Development Plan preparation and Child Led Indicator Development.