Amba, a village in the Bothi Panchayat of Harda district, Madhya Pradesh, is known for the peaceful co-existence of the Korku and Gond tribal communities. The village consists of 61 households with a population of 200-250, including 166 children. Despite its potential, the village has been facing significant water scarcity issues.
Synergy Sansthan, in collaboration with TDH France, has been working with the Gond tribal communities in 10 villages, including Amba, to enhance their education and nutritional well-being. Amba village experiences severe water scarcity, in spite of three tube wells and two dug wells. The primary reason behind this issue is the lack of proper management of these water sources by the government authorities. The regular breakdown of pumps and high fluctuations in electricity supply further exacerbate the problem. As a result, the water supply to the village is disrupted, and community members are compelled to travel long distances to fetch water. Women and young girls bear the burden of water collection, often sacrificing their education and other activities.
In May 2023, the water scarcity issue again came to the forefront when women expressed their struggles in collecting a small amount of water for domestic use. The Synergy Sansthan team and women members of the group-initiated discussions to find a solution. During the meeting, action points were identified to address the water scarcity issue. A list of action points was prepared and assigned to different group members. Initially, a letter was sent to the gram panchayat (local government body) requesting the installation of low voltage pumps. This was not possible for the local government due to limited funds. The women members then approached the public engineering department and within ten days, all three high voltage pumps were replaced with low voltage pumps.
The availability of water has had a significant impact on the village community. Women are now relieved of the additional burden of water collection, allowing them to focus on household work and have sufficient rest. Children have more time to dedicate to their studies and play. The gram panchayat has assured the maintenance of the pumps whenever required, ensuring sustainable access to water for the community.
Tajikistan was one of the poorest countries in Asia, even when it was a part of the Soviet Union. After its Independence in 1991 and the Civil War that followed, the situation worsened with the country unable to maintain even what little infrastructure there was, let alone improve it. This was especially so in the Health Sector and especially with regard to facilities and services for children.
The situation was particularly serious in remote districts like Devashtich of the Sughd The
children wards were of the Soviet era and had never been renovated. The hospital lacked basic hygiene and proper sterilization techniques, leading to serious issues of contamination and infection. The tdh Project ‘Access to Quality Healthcare for the Rural Population in Tajikistan’ implemented by a local NGO, Sadoqat, has transformed four children’s wards, providing access to quality health care. It also will train 45 healthcare providers dealing with children’s diseases and 200 local women will be empowered to deal with child nutrition and their well-being.
Meet the always smiling Suniti (name changed) from Koderma district in Jharkhand. Her district was once known as the mica capital of India but the enactment of Forest Act imposed restrictions on mining in forest areas. Mica production soon evolved into a black market, where thousands of children like Suniti work under exploitative conditions and several harmful conditions to support their families. Indeed, she can hide a lot of pain in her smile.
Meet Sonia Kumari (name changed), an eleven year old girl from Balbali village in Giridih district of Jharkhand. Her district is one of the most backward districts of Jharkhand.
She was involved in collecting mica, commonly referred as ‘dhibra’ and was one amongst the thousands of children who were engaged in the worst forms of child labour.
The children of waste pickers are not afraid to dream big, and dream big they did as they went on to become first generation learners to pass the SSC examination with such flying colours! The past year has been challenging to say the least, but in the face of all the hardships associated with the pandemic, the children have stayed strong, held their ground and shown grit. However, they were not alone. Their parents have shown once again that a supportive family can go a long way in helping the child to achieve all that they wish to achieve. They ensured that their child did not have to worry about their next meal, they used their savings to buy a spare phone so that the child can continue to study uninterrupted, they worked long hours and double shifts to earn a little extra money to pay for the increasing expenses of education. But, most importantly, they showed up for the child, no matter what. However, they too are of the belief that much of this would not have been possible without the philanthropic support of organisations and individuals alike. As we take this moment to share this feat and celebrate the children with you, we also want to thank you for championing this cause and aiding our children in so many ways that you have. We are utterly grateful and hope that you will continue to support the children in their future endeavours as well.
Sanjeep hails from the Kavre district in Nepal and has been associated with tdh supported project ARD for several years. He had been associated with the project since a younger age and the project workers recognizing his potential have always encouraged him to participate in project activities and gradually take on the role of a leader. Sanjeep is now the leader of the Youth Network and has been elected from amongst 80 youth across the area to the post. He works with the local government as well and has a deep understanding of ecological issues and challenges his area faces.
His village and the surrounding areas suffer from severe droughts and Sanjeep as the head of the Youth Federation decided to do something to address that. They also knew that the current solution to the drought problem was to dig and create bore wells which would deplete the groundwater and therefore have a negative impact on the environment. Their town was also growing at a steady pace and therefore the demand for water would keep increasing. Sanjeep therefore decided to create a system where they could harvest the rainwater in the surrounding hills and use that in times of drought. He started speaking to the local government and the Ward Chairman to allocate the necessary budgets. They also proposed a plan of creating plantations and vegetation around the rain water harvesting pools and ponds so that it serves the twin purpose of water conservation and creating greenery.
They also created awareness within the community on water conservation and also on beautifying the community by planting trees etc. He also helped the youth understand how this project would benefit them directly. Many of the youth are entrepreneurs who are into animal husbandry and horticulture and this would help as well.
The water conservation project was approved and launched in 2017 and was completed in 2018 and is now benefiting over 30,000 people and Sanjeep couldn’t be happier. The young man dreams of a life where the government would always implement eco friendly policies and people would believe in sustainable living.
Key child rights agencies in the country come together in these difficult times to stand for children. The Joining Forces India team has submitted an appeal for the most Vulnerable Children amid COVID 19, addressed to the Prime Minister on India , with copy to the key National Ministries and Government Institutions and Child Rights Commission. We are hopeful that this would have a positive outcome and bring into effect measures that children need desperately at these point. You can read the appeal here.
Joining Forces – an alliance of six international child rights organizations – terre des hommes, Plan, SOS Children’s Villages, Child Fund, World Vision and Save the Children, have made an appeal to the Prime Minister of India to ensure children are kept safe, protected and provided with the basic necessities to fight this crisis. You can read the appeal here.
Every year to celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – children and youth from terre des hommes’ International Youth Network get together in the month of November and raise their voices for their rights. This year is no exception. Read about this amazing initiative on https://www.gam-tdh.org/