Reaching the Unreached

Agragamee, NEWS 1 May , 2020

Director’s Note
Dear Friends,

With this newsletter on May Day, we wish to express our solidarity with the millions of Migrant Labourers stranded across the country. Their agonies, tears and apprehensions, their struggle and strife, fill us with a sense of anguish, and we want to reach out, and help them in anyway possible.

These people are the backbone of the nation, and yet, are the worst hit, as the country struggles to contain the blight of the coronavirus. The helpless conditions of those who had but set out to make a living with dignity, and are now suddenly reduced to depending on dole affect us deeply. At this moment, we feel one with the labour class.

As the fear of the Coronavirus spreads Agragamee has fanned out to create awareness and demonstrated the necessary precautions for its prevention in the tribal and rural hinterlands.

Agragamee’s work with some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities  has time and again underlined that strategic support in key areas, can help communities take definitive strides towards self-reliance. We invite you to join us in our efforts and help those who labour to produce our food and build our cities lead a life of dignity and self-reliance. Please do respond to the issues and reports that interest you in this newsletter. We hope to make this space interactive and lively, and involve all concerned and like minded people in building a more egalitarian and just society.

Awareness Campaign to Stop COVID-19 Spread to Tribal Regions

Awareness Campaign in 125 Villages: In the interior rural and tribal regions, in Odisha, the news of the Corona Virus has spread a net of fear and panic.  Agragamee has fanned out to 112 villages in 5 tribal districts,  creating  awareness and assuring communities that the risk can be minimised if appropriate precautions are taken.

IEC in 22 Gram Panchayats: As part of it Information Education Communication campaign, Agragamee has also put up banners, helped people understand the risk to the elderly, and distributed soaps along with demonstrations of washing hands. A survey  in 112 villages has helped  identify migrants who are still out of their villages, other excluded and vulnerable families and individuals, as also plan for socio-economic development that can check distress migrations in future. It is in touch with the State Government for planning of MNREGA Works, and other essential steps to alleviate distress

200 Little Health Warriors: 200 students of Agragamee School have taken on the responsibility of fighting the Coronavirus in 18 villages. They have taken charge of the IEC (information, education communication), reading out the pamphlets, and reminding people to be mindful of the precautions regularly.

Soap Distributed and Handwash Demonstration to 5200 Families: Soap distribution and  emonstration of appropriate hand wash method has helped people understand the importance of hygiene. Women have come forward to take the main responsibility, as they are the ones handling food. Fathers too have taken the  esponsibility, to ensure toddlers clean their hands well before they eat.

MGNREGA Survey and Planning: In all the 125 villages, Agragamee has taken up MGNREGA Survey and planning, as also identification of migrant labour families. We are working closely with the Government so that the works can be started at the earliest.

Farmer Bhuban Jani Stops Migrating

Bhuban Jani of Chalanmunda village in Odisha  used to migrate every year to far off places in search of work and income to supplement the meagre earnings from his land. Tulasi, his wife was always upset as managing the household single handed was a big challenge.

In 2016, Bhuban developed a mixed fruit orchard over one acre of his land under Agragamee’s Eco-village development project. A farm pond and lift point assured year long irrigation. The production on his land jumped from Rs.1200 to Rs. 30000.00 a year, and things began to change. Their children began to go to school regularly, he stopped his annual journeys to Andhra construction sites, and began to plan for repair of his dilapidated hut.

The smile on Tulasi’s face sums it all up as she says, Now our children do not have to sleep  hungry and my hearth is never cold!!

Meet Tulasi and Read about the Eco-village project here

Agragamee School Students’ Report

   This brief report by Jayanti is part of Agragamee School Annual Report 2017-18. The Annual Report of Agragamee School is written entirely by the students. It is published independently, and also constitutes the education chapter of Agragamee Annual Report. We are proud to have fostered such creative writing in these first generation school children.

This report by Jayanti is expressive and self-explanatory, bringing out all the joy and excitement of the event. Jayanti is amongst the 22 students who passed out of Agragamee School in 2018. She now studies in Class VIII in the Government High School in Kashipur. She and her 4 friends were the most regular of students. “We loved to come because we had so much fun in class. I loved to sing and act. One year I was the king, next year I was a freedom fighter. Our teachers were like our friends, and used to even play games with us. Now, we are scared to talk to our teachers” she says musing about those days. “The best part of the school was the library. We enjoyed reading the books, and then we also wanted to write. Our teachers encouraged us, and never scolded us for our mistakes”. Jayanti’s elder sister is married and has 2 children. If it had not been for Agragamee School, I would also have been married by now” she says with a smile. “Initially my mother did not want me to go to school. But later on, she supported me a lot. Even when my father said I should watch over the crops, my mother would say ‘No she has to go to school’!”

Read About Agragamee School
Read the Students’ Annual Report

Agragamee is a not for profit organization working with the poorest communities in Odisha in India for a world without hunger and injustice. Its work in ten most backward districts of Odisha for education, economic development, and wellbeing of tribal and other poor communities depends on donations from philanthropic organisations and individuals. We invite you to support our work, and help the poor live with dignity.

 

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