Wisdom of Life


Rupais the second among seven daughters in her family. She hails from a village namedHarincolin inPurnea district in Bihar. With no stable family income and many mouths to feed, education was of secondary importance to her family. With her dedication, Rupacouldcomplete her education upto grade eight. However, the poor socio-economic circumstances of the family forced her into marriage.In the year 2013-14, when the vacancy for the post of a teacher arose in the Girl Child Educational Empowerment Programme through Caritas India, Rupaapplied and qualified for the same. Association with the programmehasmotivated her to continue her studies. Resultantly, despite the oppositionfrom her family and relatives, andbesides having a child, she made attempts to get enrolled in Grade IX. She put up valiantly with several systemic hurdles and disdainful attitude of the officials towards her when she sought a written permission from the DEO (District Education Officer) for her admission as the date of admission had lapsed. Finally, she received the written permissions and is continuing with her studies, whilst also serving as a teacher under the Educational Empowerment Programme. In this course, she not just struggled for her right to education, but also right to life with dignity and refused bribe that was demanded of her during the process.

Story of Rupa

LaxmipurManjhitolain Haveli Kharagpur area of Mungerdistrict in Bihar has an Anganwadicentrethatwas closed down for over a year. The Anganwadi worker (Sevika) never visited this Dalit village, as a result of which, neither the children received their pre-school orientation and nutritional diet nor were the expecting women and lactating mothers receiving the entitled rations. The matter was brought before the “Mata Samiti” but it took the animators a series of meetings to make them understand their power to get them to function.Facilitated by Caritas India, both the Mata Samitiand Pita Samiti came together to file a complaint to the concerned authorities (with copies to the legislative member of the area and the district collector)demandingthe reopening of the centreand realisation of the entitlements.An investigation was ordered into the matter by the District Magistrate wherein the two Samitis explained the issues. Strict disciplinary action was warned against theAnganwadiworker based on the people’s report, and the centre was reopened.This incident has brought a wave of confidence in the community and strengthened their trust in Caritas India for empowering them on their role as responsible citizens.

The Success of the Mata Samiti

Roslin Lakda, is a 9 year old girl and the eldest daughter of Hanman and Sunita Lakda of remote tribal village Kudabira under Sole Grampanchayat in Gurundia block of Sundargarh district. Hanman is a poor migrant labourer, having only 3 acres of agricultural land which is hilly and less productive. To manage the family needs, Hanman migrates to other districts of Odisha to work as a mason for a period of 8 months in a year. Roslin has to migrate with her family frequently to different parts of Odisha which affects her education.

In 2014, with the help of Rourkela Social Service Society, parents were educated and sensitized towards the importance of education and other development issue of the village. Roslin’s mother participated in one of these awareness camps and realized the importance of education, which can help her children lead better lives in the future. She also sensitized Roslin’s father towards the importance of education and how migrating is affecting the education of their children. Finally, the family decided not to migrate with children. Hanman decided to migrate alone for a certain period and would frequently visit the village and family. Children would stay in the village with their mother and continue their education.

Realizing the importance of education for her children, Sunita provides adequate care and support to her daughter Roslin and her son – who is in class 3rd. She motivates and guides them at home to accomplish their tasks. Sunita is also a leading member of the village committee that mobilizes other tribal parents and children on education and health.

Roslin is now regular at school and is performing well. She is doing well in academics and other curricular activities like drawing, singing, debate and craft work. She has also participated in cluster level camps organized by school departments and performed very well.

Roslin - Twinkling star of a migrant family

Ranju was standing beside the school wall watching people queue to receive their relief but her name was not in the list. At an age of 26 she had become widow with a mother of one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. She only thinks about her daughter’s future.

Her house was washed away in the flood and now the mother and child lives with her husband’s relative at Dezoo Chapori village in North Lakhimpur, Assam. She helps in house work but always worried as anytime they can ask her leave the house.

“We wanted to raise our daughter by giving her quality education but our dreams remained as dream”, exclaimed Ranju. She used to stay happily with her husband Madhav Prasad Sharma and daughter in their house close to the river but never thought that the same river will take their house one day.

“Madhav had a medical shop which was their only source of livelihood. After his death, the shop is closed and whatever income used to come has stopped,” narrated Ranju with tearful eyes.

Every one affected by flood has their own story of pain which only brings back the moments of deprivation, confusion, hurt, loss and psychological trauma.

Ranju came to know about the complaint box installed at the distribution point for grievance redressal, so she dropped her application in the box mentioning her case for support. The village committee along with Caritas India personnel reflected on the application and considering her vulnerability had decided to extend emergency relief support to her.

“I will use this money for the admission of my daughter in school and reconstruct my house” said Ranju. She further plans to reestablish her husband’s closed medical shop to become independent so she can provide good education to her daughter.

The complaint redressal mechanism of Caritas India during emergency is an effective step to invite community to submit their confusion, complains and feedback for redressal and improvement. It not only creates space for community to express their views but also brings accountability, transparency and participation.

Every day after distribution of relief materials, the village committee and Caritas India personnel sits with the community and open the complaint box to hear the issues and unanimously decide for its redressal.

I will use this money for the admission of my daughter in school and reconstruct my house

Cotton Ch Momin visited several Govt. hospitals in East Garo Hills in Meghalaya and traditional practitioners to find relief for his ailing wife from severe allergy with high fever but could not succeed. Affording private hospital and treatment outside the state was beyond his capacity.

After being hassled and failed, he decided to treat his wife by giving home-made traditional medicines prepared from herbs and extracts. The results were slow but encouraging and within few months she recovered completely.

Momin started his traditional medicine practice from there and now he can heal disease like jaundice, epilepsy, broken or fractured bones, fever and dysentery through traditional herbal medicines. Basically, a farmer by occupation, he can treat many other diseases in Gitokgre village in East Garo Hill of Meghalaya through traditional medicines.

Initially, he was known to very few people in his village as he did not want many people to have known him as a traditional practitioner. But after the leadership training of awareness programmes of Farm Northeast-II, his mindset changed.

He is now active in agriculture, farming, organising meetings, programmes and much other work. He is also a president of the farmer club and a traditional practitioner to promote medicinal practitioners in the area. He has become the main resource person in the area for sharing his knowledge in terms of traditional medicines and is encouraging and motivating other practitioners in the area.

Apart from being a traditional practitioner and a farmer he has taken a loan from fisheries department and started fishery in a small pond. Though the return is less it adds to his profit. He motivates other farmers to take up fishery and earn their livelihood through various means.

“I do not charge for the treatment but when someone gives me forcibly, I had to respect their feeling”, says Momin. Traditional healing has become one of the sources of his livelihood. He expressed his gratefulness to the FARM Northeast-II programme for changing his thinking and knowledge to boost his confidence. He is more than happy to share his knowledge with others who is willing to learn.

Traditional Healing: An extra source of Income

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