Since february, I visited several times the districts of Nellore and Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh.
Photo of maps in the school walls in Andhra Pradesh
The maps are written in telougou, language of the State
Andhra Pradesh is the second state from the bottom, in green on the indian map
Nellore District is in green, second one from the bottom. Prakasam District is in pink, next to Nellore.
A visit to the village of Verat Nagar, where Desire India and its partners have opened a night school, has highlighted several problems.
Verat Nagar is a small village of collectors. In other words, all the villagers had the same main source of income: they pick up trash, take them to the village where they are sorted in order to resell what they can to collection centers (bags, plastic or glass bottles...).
This work does not allow the villagers to obtain sufficient resources to meet their daily expenses, so they use begging in the nearby town.
Apart from the problems that can cause this type of work in terms of health, the waste being stored in the village, the village faces several issues on water and sanitation aspect. There are no toilets, water pumps, the used water are stagnating becoming a paradise for mosquitoes ...
One of the two tube wells of the village
In blue: a place to take shower, in green!!! the waste water
Another major problem is the water quality. Water is very heavily polluted with fluorine and not consumable, the villagers having no alternative, but to use it, are developping skeletal fluorosis that can in the most severe cases lead to death.
A 10 years old boy suffering from dental fluorose
An action plan has been prepared and submitted to Desire India in order to develop a program to act on various levels. It consists first to hold health camps and awareness campaigns on waste (the village is a dump), then work on the sanitary facilities (toilets facilities, a place to wash with evacuation of wastewater and fixing the water pumps) and water treatment then to develop income-generating activities that would allow self-sufficiency of the villagers.
Another theme has been central in my field survey: access to health. Indeed, most of the villages where Desire India is currently working do not have access to medical structures. In some places you need 45 minutes of transportation to reach the first clinic and.... there is no transport! The solution in case of major emergencies is to bring a vehicle, but the villagers do not have sufficient incomes to afford this kind of cost, so generally they do not see any doctor. Another problem: teenage pregnancy and child marriage. The region is marked by this problem, girls are usually married by 15 and have their first child around 16 with health problems and dangers that come with it. We are working on developing a mobile clinic that would hold health camps from village to village to promulgated cares and refer needed cases to the medical units concerned. This kind of camp will warn people about contraception and why women do not have to get pregnant to young. We are also working on an action plan to prevent child marriage. In India it is forbidden to marry before age 18 for girls and 21 for a boy. According to District Level Household Survey (2007-2008), 51.9% of the women aged from 20 to 24 were married before 18.
An other project is being developed. In the villages, there is a lack of electricity access. Most of the villagers are using kerosene system on the night. Those are harmful to health, to environment, expensive and do not give much light. A project to allow access to light to anyone has been developed based on solar energy and rural entrepreneurship.
We will visit again the villages at the end of the month to hold information meetings and target the villages where the project will be implemented.
An other action has been decided. Three years ago, Desire India has set up night school in dalit and tribes area. Unfortunately, the funds are lacking, InMaLanka therefore decided to re-evaluate the program and search for more funds that will enable those 12 schools serving nearly 400 children every day to continue to exist. Schools allow in one hand to give some tution to children attending school in overcrowded classrooms, in other hand to teach basic schooling for children who are not going to school, a small snack is also distributed to each child.
Here, we really urgently need your help! If you wish to donate, it is the moment!