REFLECT: A model for progress
Kamalawati Raidas, 33 lives in Mayadevi Rural Municipality, Fulika, Barsauli village with her husband and four children- 3 sons and 1 daughter. Kamalawati and her husband, Krishna Raidas work as a daily wage laborer. They make barely enough to survive and support their children. While the parents would work all day, the eldest son and daughter had to drop out of school to take care of the younger siblings and help their parents with domestic chores. The situation of the entire village was similar to all children in the area had either never been enrolled or had dropped out. The village marred by poverty, the adults would go to work while children would be left behind to take care of their younger siblings. Lack of awareness amongst parents regarding their children’s education also posed as another problem. IM in partnership with SSDC started working in Barsauli village to ensure children from such marginalized communities had access to education.
SSDC conducted REFLECT classes to sensitize women about their Economic, Social and Cultural rights and duties. They were unaware of basic services and facilities provided by the government for its citizens such as free education in government schools, scholarship for children from marginalized communities, free medicine at the health posts etc. After attending RELFECT classes, Kamalawati became interested in re-enrolling her children to school. First, she enrolled them in Bridging Class where they learned lessons missed during their drop out period. After three months of bridging classes, she reenrolled her children to school. She also admitted her third child to school for the first time and will soon be enrolling her youngest one as well.
Even though the local government provides benefits to poor Dalit families in Fulika, most of them don’t seek out this support due to lack of knowledge and understanding. During REFLECT classes, SSDC makes the community members aware of it as well as provides support to help them access such services. With this support, Kamalawati’s REFLECT group was able to receive Rs. 26,000 from the local government which they have utilized to purchase school materials such as uniform and bags for their children. In addition, they were also able to receive Rs.50,000 from ward office as a revolving fund for income generation. This is complemented by revolving funds from IM’s project to support vulnerable families to uplift them from extreme poverty.