PALMYRA WORKERS GAIN A VOICE

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250
villages became part of a Palmyra workers’ movement
47,000
workers organised
Strengthened the Palmyra Federation and registered it under the Trade Union Act
what changed
In drought-prone Ramanadapuram district, Tamil Nadu, thousands of Palmyra workers and their families borrow from moneylenders. They use the money to lease palm fields to tap toddy – their only source of income, and hence, survival. A governmental ban on toddy in the state forced the workers to diversify into products with little commercial value. To make matters worse, the government ordered the closure of the Palmyra workers cooperative societies, which were a part of the Palmyra Workers Federation.
The ban directly affected the lives of the children of Palmyra workers, who were forced to assist their parents in candy making, often migrating from one place to another in search of work along with their parents.
Association for Integrated Rural Development (AIRD) focused on demanding a lift of the ban on toddy-tapping as well as establishing a Palmyra Workers trade union. The demand for the recognition of workers under the welfare board will enable them to attain an employment guarantee, food security and social security, which in turn provides education to their children.
47000 workers from 250 villages came together to demand their right to a livelihood.
AIRD networked with like-minded partners, including CRY, to build a Palmyra workers’ movement in 150 villages. Today, the Palmyra Workers Union is currently fighting for the lift of the ban on toddy-tapping and aims to revive the Palmyra Workers Cooperative Societies and Palmyra Workers Board.
With your support these workers and their families will have access to social security and other livelihood benefits.
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87,000
children impacted
100%
students continue studying after Class V
100%
free-of-cost immunisation to children
what changed
In Bolangir district of western Orissa, CRY-supported project ADHAR works to address issues of malnutrition, child labour, school dropouts, displacement and landlessness in these communities.
ADHAR’s interventions in 49 villages in the district has seen visible impact with more children going to school and staying there, more pregnant women and mothers receiving quality healthcare and more families having access to land and better opportunities for livelihoods.
Today, Shyam has finished his Std. VIII exams and looks forward to continuing higher education
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739
children immunised
738
children enrolled in school
14
children’s groups formed
what changed
The 15 Vyasarpadi slums in North Chennai are the oldest in the city. Most of the habitants are Dalits. The slums are located in a low-lying area of the city and lack proper housing, electricity, safe water, sanitation and drainage. The environment of the slums is not conducive for the development of a child. Health facilities are poor. Pregnant women and children do not receive proper immunisation and nutrition. To make matters worse, many of the children are forced to work as domestic help, in garment shops, steel workshops, ice breaking units and fishing boats.
CRY supported project Slum Children Sports Talents Education Development Society (SCSTEDS) in Chennai works with the issues of marginalized slum children and their parents and seeks to bring the community together by using sports and games promoting social and collective responsibility. Community mobilisation has ensured that all rights of the child are fulfilled.
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A JOURNEY TO CREATE A BIG DREAM

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146
children with their families
143
Child Protection Committees have been established
1732
children have been enrolled in schools
what changed
The Asansol railway station in West Bengal, like many other railway stations in the country, is shelter to a lot of homeless children. CRY supported project The Coalition for Child’s Right to Protection (CCRP) works towards reunifying lost, abandoned, runaway and otherwise separated children with their families to prevent avoidable institutionalisation.
CCRP therefore works within government homes to ensure quality care and support for children unable to go back to their families on one hand. On the other, it works closely with the community to explore alternatives to institutionalisation like foster care. Towards this aim, CCRP and CRY have two initiatives called Muktangan and Muktadhara.
The Muktangan centers not only provide children with food, shelter, clothing and medical care but also give them access to basic education, life skills development and a chance to attend formal schools. Muktadhara is a new initiative where all children those who are interested in education are identified and provided with formal education through non formal system of learning and psychosocial support.
CRY has worked closely with CCRP to develop a holistic and comprehensive strategy for long term implications instead of just focussing on immediate resolution to ensure children’s right to survival, development, protection and participation.
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WINDS OF CHANGE

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2
new ICDS centres opened
389
children immunized
7,926
children enrolled in school
what changed
In the Thirunelveli region, land holding and right over other common resources has been an issue of caste conflict. Dalits have separate settlements in the villages. They are not allowed to worship in the village temples, cannot walk through upper caste habitats or use public water sources. Dalit students are discriminated against in schools. Dalits are also not allowed to display their art and culture openly in the villages.
Dalit labourers are paid even less than the minimum wages, under a particular system called Padiyal. Women face harassment at the hands of their supervisors. Child marriages are rampant. Female children are not sent to school and are engaged in labour.
CRY Supported project Human Rights Education and Protection Council (KALAM), aims at fighting oppression of Dalits by mobilising and providing a platform to marginalised communities to fight social, political and economic discrimination. It is engaged in providing legal training to community-based cadres and legal aid to victims of caste violence and discrimination.
Thanks to KALAM’s efforts, the scavenger community has completely stopped menial work in at least in 10 villages and all children from the community are going to school.
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11
new ICDS centres
opened
92%
immunization rate in 0-5 year olds
284
cases of institutional deliveries and birth registrations
what changed
The Santhal villages of Motitarhi, Kenduatarhi and Doodhpaniya in Bihar have little or no access to development, be it social or economic. Despite this, all the children in these three villages are enrolled in Integrated Child Development Scheme or ICDS centres. When Disha Vihar had begun working in Bihar, several anganwadis did not have their own buildings and were functioning from rented spaces. The parents of the children and the community lacked the knowledge on preventive measures. Discrimination on the basis of gender was also rampant. So were the existence of several superstitious beliefs regarding pregnancy, birth and healthcare practices for children. Diligent efforts and continuous advocacy by the organisation and CRY have resulted in making inroads into the community, changing their beliefs and spreading awareness about the importance of care during pregnancy and childbirth for the mother, and the initial years in the child’s life. Today, new ICDS centres have been sanctioned in the state and the villages of Haveli Kharagpur are definitely benefitting from it. Needless to say, however, the pace is extremely slow, and poses the question as to whether all the children will ever be covered by the Integrated Child Development Scheme. Thankfully, though the challenges are many, the efforts continue to be indomitable.
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