cases of institutional deliveries and birth registrations
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.