The challenges I face while working among the marginalised communities
My name is Anita Kodgaokar and I am an Anganwadi supervisor. I start my day at 9 am every morning, reach nearby Anganwadi to review the situation about newborns and expecting mothers.
I ensure to reach out to the migrants, farm laborers and sugarcane cutting communities to talk to them about child care. I pay special attention to those children who are born malnourished and whose parents cannot afford to keep them in incubators.
I face lots of challenges working among the marginalised communities. Daily work is the priority for parents to sustain on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, they leave infants behind with their grandparents or elder siblings who cannot take care sometimes.
The food is either not given on time or it lacks adequate nutrients. Migrants also face similar issues as they move around looking for work. Their children under our observation are healthy. But once they go out for work, then these children come with malnourishment. We have to work on their health again and again till they grow.
Anganwadi has remained an integral part of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in India and Anganwadis have a major role to play in educating parents, training them, and helping the child to grow healthy. But routine work sometimes is not sufficient.
My colleagues and I, however, do not give up hope.
We maintain a list of such parents who are labour and migrants and pay special attention to their children. On average, we handle 2,600 to 2,700 children in 32 Anganwadis.
Once I was holding 13-month-old twins Sarthak and Samruddhi Hirde from Gopalpur village of Aurangabad. The twins were born with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in a marginalised family and it was a challenge for me and my team to improve their health. The children were underweight and their height was also less.
But I pursued the family on a regular basis with the help of the Anganwadi Tai Sulochana Kadam. I guided the parents on how to feed them, what to feed them and monitoring their health. Today, after 13 months the children are happy and healthy just like other children. I was so glad to hold them both.
Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti