I would like to term this visit to the tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh as an eye opener of sorts and bringing me face to face with realities of life in rural India. Though would not negate that it left me disturbed and depressed but has also helped me value life much more.
The people of Mawasi tribes in Kiray Pokhri and Brah Mawana villages are basically agricultural farmers who have been shunted out of their lands by the forest department on account of Forest Land Encroachment. Forced to work as laborers these people have no permanent means of living. Children are the worst affected as they are the last in priority list of the complete family. there are several cases of acute malnourishment and the area requires some immediate relief support for basic survival.
CRY has been able to mobilise the community to file an RTI on the issue of malnourishment to get government data has done a lot of advocacy in the media as well to highlight the issue. There were around 70 children identified under grade IV for malnourishment and have been referred to the Nutritional Rehabilitaion Centre (NRC) at Satna. Malnourishment deaths have decreased significantly and last year out of total applicationsfiled for forest land, 111 families from 9 villages have got got possesion over 555 acres of land.
The interventions have been very encouraging and hold lots of promise for improvement in the livelihood situation of the tribal and dalit communities in general and children in particular.