Bundelkhand SHIKSHA ABHIYAN

CADAM implemented a project titled, “Improving access of Dalit children to primary education in Bundelkhand through advocacy and empowerment by regional Dalit rights platform” in eight districts of Bundelkhand region in UP and MP. The Right to Education project of CADAM had been to implement in the Bundelkhand region of India, which is one of the most backward regions. The ratio of poverty, untouchability and discrimination, and the percentage of the Dalit population is high here. Education scenario remains bleak for Dalits. Dalit community is socially, economically and politically weak in the region.

The project had been about improving access of Dalit children to elementary education under the leadership of Dalit-led CBOs in 200 intensive and 300 extensive villages of 5 districts namely, Banda, Chitrakoot, Hamirpur, Jhansi, Jalaun in UP and 3 districts namely Chhattarpur, Panna, Sagar in MP. The project aimed at reducing discrimination in school and improvement in school infrastructure by mobilising government and community. The overall aim of the project was to make government primary and upper primary school functional in favour of children especially Dalits and Adivasis.

The Year 2012-2013 witnessed a successive move in the interest of Dalit-Adivasi children as the pace of education entitlements had been comparatively increased. Capacities of NACDAOR Dalit Village Education Committees (NVDECs) representatives enhanced and they started monitoring the progress and functioning of schools. The project equipped 2025 men and 1107 women office bearers of 200 NVDECs with the provisions of RTE Act, 2009, provisions of Mid-Day Meal, Functions of School Management Committee and provisions/norms of education entitlements. The duty bearers started acting on the requests/complaints of the NVDECs on priority basis due to enhanced capacities and knowledge level of NVDECs on priority basis due to enhanced capacities and knowledge level of NVDECs in the area. 99 public actions with 2326 men and 2153 women participants were undertaken under the leadership of NVDECs for improving the functioning of 393 schools in 2012-2013. Representatives of 92 NVDECs became members and leaders in their respective School Management Committees (SMCs). This ultimately helped in improving access of 13591 boys and 13684 girls to quality and better education in 393 elementary schools.

NVDECs representatives provided people with information about norms and provisions of different government schemes/programmes during awareness meetings. As a result, 652 persons benefitted from MNREGA, 48 women received widow pension, 332 persons received an old-age pension, 298 received housing and 10 persons received a disability pension. 15 PDS shops improved and are benefitting 750 families. 71 ICDS centres improved due to tracking of centre and it benefited 380 children.

Regional Dalits Rights Forum (RDRF) emerged as a vibrant and functional advocating body for protection and safeguarding of Dalit Human rights in the region and it started occupying public space/forum. The steady leadership of CADAM had been encouraging the representatives of RDRF towards increasing its membership base. 1169 men and 611 women joined RDRF and associated with Dalit movements. The project supported in bringing clarity among them about purpose and objectives of RDRF, roles and responsibility, visioning of RDRF and knowledge base of leaders to 205 men and 29 women office bearers during different levels of Rashtriya Dalit Mahasabha meetings.

Mahila Shiksha Adhikar Yatra took place for the first time in Bundelkhand under the leadership of RDRF. It was a 10-day long march which commenced on 17 November 2012 at Orai. The Yatra reached among more than 35000 community members with approx 17000 women and 500 adolescent groups in 20 villages of UP and 20 villages of MP in Bundelkhand region. It culminated on 26 November 2012, at Moth in Jhansi.