Like all NGO's we too face a lot of grass root problems daily in dealing with the marginalized sector of society. There are various causes like illiteracy, a particular and rigid mind set as well as fear for adapting to changes.
Medication also has to be explained at length in person so that they can understand the need and feel satisfied. It also helps them to come out of the myths that have surrounded them since their childhood....
There is much hard work and many challenges in Indian Education: isolation, poor or inadequate facilities, eager but academically deprived students, but one's ingenuity, creativity, patience and forbearance are put to a real test in facing these and other challenges. Convincing the rural citizens for their education is difficult as well as important to make them feel the need of education to move a step ahead in their present lives. To approach people, we have to get to a few of the smarter and more approachable people first and then it works our way which is very time consuming and challenging too.
Financial stability and awareness of the opportunities provided via a good education are big factor in ensuring continued education in these families.
We use simple practices like motivation and lot of talk to help these people to develop a sense of trust in us. There have been times when we have faced difficulties in approaching these people and getting them to understand the need for education as well as improved medical practices. But we gradually break through and are able to convince them up to a certain extent.
It was the year 1997 when AWT was awarded the pilot project by USAID with the technical support of SIFPSA.
The Muslim community all does not allow adopting sterilization and family planning system, this applies for the very poor and illiterate sector of the community. The reason for this was religious values. Hence, it turned out to be a huge challenge for AWT to reach out to these families. We struggled for almost 18 months in order to achieve the desired target of 1 lakh people and but could not make through easily as we were left with limited time.
Then we, AWT, changed the strategy and convinced influential political and religious leaders of the cities. The Imam of the Masjid cooperated with us and started making announcements after every Friday Namaaz. Due to which we got a patient listening from the community, which in turn resulted in a tremendous response and our target was achieved.
During evaluation by an external agency 1 HMR of Jaipur and ORG (Mark) we stood first in various components and AWT obtained 97% marks.
This program was extended again for two years and also expanded.
This program was based on Nutrition for Urban and Rural areas, the project was aimed to cover Bilhaur town and adjoining areas which included 10 to 15 villages. With the help of the Anganwadi and health workers we started working with the manpower of one project manager and two supervisors and a single project doctor.
During the implementation of this project we did not get any help from the government. On the contrary, they opposed us and tried to create a communal rift saying that AWT as a Muslim NGO. Our staff was motivated to be extremely patient and to adopt the strategy of giving rather than reacting. Mrs. Neena Shukla was then the State Head of Health Department came forward and supported us. She held a meeting with the local officials including Police Personnel, Gram Panchayat heads and the Pradhan. Gradually, people started understanding our motive and co-operated with us till the end of this project. Our journey includes lot of challenges and success through our determination to make a difference. The story has not end, we are ready to attain the goals through our best we can do for the society.
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