Sadhana as a Resource Centre
Sadhana has been recognised by both the government and the NGO sector as a key training resource. It has conducted orientation sessions on education and child rights for governmental and non-governmental functionaries and has developed Bilingual Subject and Language Primers in two tribal dialects in addition to a handbook on child labour.
Based on the belief that no change is possible without community participation, Sadhana has promoted voluntary community level SEAs (Social Education Activist) and Edu Leaders in its project area. This novel concept evolved in response to the need for a grassroots level volunteer base against the background of the organisation's decade long field experiences. Chosen on the basis of their social commitment, knowledge of local conditions and the goodwill that they enjoy among local community, they are responsible for strengthening communities' capacities to address developmental issues relating to child rights, education, health and governance.
Neighbourhood Leaders Committees, Balamitra Sanghams, Child Rights Protection Committees, tribal women's groups, tribal youth groups, WATSAN Committees and Health Committees have also been promoted with the participation of communities. Balika Sanghas have also been promoted in Kurnool district. Capacity building exercises are being held on an ongoing basis at various levels for the members on child rights, child labour, education, migration, health and sanitation, the government's responsibility towards education and their role in addressing these issues.
Sadhana has also focused on preparing Gram Panchayats to own up the agenda of eliminating child labour and protecting children's rights. Sarpanches have been encouraged to pass resolutions pledging to free their villages of child labour.
Promoting Child Participation
Sadhana has formed school level Balala Sanghams in all schools of its project area with the objective of promoting children's participation in the school process. Members of these groups are being oriented on child rights on an ongoing basis, Identity cards have been issued to members of Balala Sanghams. Suggestion Boxes have been introduced in some schools to elicit children's feedback on school functioning. Consultations have been held with children and communities at the mandal and regional levels on child rights, quality education, child participation and the role of community in protecting child rights.
Child Friendly Centres
Sadhana has set up 2 Child Friendly Centres in Hathnoora mandal and 1 Child Friendly Centre in Manur mandal of Medak district with a view to promoting education. The Centres have been acting as nodal information centres for both children and adults from more than 20 villages. Both children and adults utilise the facilities available there each day on an average. The Centres house a wide range of physical equipment and a television in addition to news magazines and electronic and non-electronic literature. It is proposed to transform the Centres into Resource Centres on child rights, education and child participation over time.
Migrant Child Labour Intervention
Sadhana set up Mobile Bridge Schools in border villages of Bidar district, Karnataka state to enable immigrant children from the project area to maintain continuity in their education. An innovative Migrant Childcare Centre set up in Manur mandal of Medak district helped prevent children from migrating. A youth forum was formed under the banner of Lambada Balala Hakkula Vedika to exclusively address tribal child rights and tribal development.
Reaching out to girl child labour in cottonseed farms
Sadhana joined hands with UNICEF, IKEA and the district administration to launch an intensive campaign against the employment of children in cottonseed farms in four constituencies of Kurnool district. 99 villages of Aspari, Devanakonda, Adoni and Kowthalam mandals are being covered under this intervention. Focus is being placed on reaching out to child labourers aged 9-14 years with emphasis on adolescent girls. Girls' federations have been formed at the school level and the members have been given inputs in the areas of protection, health and hygiene and life skill development. Awareness generation programmes were Efforts were put in to empower women politically and economically through awareness generation.
Girl Child Education
Sadhana set up NRBCs in Yemmiganoor mandal of Kurnool district to reach out to girls who had either dropped out of or had never attended school. A survey was taken up in villages of the project area to identify the girls, at the end of which the girls were shortlisted and enrolled in the Centres. The girls underwent a 11-month academic programme, at the end of which they were shifted to local government schools. Ongoing training programmes were held for the Organisers, Teachers and Assistant Teachers placed in charge of running the Centres to build their capacities to implement the project smoothly. They were given inputs on the aims and objectives of the programme, Bridge Course methodology, pedagogy and their roles and responsibilities. Notebooks, blackboards, library books, Teaching Learning Material and play material were distributed to all children. Individual Child Profiles have been generated for each of them to track their academic performance.
Community Education-Monitoring Information Systems
Sadhana launched aCommunity Education-Monitoring Information Systems intervention in Hathnoora and Sangareddy mandals of Medak district with a view to building the capacities of communities such as Panchayat members, youth, teachers, women's groups, Mothers' Committees, ANMs and Health Workers to monitor the education system. Village level Monitoring Groups were formed with ward members, retired teachers, youth, social activists, Anganwadi Workers and active women to streamline this process.
The Monitoring Groups subsequently generated individual Child Profiles containing data on the children's family backgrounds, school-going status, enrolment details, status of their birth registration, details of the year of dropout from school (in the case of out-of-school children) and details of physical disability (if any). These Profiles were designed in collaboration with the school authorities and the Sadhana team. Once the Profiles were updated, they handed over copies of the same to the cluster SEA/local Sadhana organiser and the Gram Panchayat office.
Child Friendly Villages
Sadhana joined hands with UNICEF and the Medak district administration to implement an intervention in 3 mandals of Medak district under the banner of Samishti with a view to transforming them into child friendly villages. The project focused on 16 child development indicators under the broad categories of health, nutrition, personal hygiene, public sanitation, education, child labour and child marriage. Village level Micro Plans were drawn up to track the status of these indicators and monitor them on an ongoing basis. Girls' groups were formed in these villages and their capacities built to address the issues of girl child education and child marriage. Cultural performances were used as a means to reach out to community on these issues.
9 remedial coaching centres were set up in tribal and Kannada medium schools in Narayankhed constituency of Medak district to help children from linguistic minorities cope with language problems and enhance the quality of education in these schools. Local volunteers with command over both Telugu and the children's native tongue were placed in charge of instructing them after regular working hours.
Sadhana identified 150 schools of Manur and Narayankhed mandals to address the low levels of academic performance among children. They were assessed for their reading and writing abilities and command over the four arithmetic operations. 6 phases of assessment have taken place so far. Children below the benchmark were later given academic inputs in the local language using informal, child friendly teaching methods.
Sadhana has launched an intervention in 150 schools of Medak district to facilitate exchange in the context of best practices in the education system. A 32-member multi-stakeholder District Core Group has been formed to strengthen the intervention. School Profiles are being designed and School Plans developed for these schools.
Child Protection Committees were formed in Hathnoora mandal to focus exclusively on preventing violation of child rights. The members were drawn from all cross sections of society. They assembles on a monthly basis to identify issues of concern and address them. They also interacted regularly with the labour, revenue and police departments to highlight such incidents. An atmosphere in favour of child rights has been built in villages of the project area due to the efforts of the CPC members. They have been able to sensitise communities in villages of the project area to the link between child marriage and child labour and child rights. They have personally followed up nearly 100 dropouts to school and have been instrumental in preventing as many as 8 child marriages.
Sadhana launched a pilot intervention in Narayankhed mandal of Medak district and Nagireddypet mandal of Nizamabad district to highlight the right of every child to birth registration and promote this concept in villages of both mandals. A survey was taken up in villages of the project area to collect data on the socioeconomic and demographic profile of the villages. Details of children aged 0-14 years were collected from Anganwadi Centres and school and Gram Panchayat records. Public meetings, cultural performances, wall writings and printed material such as pamphlets and posters were employed as a platform to educate community on the importance of the Birth Certificate, publicise the Birth Registration Act and provide them with information on how and from whom they could collect the Certificate.
Sadhana put in efforts to sensitise communities in its project area, especially women, on birth registration, immunisation, infant and maternal mortality, breastfeeding, supplementary nutrition, Reproductive Health Care and HIV/AIDS through meetings, cultural campaigns and wall writings. These women have been regularly monitoring the functioning of public health institutions.
Networking and Advocacy
Networking and lobbying have been one of Sadhana's foremost strengths. Sadhana has been associated with major national and state level networks such as Campaign Against Child Labour, National Alliance for Right to Education, Andhra Pradesh Alliance for Child Rights, Network Against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in AP, Regional Development Forum and Forum Against Reality Shows in its endeavour to advocate children's rights and ensure effective implementation of the Right to Education Act at the ground level.
Linkages have been established with likeminded NGOs from Warangal and Nalgonda districts to wage a campaign against child labour. Sadhana has also been part of numerous campaigns to pressurise the government for universalisation of school education, advocating quality education and upholding children's rights. Longstanding, concerted efforts by Sadhana and these groups have resulted in the enactment of the Right to Education Act. The Director of Sadhana has also voiced a number of children's concerns at the district level in his capacity as chairperson Child Welfare Committee – Medak.
Sadhana is currently implementing projects with support from UNICEF, UNICEF-IKEA, Save the Children Fund – European Union (SCF-EU), NEG-FIRE, Aide-et-Action, Rajiv Vidya Mission and the Kurnool district administration.
Sadhana has also collaborated with Kishore Bharathi, CRY, Commonwealth Education Fund, Catholic Relief Services, OXFAM India Trust, Centre for World Solidarity, Naandi Foundation, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, Catholic Health Association of India, the DPEP, the NCLP, Room to Read (India) Trust, the Medak district administration and the Kurnool district administration to implement child rights interventions since its inception in 1994.
In addition to the above, a number of grassroots level NGOs from the Telangana region, fellow members of various NGO networks and community-based organisations such as Neighbourhood Leaders' Committees, youth and women's groups, School and Village Education Committees, Balala Sanghams, teachers' unions and Balamitra Sanghams have expressed solidarity with Sadhana in its endeavour to uphold the rights of the child.