Some of the students at the Government Middle school, Nawargawan, a tribal village 30 km from Jabalpur, had “never worn shoes. Their families are so poor they can’t afford to buy these children new clothes. They wear their uniform on special occasions. If it tears or is worn out, they run a patch and continue to wear it,” says Girish Chandra Mourya, the School Principal. Last year when RC Jabalpur, D 3261, visited the village, the Rotarians were saddened to see the children wearing torn uniforms, sitting on chipped and cracked floors, and without any learning material. “But they still came to school,” said Rachna Trivedi, the Club President. This school caters to students from three tribal villages.
In order to improve the lives of these students and enhance the learning outcomes the club decided to transform the school into a Happy School. The members worked on setting up well-furnished classrooms, improving toilet blocks, installing a handwash station and an RO plant. The walls of the school were painted with Rotary themes such as TEACH and WinS. “One of the classrooms was used as a storage room for wooden logs and was in bad shape. We transformed it into a library,” said Rachna. The project cost was
On receiving new shoes from the club, little Badrinath of Class 3, asked his Principal ‘iska kya karna hai (what should I do with this)?’ “I could only smile at his innocence because he had never seen a pair of socks in his life. I sat down and made him wear the socks and he smiled. I am never going to forget that smile. We cannot thank Rotary enough for improving the lives of these small children.”
In association with the Director of Indian Information Services, Field Outreach Bureau, and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, a medical camp was organised for the three tribal villages in the area. Hosted at Nawargawan village the camp screened 800 people from two other villages — Dungargawan and Kulmuhi. “Since we had already worked on the Happy School, the sarpanch of Nawargawan offered to cook and serve meals for the villagers visiting the camp,” said Rachna. The camp was inaugurated by Justice Sanjay Dwivedi. Patients were treated for problems related to dental, general medicine, cardiology, gastroenterology, oncology, ortho, gynaecology and ophthalmology.
With the help of the local anganwadi workers the club created awareness on menstrual hygiene. They also taught the village women how to make cloth pads and spoke about best practices to avoid urinary tract infections. A Nukkad Natak staged by an NGO Rachna Sanstha explained the importance of maintaining cleanliness in and around the house and personal hygiene. Anandam, a special exhibition, was organised where Rotarians displayed clothes, accessories and utensils in counters for the villagers to choose what they required.