In Collaboration with other Stakeholders
Vaan Muhil collaborates with other civil society groups and networks that work on women rights, child rights, labour rights, dalit rights and human rights across Tamil Nadu. It has been part of several networks that are taking up specific rights issues at state and national level, particularly on bonded labour, child labour, forced labour, migrant labour, human trafficking and right to education.
4.1. Taking up common issues as a follow up of interface meetings with Government officials
Vaan Muhil works in coordination with other stakeholders at block and district level, including government departments, panchayat raj institutions, educational institutions and District Legal Services Authority. Interface meetings with various government officials are beening organized in villages by Vaan Muhil
Government officials are invited for the village and block level meetings by the project staff and concrete issues are discussed in the meetings. The field staff, along with concerned CRC facilitators, plan for the meetings in advance, and identify key issues in the villages and prepare the people accordingly ahead of the meetings.
Petitions are submitted to the officials concerned during the meetings and specific requests are put forth by the villagers, for instance need for separate ration shop, construction of (health) sub centre, proper link roads and better transportation facilities, construction of common toilets, removal of TASMAC shops, better drinking water facilities, improved library facility, repair of bridges, improved drainage facilities, better implementation of Government schemes, Improved waste management, OAP pension, disability assistance, and bank loans for SHGs. The officials present also explain to the people about their role and the possibilities of the demands being met by them.
A couple of demands have been met after a series of meetings with the officials as follow up of the interface meetings. For instance, link road between Chellampatty – Kurichiarpatty – Korukkampatty, which was in a very bad condition has been repaired as a result of one such interface meeting.
“As a result of the interface meeting held in our village, the floor of our Anganwadi Centre has been properly repaired. We brought this to the notice of the Government officials in the interface meeting and this was taken note of by the VAO, who made efforts to repair the floor and now it is neatly done.”
– S. Petchiammal, CSG member, Keezhapottalpatti.
4.2. Meaningful Observance of Important days
Some of the important days are meaningfully being observed by the Adolescent Girls Groups and Community Support Groups in the working villages. The Republic Day (26th January), The International Women’s Day (08th March), The May Day (01st May), Kamarajar Birth day (15th July), and which is celebrated as Education Day in Tamil Nadu, Anti Human Trafficking Day (30th July), the Independence Day (15th August), Teachers Day (05th September), Gandhi Jeyanthi (2nd October), the International Children’s Day (14th November), International Human Rights Day (10th December), are meaningfully observed, wherein community members actively participate. This kind of observance creates awareness on the themes among the village people and makes them involved in it. Most of these important days are quite relevant to the thematic focus, particularly on girl child protection, bonded labour, human trafficking and human rights.
During Pongal celebrations in the month of January, the community members in all villages are fully involved in organizing sports and games for school going children, adolescent girls and boys in their villages. They themselves collect money from the locals and distribute prizes to the children, boys and girls. Pongal celebrations are also meaningful socialization / get together among people of different communities.
4.3 Formation of Migrant workers groups
Three migrant workers groups have been formed and the project staff are in touch with the migrant workers groups in Keezhanmarainadu in Vembakkottai block and Edayankulam in Srivilliputhur block. They have collected preliminary details about their living and working conditions in their work places. The staff have listed out the required support to the migrant workers groups in the two blocks, mainly awareness creation, educational support to their children and health camps.
4.4. Participation of Community members in Grama Sabha Meetings
The active participation of community members in the Grama Sabha Meetings helps the communities to raise their voices and grievances in local governance. They raise important issues in the meetings relating to basic amenities such as drainage, repair of road, construction of public toilets, construction of small bridge / check dam, cleaning of villages and so on. They also demand the government officials for inadequate funds allotted to their villages and improper use of funds for construction of toilets. In a working village, community members brought the non-repair of roads and land patta issues to the knowledge of the District Collector when he visited the village. In another village, the community members highlighted the issue of manual scavengers and collecting garbage / distribution of dustbins to all areas in the villages.