Children of at least 40 families living in the village battled malnutrition and stunted growth.
ANGUL (ODISHA): Until a year ago, Satyagaon, a hamlet under the Ranja revenue village in Pallahara block of Odisha’s Angul district, was not that fortunate to receive its entitlements under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme as it lacked an Anganwadi centre because of its inaccessibility by road. Children of at least 40 families living in the village battled malnutrition and stunted growth.
However, things have changed now. Around 19 children of Satyagaon aged between 3 and 6 years are not only getting nourishing hot cooked meals (HCMs), but also availing other ICDS entitlements. It has been made possible thanks to Ranjani Munda, a 20-year-old woman and mother of a one-year-old child, who under Odisha’s Mission Shakti initiative took the lead in providing HCMs to children.
“Our children should receive their dose of nutritious food every day. This has been possible now because of the involvement of local women,” says Rajani.
Not only Satyagaon, children of several other inaccessible hamlets in the coal-bearing district are now getting the ICDS benefits.
Till today, more than 100 self-help groups in Angul district of Odisha are providing hot cooked meals (HCMs) under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) of ICDS.
It all started in 2019 when the local people, inspired by the district collector Manoj Kumar Mohanty, launched a movement under the banner of Angul Pusti Adhikar Abhiyan (APAA) or Angul Nutrition Rights Campaign to reach out children in far-flung areas, especially in tribal pockets like Pallahara.
Bali Munda, mother of four-year-old male child Sibu Munda, is quite happy with this arrangement that has been made possible because of APAA’s intervention and the district collector’s interest in this arrangement till a mini Anganwadi Centre comes up in the area.
“Sibu really likes eggs and I am very happy that he can now eat an egg for five days a week in the village itself,” said Bali.
Prior to launching of the APAA, the women would feed their children traditional food, mostly collected from local forests and small-time agricultural activities, to their children.