|December 17, 2018 at 10:37 am #8359|
Some 84 anganwadis or childcare centres housed in small rooms in Salcete taluka do not have toilets pushing teachers and anganwadi workers to explore different options to answer the nature’s call.
Toilets are conspicuous by their absence at the 84 anganwadis, mostly operating in rented premises in the taluka. Of the 177 anganwadis in the 30 villages, a total of 84 anganwadis that are attended by two to six-year-old children do not have toilets.
The anganwadis have been a boon for busy working mostly migrant parents who drop their children at the childcare centres at 8.30 am and take them back at 12.30 pm.
However, the anganwadis housed in the primary schools or in panchayat buildings – like those found at Colva, Seraulim, Betalbatim and Benaulim – have the option of using the toilets in those buildings.
But the children studying in other anganwadis are forced to relieve themselves in open.
In an anganwadi located in Seraulim around 29 children are cramped in a medium-sized room with colourfully painted walls. Mid-day meal is cooked at a corner of the room, which does not have a toilet forcing the children to relieve themselves in the recently-constructed toilet of the nearby government primary school.
The teacher and the anganwadi worker bear with the situation patiently struggling to teach, cook meals, distribute rations and take children outside the room for answering the nature’s call.
Of the 177 anganwadis, 125 are housed in rented premises, and 52 are operated in rent-free premises – 43 are in government primary school premises and two in the panchayat buildings. Six anganwadis are housed in private rent-free premises and one is owned by the department of women and child development.
In the anganwadis functioning from the 125 rented premises, only 51 have toilets while 74 childcare centres do not have toilets. In 34 anganwadis that are housed in the government primary schools, 34 have toilets while nine are functioning without the basic facility. Sources in the department of women and child development clarified that all anganwadis have water and electricity connections.
In the taluka, each anganwadi caters to more than four wards of a village, while some anganwadis cater to the whole village.
The department has 175 workers for the 177 registered anganwadis.
The anganwadis are also distribution points for foodgrains doled out to pregnant and lactating mothers as well as children from the ages of six months to one year under the supplementary nutrition programme.
But the catch here is: the small rooms functioning as anganwadis do not have space to store the foodgrains, and the anganwadi located in Betalbatim, where around 12 children study, illustrates the sorry state of affairs.
“What we try to do is we contact the beneficiaries and distribute the provisions as soon as we receive them as we do not have space to store the foodgrains…,” said an anganwadi worker there.
Source/Reference: Navhind Times, “84 Salcete anganwadis operate without toilets“