Children, both boys and girls coming from diverse social backgrounds, some from very poor families, some not so poor are hurriedly making their way to participate in meetings of Children’s Clubs that have come up in their villages. The area that we are talking about, is ‘Diara’ area (low lying area by the banks of river Ganga) of Vaishali district, Bihar.
With support from Kindernothilfe (KNH), a total of eight Children’s Clubs have been formed in four villages namely Tehrasia, Chaukiya, Litiyahin and Saraepur and on an average there are around 45 children in each club, with a gender balance of boys and girls.
River Ganga which is revered and worshipped by the people of the area brings devastation and destruction in the area, flooding the area every year or so. Large swathes of farm land are swallowed by the meandering course of the river Ganga, leaving farmers landless overnight.
Children clad in their simple village attire coming from diverse caste groups and economic backgrounds, rubbing their shoulders together in these clubs, is a sight to behold. This is completely new in an area where caste differences are still very sharp, with people belonging to different castes residing in different ‘tolas’ in a village.
Intermingling among them is still limited in this largely patriarchal Society, where girls are still married off at an early age and boys also do not go for higher studies, as they assist their families in their livelihood activity.
Nine months into the project named SURYODAY (Sunrise), starting from the month of July ’21 facing disruptions initially due to floods in the area and then due to Covid 19, children coming on a common platform (Clubs) learning about ways of protecting themselves during flood and also ways of bringing about improvement in their lives is the talk of the area.