Anganwadi centers in the country were sometimes dubbed as the unacknowledged harbingers of social change in the past. A place catering and representing social healthcare to numerous people at a rather local level. The A. P Janmabhoomi project undertaken by the Andhra Pradesh Government has taken steps to bring these centers to the forefront.

The AP Janmabhoomi project is a social initiative by the Government of Andhra Pradesh along with The Special Representative for North America, which true to its name, aims to give back to its native land. The initiative mainly comprises of 3 main scheme- Digital Classrooms, Anganwadi Centers and Crematoriums.

The digitization of classrooms primarily aims to propel the quality of education in the state, through technologically advanced endeavors like smart class, visual and auditory explanation of concepts. The digitization will help in creating a more interactive and intellectually stimulating environment for the students, and also help in quicker grasping and better understanding of concepts. Not to mention, availability of internet can work wonders and increase the accessibility to studying material by manifold. Most importantly, this scheme will lead to technology-integrated learning which is more authentic and breaks away from a passive non-interactive learning environment. The construction of Crematoriums, referred to as Mahaprasthanam, is another step towards fulfilling the aim of providing basic necessities to the people living in those remote areas. Attention is given to necessities like providing a proper raised platform and a place for final rites. The NRI’S themselves seemed very enthusiastic at getting an opportunity to help better the living condition in their homelands, resulting in their donation for the schemes at a gross 30%. Apart from the 3 major schemes, the A. P. Janmabhoomi team also regularly organizes workshop and campaign that endeavor towards raising the standard of living of the common people. For instance, on 21st June 2017, the Janmabhoomi team organized Yoga campaign in various schools across district to teach students and teacher the importance and application of yoga in daily life. Moreover, the Youth Empowerment Program organized by Janmabhoomi was a three-week government-run pilot project on digital literacy in Andhra Pradesh’s Prakasam district, where selected volunteers mentored the youth in basic computer skills, ranging from using the computer to working on the MS office suite of programs, through session-based learning in a simple yet comprehensive presentation format. Besides, the program also offered training in communication and résumé writing skills.

Glancing at the events of history of Anganwadi centers conclude the fact that they have been around for quite some time. In fact, they go as far as 1975 when they were started by the Indian government as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition. The term ‘Anganwadi’ literally means “courtyard shelter”; in Indian languages. True to its name, it has continued to provide basic health care services in Indian villages. Anganwadi centre provides basic health care in Indian villages. It is a part of the Indian public health-care system. Basic health-care activities include contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation, as well as pre-school activities. However, the administration and state of Anganwadi centers have fallen prey to a lot of criticism in the recent time through allegation of inefficient management to lack of resources. The Janmabhoomi Project seeks to root out these shortcomings and restore the Anganwadi centers to its intended utility and glory.

The Andhra Pradesh Government has allocated a significant budget to Anganwadi centers, and along with the Special Representative of North America, Mr. Jayaram Komati, the possibility of construction and maintenance of Anganwadi centers have increased manifold. The donations from the NRI’s are a significant factor behind these Anganwadi centers becoming a major social care element in the area. The Anganwadi centers have been entrusted with the job of immunizing all infant and children below the age of 6, provide antenatal care for pregnant women and ensuring that they are immunized against tetanus. In addition to this they provide post-natal care to nursing mothers and lactating women. According to recent survey (Global Burden of Diseases survey), suggests that 55% of women in India are anemic, and adolescent girls form a large part of its constitution. Keeping this in mind, the Janmabhoomi project provides regular healthcare and medical check-ups for adolescent girls between the ages of 12-19.

Andhra Pradesh government is determined on providing the population of underdeveloped and remote villages the best and most efficient Anganwadi services. 30% of the overall funds for the initiative are directed towards Anganwadi centers. While a majority of the funds are used in construction of Compound walls, a significant portion is dedicated to child friendly equipment and pre- school aid. A part of the funds is spent on interior painting of animals, birds etc. to provide a

conducive environment for the children. On conversation with an Anganwadi worker, Lakshmi, from Chittoor district of A.P, we get to know about the various amenities provided by the government through the project. “I am very happy with the new buildings the government has provided.

We suffered a lot for the past 15 years due to pressure from outside forces without any authority to vacate the premises.”, said the visibly satisfied Anganwadi worker. The environment of the centers was given a lot of thought. For instance, Paintings of Alphabets have proved to help the students remember them and pasting pictures of students with good attendance on notice boards in creative ways have increased the attendance significantly. The preschool education carried out with the use of technology has proved to be beneficial for the students as well. The children show higher learning capabilities due to auditory and visual aids and repeat the rhymes and alphabets effortlessly.

The Anganwadi centers are indeed proving to be an indispensible part of the social healthcare sector in rural part of Andhra Pradesh. The Government efforts are much appreciated by the people and are clearly, bearing fruitful results.

For more information and donation, visit: http://www.apjanmabhoomi.org/

-ETEE DUBEY