|ABITA-UNICEF helping out tea garden children|
TEZPUR, Oct 9 - At a time when the tea garden community has been engulfed by numerous problems including health and hygiene, education, electrification, drinking water, malnutrition, sanitation, human trafficking, witch-hunting, and prevalence of country liquor, a joint venture welfare programme by the Assam Branch Indian Tea Association (ABITA) and UNICEF conducted in 33 tea gardens has been able to help out children of the tea garden community.
The project launched in Harchurah, Phulbari, Rupajuli, Tarajulie, Tezpore and Gogra, Ghoirallie, Nahoroni, Sessa, Addabarie and Arun tea estates in Sonitpur; Bargang, Behali, Boroi, Dufflaghur, Halem, Mijicajan, Monabarie, New Gogra, Pertabghur, Brhmajan and Dekorai tea estates in Biswanath; and Corramore, Dimakusi, Nonaipara, Orengajuli, Attreekhat, Borengajuli, Budlapara, Hattigor, Lamabari, Majuli, Panery and Bhutiachang tea estates in Udalguri district in 2018, targeted the realisation of rights of children, adolescents and women, to survival, development, participation and protection by reducing inequities and inequalities based on gender, region and ethnicity with strengthened delivery mechanisms in alignment with Sustainable Development Goals.
Speaking about the programme, ABITA Zone 3 secretary Mrinmoy Baruah said that regarding health issues, women, newborn, children and adolescents in the tea gardens now have access to quality health care services through facility and community-based platforms.
Tea garden managements in convergence with the government, deliver quality health services at the community, outreach and facility levels to all women, newborn, children and adolescents in tea gardens.
He said that in case of education, children have access to grade appropriate pre-primary education for ‘school readiness’ and quality education for improved learning outcomes in elementary education.
Under the programme, as part of child protection agenda, adolescent boys and girls are being able to acquire the knowledge, skills and peer group support to take action to protect themselves from violence, exploitation and child marriage and to make their community safer.
Baruah said that besides increasing awareness, ensuring participation and accountability of businesses through capacity enhancement, towards the well-being of children and adolescents, dialogues towards improving the lives of children, psychologically beneficial programme like adolescent girls’ club meetings, meeting of Child Protection Committee, sports workshop, exposure visit, folklore training, cooking demonstration, kitchen garden training, are being held.
Folklore performances on rights and entitlements and issues such as health, nutrition, education and sanitation have helped create awareness. Cooking demonstration has created awareness among adolescent girls and mothers on nutritious food, cooking in a hygienic way and eating locally available food with more iron intake, Baruah said.