- Lisa Susan Abraham, Intern – The Ashoka Tree
The irony lies in the name of two established institutions of Cochin and the work they intend to do. Going through the websites of Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) and Lions Club one can easily get a beautiful image of the ‘ideal city’ work in progress. But the question is, who is the target audience? The city one hopes Cochin will be in a decade or two clearly depends on the children we educate today. Omana Teacher’s Anganwadi in Kadavanthra is fairly big, in comparison to most of the others, and spacious with around 23 children in attendance. Neatly dressed, in uniforms provided by the Lions Club, this anganwadi was built by the Lions club for free on GCDA land. “I can't recall any instance where we were asked to pay any rent as such” says Omana teacher, 54 years old. Having served for over 35 years as an Anganwadi teacher, she is thankful to both the GCDA and Lions Club for those three decades. However, in the past three months, the picture hasn’t been as rosy as it used to be. Over a dispute between the two, the anganwadi is now restricted from all services that used to be provided by the Lions Club. As the anganwadi helper, Preethi, says “it's very difficult for the kids with less water during summer. I have been borrowing cans from neighbouring households for cooking etc. but how long can this go on?” No decision has been taken on the new pipeline that the water authority promised to lay down (after the Lions Club water connection was disconnected) three months ago. A broken sewage tank and pipes don’t help the situation either. While The Ashoka Tree has helped with painting and blackboards, cleaning the area surrounding the Anganwadi to create a mosquito-free environment and safe playing area for the children, “I am worried about the issues kids will have to face in future due to the dispute like the new uniform sponsors, water, electricity etc. ”says Omana teacher. She is due to retire in a couple of years, and says “this is really not the way I thought I’d see my Anganwadi tenure finish”.
If you’d like to connect with us to help fund fixing the sewage tank, sponsor uniforms or more, please get in touch with us at #9633020993 or #9446915587.
*Lisa is completing her Master's Degree in Media and Communication at Christ University, Bengaluru
The Ashoka Tree is a Registered Charitable Trust that works with the underprivileged. We work with special schools, orphanages, play schools & hospitals - spreading smiles where there are none.