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Jyotsna Mohanta’s journey from DISHA training to launching a mini Aanganwadi

Tata Steel Foundation’s initiative to empower women

Sukinda: Jyotsna Mohanta, a resident of Kharkhari village in Maruabil Panchayat under Sukinda block, was invited to join Tata Steel Foundation’s Disha Training program during a self-help group (SHG) meeting in 2022. Feeling restricted to household duties, she sought to make a difference.

Observing the challenge faced by children of her village in traveling to the Anganwadi center in Ragda village, located 4 km away, she identified the need for a solution. The timing of transporting children to and from the center clashed with families’ primary livelihood activities, resulting in low attendance at the Ragda Anganwadi.

Jyotsna and her SHG members learned that Mission Shakti SHGs were responsible for mid-day meal services and decided to establish a mini Anganwadi in Kharkhari village. After expressing their interest to the Panchayat’s bookkeeper and engaging with local leadership, Jyotsna’s SHG, Maa Bhabani SHG, was entrusted with this initiative.

The mini Anganwadi now caters to children aged 0 to 5, providing essential rations and meals tailored to their nutritional needs. Currently, four children aged 0 to 3 and five children aged 3 to 5 benefit from the services offered. Jyotsna shared her motivation behind the project, stating, “When I see the children in my mini Anganwadi learning to write letters and alphabets on their slates with chalk, I feel a sense of accomplishment. My goal is to ensure that every child, whether one or many, receives the government benefits they are entitled to. No child should be left behind.”

While the initiative is still in its early stages, Jyotsna’s and her SHG’s dedication is praiseworthy. The establishment of the mini Anganwadi exemplifies a proactive approach to addressing local challenges and underscores the positive impact of grassroots efforts on communities.

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