NIDS had formally started in the year 2014 with a small group of volunteers. Keeping in mind the concept of sustainable development we initiated and experimented a few awareness programmes on various subjects like save the environment, child labour, child safety, early marriage, child trafficking etc.
We are implementing the “School Reinforcement and Holistic Development of Children Programme” with the help of National and International level organisations in Sunderbans island of South 24 Parganas. In August 2016 we extended this programme to the rural areas of Murshidabad. In the same year we initiated a music school in Sunderbans which is the first of its kind in that area.
We seek to break the vicious cycle of poverty, malnutrition, ill-health, illiteracy affecting in particular the children from rural background. Our initial focus on education has grown further in the areas of health and nutrition. We adopt a human rights-based approach in strengthening local governance actors, such as rural Panchayat Institutions and service providers, such a health personnel and teachers, and child community representatives, to use available resources and identify local solutions.
NIDS is running 16 educational centres for the rural poor and underprivileged children in Kumirmari island of Sunderbans.
The education programme adopted by NIDS is being implemented in a decentralized manner. It helps in supporting the existing educational government schools indirectly and works at par with them. The education programme run by NIDS is put into practise with the involvement of local level agencies, such as village teachers, village incharges and local villagers whose children attend the non formal educational centres. The programme envisages strengthening its own educational infrastructure through provision of additional classrooms for different classes, toilets, drinking water facilities, solar lightning facilities etc. There are total 1550 beneficiaries in the 16 educational centres of Sunderbans and 550 beneficiaries in 5 educational centres of Mjurshidabad. The teachers take classes from Monday to Saturday. NIDS’s role is to help the children avoid from becoming drop outs and assist in acquiring the requisite quality and standard of education needed. For this reason general education is provided regularly by the teachers to the students during the class hours.
Meetings are held among all the teaching staffs in order to get feedback from the teachers regarding the functioning of every school. Class attendance of the students and the teachers are monitored by the monitoring officer and the school inspector for all the ECs in order to keep a regular check on their attendance.
Most the school students in Sunderban area come to attend the classes in empty stomach and staying in empty stomach for a long period leads to various diseases. Thus to find a solution for this problem the nourishment programme was started. Under this programme biscuits are provided to all the students after their class hours every day. This had lowered down many of their health problems.
A health centre is run by NIDS in the Kumirmari island of Sunderban area. It is mainly run for the beneficiaries (students) of the education centres. They are provided regular health checkups by the doctors who visited the health centre and also free medicine is supplied from the health centre to the patients. There is one homeopathy and one allopathy doctor who visit the health centre. There are two caretakers who worked efficiently and take regular care of the health centre. Sometimes the guardians also come for treatment to the doctors as the availability of medical facilities is very poor in this island. For the people of that island our health centre acts as a pillar of trust since ages.
The most recent addition to the Sunderban project is a Music School which is unique in its way and the very first of its kind in that island. Classes are conducted on Saturdays and Sundays. Huge number of students has taken admission since the school was opened. Our music school provides a source of recreation for the students of that area which otherwise they had been lacking for a long time.
Apart from the ongoing projects there are several other awareness programmes and celebration of important days of national importance throughout the year. We have organised several awareness camps with the community members of the villages on issues like:
International water day
International women day
World health day
Child rights, child safety, disadvantages of child marriage and need for girl child education
Save our environment and good sanitation practices
Art and culture of our state
With the beneficiaries we celebrate various national days so that the rural children get to know the importance of those days. They are:
Few other events like drawing competition and annual sports day are also organised by us in our project areas. In such events it was seen that not only the beneficiaries but also their parents took an active part with them. Thus through our various events we try to bring about the overall upliftment of the rural society as a whole.