Buoyed by good enrolment, Jawadhu Hills anganwadis seek own buildings

The pandemic related lockdown which resulted in loss of jobs and shortage of money has resulted in increased admissions to anganwadis (creches) in Jawadhu Hills in Tiruvannamalai district, official sources said.
A colourfully painted anganwadi at Kovilur panchayat at Jawadhu Hills in Tiruvannamalai district
A colourfully painted anganwadi at Kovilur panchayat at Jawadhu Hills in Tiruvannamalai district

TIRUVANNAMALAI: Operated by ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme) anganwadis cater to preschool children. Lack of cash resulted in tribal families being forced to admit their children in the anganwadis in the hills. “Many were surprised when they realised that anganwadis provided services on par with any private creche in the plains. Also, while creches charged hefty fees, anganwadis were free,” said an official working in the hills on condition of anonymity.

A look at the anganwadi at Kovilur panchayat revealed colourful play items, chairs and all requirements while the outside wall had a bus painted on it with the class door also being the bus door. “This really attracted the children who felt they were entering a real bus,” the official added.

The result was that anganwadis which boasted of such colourful infrastructure started seeing increased attendance, the official added. “Many anganwadis function from rented premises where they cannot paint walls as in a government owned facility and hence we will be happy if the district administration provides own buildings for such anganwadis, said teacher Sevanthi of Vedakollaimedu anganwadi in Konamalai panchayat.

Reiterating this, teacher Kavitha of Kumbalur anganwadi in Nimmiampattu panchayat added, “increased attendance will ensure that kids develop the habit of coming to school regularly. It will also help them stay in school without dropping out later.”

Collector B Murugesh said 119 anganwadis were functioning in the 11 village panchayats in the Jamunamarudur block of Jawadhu hills. Officials said, “It was planned to construct buildings for 5 anganwadis at a total cost of around Rs 1 crore this year, but actually 45 anganwadis in the hills need own buildings.”

If this need can be realised then “keeping tribal kids in school without allowing them to go back to work will become a reality,” said teacher Vimala attached to the anganwadi in Vilankuppam in Veerappanur panchayat.

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