Sihri-Singalheri Panchayat, Punhana block in the Nuh district of Haryana, had two village chaupals, one each in Sihri and Singalheri villages. Both were in a dilapidated condition so that local people were not able to utilize them. As a result, the local community had trouble organizing meetings and training to discuss matters pertaining to village development. They were forced to hold community gatherings at their homes, which meant low participation from women because they felt uncomfortable attending meetings in other people’s homes.
A CSR project implemented by S M Sehgal Foundation was initiated in May 2022. One of the activities of this project was to set up resource centers, especially for women and children in Sihri and Singalheri villages. By the end of 2022, the two unused village chaupals were upgraded into resource centers, creating a stimulating environment, particularly for women and children. Currently, they are the platforms for holding monthly capacity building sessions for women on good nutrition and sanitation practices. In addition to this, some of the activities under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) are also carried out from these centers from time to time. For example, from January to March 2023, about 100 immunizations were conducted for pregnant women and children in the resource center of Singalheri village.
Also as a part of project, a Village Development Committee (VDC) in both Sihri and Singalheri was formed, involving active community members, so they can monitor the project activities and take ownership of village development initiatives from now on. Regular capacity building sessions of these VDC groups on a range of subjects pertaining to various dimensions of village development, provisions of various government programs, and how to maintain the sustainability of the project outcomes, among others, are organized in these upgraded resource centers. As a result, the community is benefiting substantially from government programs. The resource centers are also used to complete documentation for claiming benefits under government schemes like pension yojana, apki beti humari beti, and others.
Thus, these centers have brought the community closer together to engage in matters that benefit them as a whole.
(Story by Ajeet Kumar, field assistant and Barsha Das, assistant program lead)