Children of Dhuliyan
Integrated Child Rights Project  
 
Rural Development through Panchayats 
 
Gender Hygiene Programme 
 
Cluster Development of Silk Weavers 
 
Preservation of Folk Heritage  
Consultancy  
Integrated Child Rights Project (2005 onwards)

This programme is operational in the Dhuliyan Municipality of Murshidabad district, West Bengal. The programme is focussed on the four basic rights of the children namely Survival, Development, Protection and Participation within the context of the bidi-rolling– the predominant livelihood in the area – with reduction in child labour being the ultimate objective.

Marfat’s core working area in Dhuliyan is 3 wards (Nos. 2, 4 and 11, population 20,000+) where it runs Child Support Centres that offer support to the children (and their mothers) on education, nutrition, health and labour related issues. From the baseline figure (4 years ago) of 15% we have been able to increase the institutional delivery figure to 63%. Local mid-wives (dais) have been trained in various aspects of safe-delivery. Birth-certificates have been delivered to over 300 children (older than 1yr.) All 618 children born during Jan-Nov 2009 in these 3 wards have registered their birth. Marfat is also maintaining a Mother and Child Cohort Register – through which it has been keeping track of over 600 mothers in these 3 wards and counselling them on various aspects of ante and post natal and infant care. Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) and maternity benefits available under bidi workers’ scheme (BFFW) entitlements have been ensured to over 250 mothers. Marfat also linked up with the municipal and local health authorities in order to regularize the routine immunisation programmes. Over 1000 children have received full immunisation doses in the last 4 years.     

The Child Support Centres run by Marfat have provided extra-school educational support – necessary to prevent school drop-outs - to over 2000 (from 2004) children studying in classes I - VIII. All these children have passed their respective school examinations and have enrolled in the next class. These Centres are also being used for cultural and sporting activities of children and adolescents – over 700 children and adolescents participated in these activities in 2009. These Centres, managed by local volunteers, have generated tremendous support from the community members, youth clubs and municipal councillors. These stakeholders have come forward to arrange for space, drinking water and electricity for the running of the Centres. Besides these Centres, Marfat has also been running 3 Non-Formal Education Centres – over 500 adolescent girls have received basic literacy skills and knowledge regarding health, hygiene and nutrition. 35 groups comprising over 350 adolescent boys and girls have been formed in these 3 wards. These boys and girls are involved in social mobilisation related to decreasing using of plastics, tree-planting, immunisation of children and removal of garbage from their neighbourhoods.

As an alternative to bidi-rolling and also to offer a much required service, Marfat has set-up 2 crèches, managed by local adolescent girls, on an experimental basis. The crèches, designed to cater to children of 1-3 years of age has been a success – around 60 children avail of these facilities each year. The crèches keep the children away from the toxic tobacco gases and also provide compensatory income for the girls who manage them. Marfat has linked its endeavours with the local ICDS system – 2750 children have been enrolled in 6 ICDS Centres in the last 4 years.  Adolescent Girls’ Groups have been motivated to provide assistance in running of the ICDS Centres. The girls groups have made toys, posters and educational materials for use in ICDS centres. Marfat has also been responsible for motivating over 50 families to develop and nurture vegetable gardens in their backyards. These kitchen gardens provide supplementary nutrition at very little cost and also generate a bit of extra income for their owners.

Marfat has established bank-linkage of around 100 Women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) of Dhuliyan Municipality. The SHGs have started intra-group lending as a counter measure against exorbitant rates charged by local usurers. The SHGs are also being motivated to monitor immunisation, safe delivery (hospital/trained dai) and some other aspects of maternal and child health. The SHGs are also lobbying for better municipal services and issues related to bidi-labour rights and entitlements through community-councillor and labour union-owner interactions organised and facilitated by Marfat.