Sans building, the show goes on

Sans building, the show goes on

Little kids in the makeshift anganwadi centre at Jeppu Kudupady in Mangalore City.

No, the house does not run a kindergarten. For the last one and half years, the car park of this house has been the anganwadi for the children of the vicinity. Well, while the government is still blind to the problems faced by the anganwadi, the owners of Rajani Vihar had been kind enough to convert the shed into an anganwadi so that the children have a roof over their heads.

Rajeshwari, the anganwadi teacher said that during the rainy season, about one and half year ago, the Sudarshan Sports Club building, where the anganwadi was running for over 14 years collapsed. There was no place to go and it was then that she continued the centre near the debris of the collapsed building.

Seeing this, a family in the neighbourhood permitted her to conduct the classes in their compound wall so that the children do not run out on the street while playing. However, the family could not provide any shelter due to space constraints.

Seeing the hardships faced by the anganwadi teacher and helper, the owner of Rajani Vihar (who does not wish to be identified) offered timely help. The unused car park was cleared up to have the anganwadi. Since then, the children come happily to their anganwadi and learn the first lessons of life.

“We do have problems here but the family has offered us this place with lot of affection and they have gone out of their way to accommodate us. We cannot demand any more help from them,” says Rajeshwari.

The walls of the car park has charts of animals, birds, numeric, alphabets etc hung neatly. The benches donated by a local construction company are full. The floor of the anganwadi is neatly swept with cow dung. The tiny footwear of the children arranged in a line narrate the degree of discipline taught to the children. Despite this anganwadi having over 50 children per year, the authorities have not felt like giving the centre what it deserves.

The situation gets worse during the rainy season when the rainwater splashes into the shed. Though they have put up a tarpaulin sheet to ward off the water, the teacher narrates how a non-venomous snake hid itself in the corner of the sheet recently, unleashing terror in the classroom among the children.

The pleas

The teacher has not left any stone unturned to get a land allotted for the building. Recently, former deputy commissioner Subodh Yadav had visited the anganwadi and assured to do the needful but nothing materialised as he was transferred. However, the teacher said that from some quarters, she learnt that the authorities have sanctioned a 3 cent land at Bappal. This land, she says is located over a drainage line, which will, in the long run cause severe health problems to the children.

The local residents say that the anganwadi must be given a small piece of land in Damarkere area.

“We see many people encroaching Damarkere land and the Mangalore City Corporation is blind to this. If the corporation cannot evict the encroachers, there is no problem. Let them give a small land for a noble purpose,” says a local resident. In anticipation of justice, the show goes on in a car park.

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