Narsamma and Sunandamma, senior women leaders of Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan, received Bodhivardhana award on the occasion of Ambedkar’s Jayanthi, on April 14, 2017 in Bengaluru. This is a recognition of their relentless community leadership for over a decade and their contribution to make Madiga Dalit Womens’ voices heard.
Narasamma, 38, hails from Kotnekal village of Manvi taluka (Raichur district) and has been the strong pillar for building JMS collective. She is a leader who is applauded for her insights and frontline leadership.
Sunandamma, 37, belongs to Amareshwara Camp, Manvi Taluka (Raichur District). She is active in JMS as a community leader and sanchalaki (co-convener) of JMS for the last 10 years. She is also trained as community health worker at JMS.
This award is accepted by JMS as recognition of Dalit women’s assertion for their space and rights. Drawing strength from this acknowledgement, Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane continues its journey for social Justice.
Jagruatha Mahila Sanghatane (JMS), Navajeevana Mahila Okkoota (NJMO) and the Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali (KJC) had called for a Public dialogue in Sindanoor and Manvi Talukas in Raichur district Karnataka in July 2016.
Nearly 250 people, mostly Dalit women from 20 villages came together for a Jana samvada (Public dialogue) in Sindanoor taluka hospital to resolve long pending problems of the taluka hospital. This is one of the series of public demonstrations that they have been doing for reviving the taluka hospital to its fullest potential.
In the public dialogue issues related to basic amenities like lack of drinking and running water, filthy conditions, rampant bribe by staff including doctors were raised and discussed. Even though the District health officer and the Taluk health officer had been intimated in prior and they had agreed to participate, neither of them turned up.
Under pressure the Chief medical officer and staff of the hospital held a meeting with the Activists. CMO agreed that water and poor upkeep were problems and they will attend to it. He also said that out of the total 11 positions of doctors sanctioned only 5 are presently working.
Activists raised the issue of bribe by staff and doctors and to this CMO, said he has information about it but needs complaints on paper. Activists insisted that the Jana samvada itself was proofs that of bribe taking and he should bring it to the notice of his higher ups. To ensure that people don’t get confused between User fees charges and bribe, he said he would put up boards about cost of services.When the issue of Arogya Raksha Samiti was raised. He has agreed to put up names of Arogya raksha Samiti members. With reference to the staffing CMO responded that not many doctors get recruited even if they do, they don’t last long. This is a serious problem that even the district hospital is facing.
CLAIMING DIGNITY AND JUSTICE – The Photo Feature of JMS: Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane (JMS), the collective of Dalit (Madiga) Women Agricultural Labourers in Raichur District (Karnataka – India) symbolises the struggle and a long process of women from the most marginalised community for their autonomy and dignity. At the occasion of crossing the landmark of surviving for about 17 years as a small but powerful symbol of Dalit wWmen’s empowerment, JMS has brought out this photo-essay to capture the key milestones of their journey of struggle – Claiming Dignity and Justice.
Pothnal, Raichur – JMS celebrates 125th Ambedkar Jayanti 16 April, 2016:
Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations at Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan, Pothnal, Raichur district. More than 400 Dalit women and children commemorated the day by remembering the political thoughts of Ambedkar and his ideas of struggle for justice
During 2015-16, JMS continued its focus on strengthening PHCs and in taking the lead for various health related issues.
Public dialogues in PHCs: JMS conducted public dialogues in two more PHCs- Toranadinni PHC and in Hirekotnekal PHC. Around 60 women participated in the public dialogue in Toranadinni PHC while around 35 participated in the one held in Hirekotnekal. These public dialogues were preceded by meetings with women in JMS sanghas in the villages attached to the sub-centres of the PHCs. At these meetings women listed several problems such as dysfunctional lab, non-availability of doctor, writing prescriptions to buy medicines outside instead of providing them free in the PHC, no representation of local women in the ARS of the PHC, not conducting deliveries in the PHC and so on. Following these discussion a date was fixed and informed to the concerned PHC staff as well as to the taluk health officer to be present. In the both public dialogues taluk health officer was present and acted on several issues promptly. For example, in Toranadinni PHC, there was no lab technician post sanctioned for the PHC and they were referring all pregnant women for basic tests to Kavital PHC, 10 km away. Women suggested that the THO depute a lab technician on ANC check –up days at Toranadinni PHC so that pregnant women at least get all aspects of care and are spared the trip to Kavital which is again another 10 kms away and is inaccessible. This was agreed. Similarly women demanded to why there was no doctor available 24X7. The THO said that there is acute shortage of doctors in the district and this is a rampant problem everywhere. However with compulsory rural posting of medical graduates, they assured that the problem will be resolved soon. But this of course depended on state level decisions he added. In both PHCs, women demanded to know why doctors were writing prescriptions to buy medicines outside. In response the in -charge medical officer in Toranadinni said that people themselves demand and he is forced to write. Then the women confronted and asked him, “Who is the doctor here? You? Or the patients? On all other matters you say ‘I know better’. How is it that you write prescriptions when patients ask you?” The MO was embarrassed and the THO instructed the doctors not to write prescriptions outside but to indent properly and provide all medicines from the PHC’s pharmacy. In both PHCs, women demanded to be made members of the ARS. In Toranadinni, the MO held additional in charge. So it was decided that the women’s names will be included when the fulltime MO takes charge. In Hirekotnekal two women from the sangha become members of the Arogya Raksha Samiti (ARS).
Increased vigil on the private sector: (more…)
February 26-March1, 2016
Venue: Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane (JMS) centre, Pothnal, Manvi Taluka, Raichur District.
The Chilipili Child labour school alumni, who are now grown up youth, came together for a four day workshop at Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatan centre, at Pothnal, Raichur District. Vijay, the film maker, who has taken a lot of interest in this, brought together a team of resource persons to conduct this workshop which included theater, dancing, singing, debate and discussions. For the youth it was a re-living of their life at Chilipili some years ago.
A short video of the group dance:
Mentor _ JMS
Jagrutha Mahila Sanghatane (JMS) celebrated its 16th year on the 28th December, 2015, at Pothnal, Raichur district (Karnataka India). As part of the celebration the journey of struggle was recollected by key women leaders.
(1) A documentary film Hijjegalu (Footsteps) shot over last two years was released by women. The documentary film is made by Vijay.
(2) A photo-essay on the journey of moment ‘Claiming Dignity and Justice’ was released by women. This is a bilingual book which has both the English as well as Kannada versions.
(3) Chilipili Alumni Gather Together – Bonded labour children turn teachers : The most satisfying moment was to hear the ex-students of Chilipili Child Labour School which was run by JMS. Two of the students, were bonded labourers in the land lord’s house and were ‘zero’ literates when they came to Chilipili. They were about 10 years of age. In two years they picked up what other children take seven years and got enrolled in the mainstream government school. They pursued studies against all odds, completed their graduation, also B.Ed and are now working as primary school teachers. The touching moment was when one of them said: Then I was a bonded labour in the land lord’s house. We were not allowed to come closer to them. Now I am a teacher in same village school. Now the same landlord came with his grand-children to me and requested me to look after them well’. Chilipili has given me life. No money can give us the respect that we have received through this education of life’.
Discussion with the Chilipili Youth, many of whom were currently pursuing either graduation and post-graduation, followed the celebrations. They valued the school highly and wanted to contribute from their end to the growth of other children. The youth decided to carry their solidarity forward as a Chilipili Youth Forum.
Mentor – JMS