Refashioning Anganwadis as Colourful, Vibrant Places of Growth for Small Children
- Muskan Khandelwal
- Published on 18 Dec 2021, 1:48 pm IST
- 5 minutes read
- Additional Collector Muzammil Khan renovated an old Anganwadi centre in Siddipet and made it colourful and vibrant to spread the message that anganwadi centres can be a fun place to study and grow for pre-school children.
- The old anganwadi centre with its new colourful look is already attracting a lot of attention as people stop to look at it and gaze in wonder at the transformation.
- The officer also aims to make the district free of malnourished children within the next three months by focusing on feeding proper nutritious meals to the children who come to anganwadi centres.
- Renovated Anganwadi in Mulugu, Siddipet
People generally think that anganwadi centres are only for those parents who cannot afford private pre-schools or nursery schools. In order to prove this notion wrong, IAS officer Muzammil Khan, who is Additional Collector of Siddipet district in Telangana, decided to give a colourful and vibrant makeover to the anganwadis in his district. Accordingly, he put his plan into action by renovating and transforming a dull, grey and boring-looking anganwadi in Mulugu into a colourful and vibrant centre. It looks so different and attractive now that people stop to look at it and gaze at it in awe.
Indian Masterminds spoke to Mr. Khan and asked him for more details about his new Anganwadi initiative.
MAKING ANGANWADIS COLOURFUL
IAS Muzammil Khan shares that he wanted to make the anganwadis look more attractive so that more and more children are brought to the centres by their parents. This will help them to tackle the problem of malnutrition and make Siddipet free of severely and moderately acute malnourished children by feeding them a balanced nutritious diet in meals provided by the centre. “We have around 250 such children in our district, so we want to make sure that all the malnourished children get proper nutrition over a course of 2-3 months and come out of the malnutrition trap,” he said.
To generate awareness about this scheme, the Additional Collector and his team were looking for centres where they could call all the mothers, and especially the fathers, to come and partake in the educational session.
“So, in doing this intervention, we started holding meetings in anganwadis. We have close to 1200 angandwadis in our district and most of them are either in buildings which are rented, while some of our own buildings did not really have a good upkeep and maintenance,” said Mr. Khan.
The officer believes that anganwadis need not be dull places with no lights and colours. So, he decided to design a centre to show the people that anganwadis, too, can be an attractive place.
He says there were two reasons for the renovation work carried out in an anganwadi centre. Firstly, for visibility, and secondly, to drive home the message that anganwadis can be centres for nutritional, educational and emotional growth of our pre-school children.
“About six months ago, we found an anganwadi which had a good land which could be utilised for playground and other facilities which we wanted to provide. We intentionally picked up the anganwadi which was dilapidated and breaking down. After this, we called up few artists from Hyderabad’s Fine Arts University and asked them for creative ideas for the anganwadi,” informed Mr. Khan.
All the funds for the renovation of this anganwadi came from the village itself, no special funds were provided. The administration created the space, left it to the public, and then started to see ideas come up. Some of them suggested that a nutritional garden should be planted, while some of them wanted a playground.
IMPACT ON CHILDREN
Mr. Khan informed that the anganwadi will have only 40 children as of now. “We wanted to have a pilot to show that anganwadis can be a place much better than any other private nursery school or other such facilities. We want parents from all backgrounds to leave their children here. We wanted to dispel the misconception that only people who cannot afford a private nursery go to anganwadi.”
ANGANWADI THEN & NOW
Earlier this place used to be an old irrigation guest house, one of those historical buildings that’s been there for more than 70-80 years. It is situated on a plot of land which is about 1 acre. “During the field visit, we noticed this site and we saw the potential but didn’t know what to do with it. There are these amazing banyan trees and tamarind trees which luckily survived in this plot. So, we thought, why not create a stage for the children and the youth and show the villagers what can happen if we reclaim land which are just lying barren,” Mr. Khan said.
The site is located right next to the road, so people who pass by can catch a glimpse of it. “I haven’t seen a single person who doesn’t stop when they go by. Imagine the reaction of children, who until a while back were used to a grey building and without fans. We wish to make them feel welcomed and loved through this new look of the place,” the officer said.
He added that young children find the colour work very beautiful. “They couldn’t express through words, but they smile a lot now when they see this anganwadi.”
AN EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW
The district has about 1400 anganwadi teachers and the administration is now trying to conduct review meetings of the teachers in a batch manner. The reason is to display this anagawadi to them, so that they go back to their centres, petition their local public representatives and officers, and get similar makeover done in their respective centres, too.
“We are making this anganwadi a nodal office. We are going to make the nodal officers sit there and coordinate the entire programme. And any passing population will see the anganwadi and replicate the same in their own jurisdiction. We have 500 villages in our district. We are going to request all of them to visit this anganwadi and replicate it in their areas,” concluded Mr. Khan.
END OF THE ARTICLE