A nine year old girl, named Sharda from Budganiha Para studying in the 5th standard at a Government Primary School is currently the President of ‘Bal Panchayat’. She motivates all the children to go to school. Earlier, the situation was different. She used to remain very quiet and didn’t interact much with anyone. She was unable to pay attention to her studies either. Her family constitutes of her parents and an elder brother. Her brother is studying in the 8th standard. Sharda’s father is posted as a teacher in a nearby primary school under the Gram Panchayat, Utarda’s Lotnapara. Her mother is involved in farming.
Budganiha Para is under a small Panchayat, which is under the Andikachhar Panchayat of the Korba district. The main occupation of the inhabitants is agriculture. Overall, 52 families reside there. The total population is 320. The total numbers of children aged 6 to 10 are 57 and the children aged 11 to 14 years are 11. The village has one primary school and the older students go to the middle school located in Andikachhar, which is two kilometers away from the village.
In April 2013, the Andikachhar Panchayat was chosen as the working area by SYM. From the month of June, work with the children of the village began. Initially, the rapport was built up with the children and teachers. Eventually, the ‘Bal Panchayat’ was formed in the month of July. Sharda was a member of it. She was then in the 4th standard. During meetings and other activities, the community assistant noticed that she doesn’t participate much in any of the activities. The community assistant, then spoke to her parents. Her parents told that she has been like that, since childhood. She doesn’t mix up with people soon. A lot of activities including ‘Bal Mela’ was organized. Various other activities were conducted, such as Rangoli making, Kabaddi, drawing competition, etc. Gradually, Sharda started opening up. She also took part in the drawing competition. Thus, the significance of such activities was realized for helping kids of the likes to socialize more.
With the help of other members of the organization, the community assistant along with the members of the SMC had put up her view in front of them. The community assistant narrated about the changes brought in Sharda’s behaviour through various activities. She also suggested if there could be a place where children could come together after school hours, interact and thus, widen up the opportunities for their physical and mental development. With consistent discussions with the village people, a room in the village which was for the women for midday meals, was given for conducting such activities. Thereafter, in the month of March of the following year, a building was constructed which was named as ‘Bal Bhawan’. Here, reading materials for children, playing items and drawing sheets were kept.
The result of building the ‘Bal Bhawan’ was that even after school, Sharda started to meet the other children and interacted with them in numerous productive ways. It also proved useful for other children. Sharda is now studying in the 5th standard and through consensus, she has been chosen as the president of the ‘BAL PANCHAYAT’.