The Stories of Struggle & Change from Sirmour……….
People’s Action for People in Need (PAPN) started its journey in Trans-Giri region of Sirmour District of Himachal Pradesh in June, 1985. Here in this section we will attempt to capture the struggles of the people happened during the course of our intervention and association with the community. The stories of struggle, success and change as PAPN has worked in different areas of Himachal Pradesh over the last few years. The stories are categorized into 4 sections of Land and Livelihood Issues, Caste Based Discrimination/ Dalit Issues, Women’s Issues and Child Rights, though often there are overlapping areas of concern. The attempt has been to document the efforts made by PAPN to alleviate problems of people regarding each of these concerns in different ways, how it has impacted people’s lives and the changes this has resulted in. The document uses a combination of various methods of transcription- ranging from group discussions, interviews, first person and third person accounts of their stories and journeys.
Hi! I am Neema (age 12 years) daughter of Babu Ram from Bachhaina village of Sirmour District, HP. We are a family of eight persons including my grandmother, parents, two sisters and two younger brothers. We have about 3 Bighas of cultivable land which is not enough to produce food grain that can meet all the requirements of our family. As a result, my father has to go to Nahan and Shimla for casual labour work for most part of the year. Because there is no one at home while my parents are working, my elder sister Radha (age 13 years) and I have to assist our mother and grandmother in field work and grazing the goats and other cattle. The workload at home along with economic constraints made it extremely difficult for my sister and me to attend school regularly. I failed in class III for two years, as I was unable to find the time to concentrate and study when at home. Ultimately, education became a second priority for us and we would attend school sparingly, only when we could take some time off from domestic work. For most part, we had dropped out of school.
I got to know about PAPN’s work in our village a few months back. Some of our neighbours told me about their awareness generation programmes and initiatives towards educating the community about their rights and entitlements. When one of the social workers from PAPN came to know about our dropping out from school, she came and had a talk with us, where she spoke about the importance of education. When we told her about our family situation, she came to my house, counselled my family and implored my mother and grandmother to get us re-admitted in the school. She spoke to them about the importance of education, especially for girls and women. One day she came with a school bag, note books and other study materials, told our mother that the organisation would be supporting us in our education and assisted us in getting readmission in school. My family agreed now that the financial burden was lesser and they were more aware about the value of education. I am very happy now with my friends in the school. The continuous efforts and support of PAPN enabled me to continue my education. When I grow up, I wish to join the government services and help in eradicating poverty from my village.