BENGALURU: These days, children at the Rajeshwari Nagara Anganwadi near Banashankari Metro station are happy studying in their classroom, thanks to the walls of the anganwadi being painted with colourful images. The children also listen to stories on Thursdays, led by Sangeetha, a library educator at Hasiru Dala, an NGO that works for the empowerment of the waste-picker community. The NGO took the initiative to paint the anganwadi in association with transgender artists from Aravani Art Project in September first week.
“We run Buguri Community Library, a library project for kids aged five years and above. When we started our library project here, we found that many kids didn’t know how to hold a book. If we support the early childhood education then the kids who come to us would be more equipped. So, we started read aloud sessions on Thursdays at anganwadi and helped with renovating it,” said Lakshmi Karunakaran, programme director, Hasiru Dala.
Surrounded by wild bushes, the anganwadi was previously in a sorry situation. “This one room building is a temporary set up. We had only four children between 2.5-5 years. Nobody was willing to send their kids due to the poor condition of the anganwadi. We got some help from Hasiru Dala and cleared the bushes and painted the building,” says Jayalakshmi Narayan, anganwadi teacher, who also added that now the number of children has increased to seven and three more children will be enrolling next month.
“We have also conducted theatre shows for the kids, which were presented by Gillo theatre group. Now we painted their set up with art works. Early exposure to art helps a growing child’s cognitive abilities,” shared Karunakaran.
The team says there is a long way to go ahead to get basic infrastructure in the anganwadi. “It still doesn’t have electricity connection and toilet facilities. The plan to allocate `12-15 lakh for the development of the anganwadi from the government is in pipeline. We are in talk with the concerned officials to get space for children resource centre within the anganwadi set up,” Karunakaran said.