Samnapur, a tribal village is located around 28 kilometre away from Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh, India. Samnapur falls under Khami Panchayat that consists a total population of 1500, where most of the people are agricultural labourers. Roadless bumpy travel would invite you if you have a plan to visit this tribal village which lacks essential basic facilities like road, shelter, water, sanitation, health and hygiene.
Joginder, community organiser of SOPAN (partner organisation of Aide et Action India) regularly interacts with the community members and mobilise them to form groups. As a small initiative, he managed to form two self help groups comprised of 20 members. With a total saving of Rs. 10,000, the groups were ready to take care of the livelihood needs of the villagers. The formation of groups has also helped them to come together and design a road map for the development of their own village.
One of the biggest menaces the group was able to resolve was the tobacco chewing habits of the children in the tribal villages. Children used to collect the Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP: medicinal plants, foods, flavors and fragrances, fibers, and sap) and sell those products in the nearby shop to procure tobacco. Almost 98 % of the children were addicted to tobacco. Inspite of repeated warning from their parents, these children were unable to stop their tobacco consumption habits.
It is here that the group members had to intervene. They warned the shop owners to stop the procurement of products from the children. By organising various rallies in the village, the group focused on creating awareness among children about the ill effects of tobacco chewing.They also gave responsibility to Bal Panchayat members to look after the issues related to tobacco chewing and cleanliness. The timely action of the group has bore fruits as today children of Samnapur and Dodamal villages are free from tobacco addiction.
Aide et Action International South Asia (AEAI-SA) is implementing the Community Empowerment Through Education project, in Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh, to help make poor and deprived populations self-reliant through qualitative change.The project directly reaches out to 1699 Gond tribal families and 9,298 others indirectly.