Building a better future for children

Sonaha Community

Change observed in Sonaha Community 
(A Case Study of Sonaha Community)
Daulatpur-2, Murgahauwa

Basic information:
The Sonaha Community had a wandering life. They used to live on the Bank of Karnali River of Rajapur delta. They used to survive by fishing and panning gold. They didn’t have permanent resident. They were far away from state mechanism. But in the later part, this community started to live in the organized society. They had arranged and elope marriage system. They specially did marriage on the month of Poush and Magh. Their Socio-cultural existence was influenced by Hindu culture. Most of them followed Hinduism but the later part of the years, most of them adopted Christianity.  The people of this community had poor economic condition. The underlying major problems were poverty, illiteracy, along with their identity. They had no access to electricity, transportation and other modern means.(Source :Group Discussion at Sonah Community: 2010). “We were in savage situation; we spent our most of the time in the river. We didn’t have any link with external society. We used to do fishing and used to eat without cooking and sometimes putting them on the fire.  We didn’t know about education of our children neither take part in leadership and politics. We had poor economic situation, and had access no to information.”  Chachuju Ram Sonaha, Local Development Leader, Sonaha Community.

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Intervention of GNI:

Barditya Community Development Project (BaCDP) has been lunching its program since 2010. It has supported school education and community empowerment to the Sonaha community, Mukta Kamaiyas (Ex-Bonded labors) and excluded communities of Manau, Daulatpur and Patavar VDCs. To promote children's holistic development along with regular school classes, extra tuition classes and different extra-curricular activities are supported. The target children are also provided stationeries, school uniform, school bags, shoes, soaks, school fee, examination fee, hanky, seasonal dress and other necessary things so that their interest and dedication towards educations increases.  On the extra-curricular activities, BaCDP has been organizing spelling contest, drawing competition, wall paper publication, picnic, elocutionary activities as well as educational tour as per necessity. Likewise it has been also organizing Child Day celebration, campaign against Child labor, formation of Child Club, water and sanitation program, gender sensitive program, Human rights Day Celebration.

In the community empowerment sector BaCDP is going to lunch pig farming very nearly. It has already conducted feasibility study in this area. It has also been purposed to invest social contribution in the community in water and sanitation sector. BaCDP has been conducting community awareness program time to time. Such as Health awareness program, Water and Sanitation Program, Leadership building and Group mobilization training, Awareness Campaign on Human Trafficking, Sexual Abuse and  communicable Diseases, Gender effective program, Health Check-up and Advocacy program on Human Rights issues. BaCDP also promoted farmers’ exposure visit, so that they could learn the professional skills and adapt the new learned skills in professional life.

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Observed transformation:
Most of the community expressed their positive reaction on the project activities. The number of enrolling children in school is increasing and the attendance of the students is also increased after project activities lunched in the community (School Attendance Record: 2010). According to field survey, the foremost achievement of the project is getting opportunities of education of Sonaha Children. The support activities increased awareness level in community. They have started sending their children to school instead of forcing them for doing household work. The capacity to present their views and communicate their ideas has been increased. The women members, who used to be busy in their household activities are now involved in social activities. The attitude towards community and its holistic development has changed now and they have been more social and show their concern and participation in community development matters. The level of awareness has been increased on water and sanitation, rights and responsibility and gender sensitivity. The discrimination among male and female (boys and girl) has been decreased. Now community accesses the information through different means; such as television, radio, mobile phone and telephone etc.  Now the early child marriage in reduced as different awareness campaign and counseling sessions empowered the children and advocated parents not give children for early child marriage.  Along with the traditional occupation, Sonaha community started to involve themselves in external economic activities such as small business, farming, migrate to India for labors, animal raising etc. Dil Bahadur Sonah, President of Sonaha Community Forest said, “The support and knowledge provided by Good Neighbors has supported to open our eyes and door for children's education”. Another responder, Ms. Indra Devi Tharu, President of Tharu Women Community Forest said, “Though the project activities are focused on sponsored children it has also brought positive changes and created awareness and enhance the level of information among non- sponsored children within the same school having the same types of socio-economic status".

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