Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], February 24 (ANI): Anganwadi centres reopened after 11 months in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district on Tuesday as COVID-19 restrictions began to ease across different parts of the country.
Speaking to ANI, District Programme Officer of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Rajouri said: "Our 1,669 Anganwadi centres were closed for almost 11 months due to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, despite these trying times, our Anganwadi workers tried their best to provide door to door facilities to the people. Many workers provided cooked meals as well while adhering to COVID-19 protocols."
"Last week, our officials held a review meeting with the District Collector. It is then that we decided to reopen the centres today. Since last week, we have ensured that cleanliness, hygiene, clean toilets, water are maintained at the Centre," he added.
Manju Sharma, an Anganwadi worker in Rajouri's Palam village told ANI, "Parents are happy. Children are happy to come back to our centres. I work at Main Market, Ward No. 2, Palam Centre. In this pandemic, many poor children could not afford to study via online mode. Many did not even have a smartphone. A few who had access to smartphones or computers found it difficult to get internet access. Hence by coming back to this Centre, both parents and children feel happy."
A girl who regularly visits Palam's Anganwadi centre said, "I get food here. I also learn English alphabets and recite mathematical tables. I enjoy coming here."
A parent who sends her child to this Centre said, "I am happy that this Centre has reopened. My child is learning several self-development skills at this Centre. My child is going to become self-reliant now."
On July 29, 2020, the National Education Policy (NEP), approved by the Union Cabinet, envisaged sweeping reforms in school and higher education including teaching up to at least Grade 5 in "mother tongue or regional language" and a new 5+3+3+4 school curriculum with 12 years of schooling and three years of Anganwadi or pre-schooling.
Anganwadi is a type of rural child care centre started by the Government of India in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition. (ANI)