Polio still haunts parts of the developing world. How can we eradicate it for good? In one Calcutta slum, the children are the answer.
AMLAN GANGULY [Founder, Prayasam]
When I first went to a slum, the adults say that, "We don't have any time to listen to all this, because we know nothing will happen." So we tried to organize the children, make them peer educators or group leaders, so that they can bring about changes within their own community.
I think there are many houses where people go out to work in the morning and return at night. There are children in those homes, but the parents take them along with them. Yet, on their houses too they write "P" and the date. The children there have probably had the vaccine, or have they really had it?
The problem is with these gaps that are left.
Daredevils Volunteer After-School Club
Who are in this group? What will they do? They will go to the Group A area and create awareness. The people who use autos have plenty of money to hire PA systems and spread their message. But we who work here, do we have so much money?
This is called a megaphone. What is it called?
Listen, listen, listen! This Sunday, we will give a polio vaccine at Ramdhani Club. All of you, please bring your children along!
If a person's hand becomes disabled, how can he manage to work the rest of his life? There is not much he will be able to do. In my opinion, no one from my area should be so afflicted.
These boys and girls are here. They are working in this area. Alright? You can tell them that you have a problem getting time out from your work. They will help you by taking your children to the club themselves. They will arrange for the children to have the polio drops and then bring them back home. Okay?
Previously there was around 40 percent of the children, they go to the vaccination center. Now, there are at least 80 percent people. And, within two-three years, I think that all of RSE children will be vaccinated.
We wish to work even harder. We want to visit schools. It would be great if our one day's work can increase the number of children from 75 to 100. Why are they not bringing their children by themselves? They are their children, but they are also our brothers and sisters. It is also our duty and that is why we are insisting on this. Today if we are asked what our self-interest is in doing this? My reply is I don't want my brothers and sisters to be disabled or lame. This is our interest. We shall see to it that the children grow up well.