Infrastructure cannot make a city smart, its people do. This has been the mantra of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation which, in its Smart City Proposal, had a focused plan to develop the slums located across the Smart District and empower the dwellers. As part of this initiative which was started 10 months back, the BMC has selected 30 girls from eight different slums of the city. Designated as ‘Pragati Sathi,’ under this project, the girls were recently imparted training for three days at a capacity building workshop organised by the corporation.
The selected 30 girls were trained to take up issues faced by their communities in their respective slums and work towards resolution of the issues with the help and support of the authorities. They were also taught to conduct different activities to spread awareness on these issues, from menstrual management to understanding the reasons and consequences of child marriage and ensuring steps to prevent the same.
Apart from the civic body, several public interface programmes were also conducted with police and other government agencies, with the help of these peer leaders from various slums across the city.
Under the Socially Smart Bhubaneswar initiative, street plays and life skill training programmes were conducted at Masjid Colony Basti, Kharvel Nagar on Sunday, wherein awareness was created on health issues, benefits of institutional delivery, importance of vaccination for children among others. The entire workshop was held under the supervision of gender and youth specialists, Sisir Grahacharya and Sarojini Brahma.
Talking about the programme, Sarojini Brahma told MCL, “This is one of the most advanced steps that has been taken for upliftment of the society. There are many social issues that the underprivileged sections of the society face and they have no idea how to resolve them. They are not even aware of the government schemes available for them. So, such initiatives can aid their social development.”
Bandita Sahoo from Salia Sahi slum, one among the 30 selected girls told MCL, “We have really been benefited by these workshops as we are now equipped with the knowledge on how to resolve our social issues. That apart, we also have an idea about the right forum where we can raise these issues.”