A neglected lot, Chenchu tribe children suffer from malnutrition

Right to education remains a mirage for the Chenchu children inhabiting Narathadikala Chenchugudem in Nallamala forests near Yaragondapalem in Prakasam district.  

Children belonging to Chenchu tribe in the district suffer from malnutrition owing to lack of proper diet. They are deprived of clothing and medical facilities too.

Hundreds of Chenchu tribal families are living in Nagayalanka, Avanigadda, Pedana, Gudur, Machilipatnam and other places in the district. They eke out a living by fishing, selling decoration material and begging.

In a recent study, a team of Labour Department officials identified that Chenchu tribal families are neglected a lot and their children are suffering from malnutrition. Majority of the Chenchu children are not enrolled in any school and a report has been submitted to the District Collector.

Interestingly, officials of the Women Development and Child Welfare, Revenue, Labour, Education, Police, Medical and Health and other departments and NGOs have been celebrating ‘Child Rights Week’ from November 14 to 20, which coincides with the International Child Rights Day on November 20. The teams had been organising various programmes to sensitise people on child rights.


“We visited Chenchu Colony and NTR Colony, at Pedana. The families were living in pathetic condition and their kids were completely neglected. Some Chenchu children were found loitering at temples and a few were found begging,” said an officer who was part of the study, adding that many of Chechu families did not possess Aadhaar cards and had not enrolled in the voters list.

The government had constructed houses for Chenchus in Chenchu Colony, but almost all the houses were occupied by others, and the beneficiaries were forced to live on canal bunds and on the roadside, the officer said.

“More than 300 Chenchu tribal families are present in Krishna district, and a few families are staying in West Godavari district. They are living in deplorable conditions and their children are suffering from undergrowth and various skin diseases,” an officer of Women Development and Child Welfare department said.

Some Chehchu children were enrolled in the Anganwadi Centres in the district, but the kids were irregular to school and were not taking the diet being provided by the government, the officer said.

National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Krishna district unit Project Director D. Anjaneya Reddy told The Hindu the NCLP was running three schools exclusively for Chenchu children.

“We are running NCLP Schools at Chenchu Colony and NTR Colony in Pedana and another school at Amruthapuram in Machilipatnam. More than 70 Chenchu children, and only a few Yanadi tribal children are studying in these schools”, Mr. Reddy said.

“NCLP Schools are meant for children aged between 9 and 14 years. But, on seeing the plight of Chenchu families, we gave some age relaxation for them and are providing mid-day meals for the kids in our schools. Now, 30 Chenchu children are studying in each school and we are ready to admit more tribal children,” the official said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 9:47:50 PM |

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