By Zaidul Haque, TwoCircles.net
Kolkata/Birbhum: For 38-year-old Bebyda Khatun, December 1 is likely to be a special day: a day that bears testimony to the hard work she has put in as an Anganwadi worker in West Bengal. Khatun will receive an award for the year 2011-12 from the Ministry of Women and Child Development as part of the National Awards to Anganwadi Workers.
Khatun, who resides in a village called Noapara in Birbhum district, will become only the third Anganwadi worker from West Bengal, and the first Muslim from the state, to receive such a prestigious award.
At her Anganwadi, Khatun has multiple responsibilities: she handles the immunisation of expectant mothers, non formal pre-nursery education, periodic meetings with mother and child and distribution of food. But Khatun added that her responsibilities do not end at that; even outside the Anganwadi premise, she meets pregnant women, children’s parents and encourages them to ensure education and immunisations like Polio vaccine for the kids.
Bebyda , who has been working as an Anganwadi worker since 1996, says that living in a mud house makes her aware of the conditions around her, during the rainy season. Sometimes, due to the heavy downpour, it becomes nearly impossible to serve food to the children or immunise pregnant women. But she never stooped her work and does not take leaves. In fact, she actively engages with women in her locality even when she is off duty.
Her colleagues and seniors vouch for the amazing work that Khatun has been performing and believe the award is a fair recognition of her work. ICDS Block supervisor Pratibha Das told Twocircle.net, “Under the supervision of Khatun, the number of children, mothers and pregnant women getting assistance, from all communities, has increased substantially. Khatun is extremely aware of nutritious food and is of great help to pregnant women.” Even when other workers were unable to work in the rainy season, Khatun proved to be an exception, Das added.
Such is Khatun’s zeal to work that she always keeps some toffee, biscuits, medicine and first-aid box which she buys from her own money, to use in case she meets someone needy.
ICDS district level Officer Ratan Chandra Barman adds, “Khatun is so dedicated that since her ICDS centre does not have a shed to cook meals, she cooks it in the open air and never discriminates between children, accepting all of them as her own.” In fact, this is not Khatun’s first award. “She never spent excess money from the ICDS fund. This is why she also received the award of the Best Booth level Officer in 2012 from Birbhum District,” Das adds.