Tribespeople Script Street Play to Bring Changes to Attapadi | Kochi News

KOCHI: A group of tribal youths perform a “moving” street theater piece in attapadi educate community members about anemia, infant mortality and the harmful effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Attapadi fights not only against the malnutrition of its population, but also against drug addiction and alcoholism.
Similarly, although various ministries have spent several millions of dollars to address the issues of anemia and infant mortality, they have not been able to achieve the desired results.
As part of an outreach program, 14 young tribal men and women from area hamlets joined hands to spread the word in their own language.
‘Namath Kanavu‘, the ‘mobile’ street game has been touring various tribal hamlets for 40 days. “All the actors are from the communities here and they wrote and planned the play themselves. The actors are young men and women who talk about the importance of nutrition in their diets and how it affects newborns if women are not healthy. We also have a couple who lost their child who come to tell their story,” said Rajendra Prasad, director of the Center for Development and Research in Tribal Education – Thampu, an NGO behind the programme.
He said he is supported by Unicef, the health department and the district administration. The plays were performed in 20 venues where people from all the neighboring hamlets flocked to watch it. “We wanted to reach as many places as possible before the rain got more intense,” he said.
There is a strong message for pregnant women to reach out to ASHA workers and ask for their help. The play also covers drug and alcohol abuse—a major concern in the tribal community—explaining the adverse health effects through song, dance and dialogue.
Unicef, which supports the initiative, said the wider aim is to ensure the well-being of the newborn. “The street theater initiative shines a light on broad issues such as the first 1,000 days of a child’s life, adolescent health and youth engagement,” said KL RaoHead of Social Policy, Unicef ​​Office for Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
“The goal is to get the community to take ownership of the life cycle approach to health and nutrition. This is not a standalone initiative of Unicef ​​in Attapadi, but rather an integral part of a multi-sector and broader partnership with the state government to strengthen government initiatives and also create a awareness and community ownership of all these initiatives,” Rao added.

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