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Anganwadi worker felicitated by CM for her Covid relief work

For the last 10 years, Poonam Ghatwal has been working as an anganwadi worker at Aklimpur village of the Badshahpur block in the city
By HT Correspondent, Gurugram
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 11:55 PM IST

For the last 10 years, Poonam Ghatwal has been working as an anganwadi worker at Aklimpur village of the Badshahpur block in the city. But last year was unlike any other for her. While people were confined to their homes due to the Covid-19 pandemic and maintaining strict social distancing, 34-year-old Ghatwal spent her days reaching out to women and children in shelter homes and slums, guiding them on how to protect themselves against the infection.

Ghatwal distributed sanitary napkins to women and girls in slums and dry ration to families, who had no source of income due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Ghatwal’s earnest effort made her win state-level recognition from chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Monday at the International Women’s Day celebration in Panchkula.

“It was an unusual year due to Covid-19. It was especially challenging for women and children living in shelter homes or in slums. Like others, they too were unaware of the disease and had to be protected against the infection,” said Ghatwal in a telephonic conversation with HT on Monday.

“The challenging part was explaining these families about the new disease during the house visits,” she said. “They had questions regarding the need to wear a mask or had apprehensions about the fact that they did not have enough space to maintain social distance. So, we used to tell them about symptoms of the infection and the consequences they might face due to illness.”

This basic understanding of Covid-19 management helped her in counselling people, especially reaching out to women. “Women required extra help during the lockdown. Many women and girls could afford to buy sanitary napkins even before Covid-19. But due to lockdown they had no access to feminine hygiene products altogether as they could not move out. It was our task to reach out to women in rural areas and guide them regarding the precautionary norms to be followed,” said Ghatwal, who also distributed masks and dry rations in slums of Badshahpur.

“During the afternoon hours, our team used to conduct home visits and distribute dry ration packets to children and families who could not afford food due to the lockdown,” she said.

Her constant efforts in reaching out to people helped her clear a state-level exam — one of the steps required to apply for the award. She made her way by appearing for a block-level exam last year by the department of women and child development to test the knowledge and skills of anganwadi workers

“The question paper comprised questions related to Covid-19 management at the rural level and various government schemes. After clearing the block-level examination, I appeared for district level exams, where I stood first. Thereafter, I took the state-level exam and bagged the first position,” said Ghatwal. According to her, she has been the first anganwadi worker to win an award for Gurugram.The award consisted of a certificate and a cash prize of 21,000.

Across the state, 29 women were felicitated, including Harshita Goyal and Santosh Rathod — two women entrepreneurs from Gurugram. Four students from Gurugram were also awarded by the women and child development department at the state level.

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