Kalpetta: After the successful implementation of the tribal community kitchens in Attappady, Palakkad, the Kudumbashree mission will establish community kitchens in Wayanad district. As many as 222 kitchens would be set up by the end of November, according to mission executive director Harikishore S.
"On a pilot basis, nearly 62 kitchens were set up in Thirunelly panchayat, each catering to nearly 15 to 20 people. More kitchens would be set up in Noolppuzha and Kaniyampatta, apart from nearly 40 more in Thirunelly. These kitchens would be run by tribal neighbourhood groups, as in the case of Attappady. By setting up the kitchens, we are serving two purposes at the same time – giving nutritious food to the needy and empowering the tribal neighbourhood groups," said Harikishore.
The Tribal Community Kitchen Project
It was the high rate of infant mortality and malnutrition deaths among tribal communities during the 2013-14 fiscal that prompted the social justice department to start the first ever community kitchen in the state at Attappady in Palakkad. The community kitchen project was then taken over by the Kudumbashree in 2014. Community kitchen is a nutritional enhancement programme initiated to address malnourishment among children, pregnant women, lactating mothers, adolescent girls, senior citizens and the impoverished.
Managed by the tribal women's Neighbourhood Groups (NHGs), women would serve food in the evening. The menu, decided upon after understanding the nutrition requirements of the needy, includes white boiled rice, ragi powder, a variety of pulses like green gram, horse gram and chick pea. This was a revival of the earlier practice of 'Ooraduppu' (hamlet hearth) where the community comes together for meals and shares food.
Project in Wayanad
According to Kudumbashree Wayanad district project officer P Sajitha, the community kitchens were started in Thirunelly in June. Two of them were destroyed during the August floods, but were soon renovated. The Kudumbashree mission's plan is to set up 76 kitchens in Noolppuzha and 48 in Kaniyampatta by the end of November.
“We are serving food in a shed that is constructed alongside the kitchens. So, when the food is served from 4.30pm to 7pm (time is flexible), the needy people can come and gather at the shed, where awareness programmes and tuition classes will also be conducted,” she said.