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Tribal Cultural Society helps bridge education rights of tribal children

Jamshedpur, July 7: Tribals constitute 8.14% of the total population of the country, and cover about 15% of the countryís area.

The fact that tribal people need special attention to improve their social, economic development. Whether it is maternal and child mortality, size of agricultural holdings or access to drinking water and electricity, tribal communities lag far behind the general population. 52% of Tribal population is Below Poverty Line and what is astounding is that 54% tribalís have no access to economic assets such as communication and transport.

Among scheduled tribes, there are certain tribal communities who have a declining or stagnant population, low level of literacy, pre-agricultural level of technology and are economically backward. This section of the tribal society is referred to as the “Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups or PVTGs”.

Tata Steel works for the development of the PVTGs living in its operational areas. There are nine PVTGs in Jharkhand out of which three live in the area of Dalma Hills and Patamda.

During the process the Tata Steelís team found that education had hardly reached these tribes. We are well aware that education is the fundamental for any society to develop. It was therefore decided to educate the young children of these tribes.

Tata Steelís Tribal Cultural Society (TCS) took upon itself this daunting task and “Project Aakanksha” was launched in 2012. It aimed at transforming the lives of the PVTG children. Ever since, Team TCS worked tirelessly to make this project a success.

It may sound simple, but selling the concept of schooling and education to a society which had no experience of the same, was a herculean task.

After convincing the elders of the society, the next challenge was to create a bridge between the children and the schools. Six residential schools were identified whose management agreed to take care of these special children. These children were used to a free life, and so bringing them to the discipline of a residential school was a major challenge.

Continuous effort from the TCS and the schools has brought about a new dawn. These 234 children (age between 5 to 8 years)†have not only adjusted to the life of a residential school but have also picked-up Hindi, a link to the external world.

These children who were very shy earlier, are now confident, and have picked up the ways of life. They are doing well in their studies and over time would be able to bring about the message of development and change to their society.

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