Children from tribal communities especially those belonging to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) are now getting access to education in Jharkhand. Steps are being taken to encourage kids from these marginalised groups to join schools and pursue education in an attempt to empower them.
This is being made possible through Project Aakansha, an initiative by the Tata Steel foundation, which is aimed at motivating the PVTG kids to take up education to inspire others in the tribe, The New Indian Express reported.
Birhors (Munda-speaking, forest-dependent semi-nomadic tribal community) spend their whole lives surviving on natural resources in the forests. The community is spread throughout Jharkhand, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. As the number of people left in their tribes is less than 10,000, their vulnerability as an age-old ethnic group of India comes across in reducing numbers.
Besides imparting quality education, the project has produced many first-generation learners in Birhor and Sabar families. Over 220 students are enrolled in seven residential schools across Jharkhand under the initiative. During the current year, nine students under this project reportedly passed their matriculation exams with flying colours.
Children Benefitted From The Project
Stifan Birhor was one among them. Belonging to the Birhor tribe, he has found his roots in a sound educational environment like many children from his community.
"It was my first exam in a new school and after scoring decent marks in almost all the subjects, the teacher called me to the front of the class and cheered me on!", Stifan Birhor, who passed his matriculation exams with 84.6 per cent, told The New Indian Express. Studying in M S Mahato High School, Stifan added that the cheering from teachers would motivate him to even study harder for his next exam.
Charan Birhor, another kid studying under the project and scoring 72 per cent said that he would never like to go to his old lifestyle.
"My daily routine was to roam around with my friends in the village and waste all the precious time, but after going to school, I got indulged in studies. After scoring good in exams, there was no looking back," said Charan Birhor, as per The New Indian Express.
"Project Aakansha motivates the students from these communities to start from basic and later chose their career paths," Tata Steel Corporate Social Responsibility Chief, Sourav Roy told The New Indian Express.
He added that the students can now study sincerely and break out from the shackles of abject poverty that envelop their tribe.