Reethu, a story teller, a person often found between the pages of a book or contemplating the nuances of life.
Tribal youth volunteers of the Adishakti Summer School in Kerala are helping to empower the students from marginalised communities by creating awareness among them about higher education and helping them to apply for courses.
Adishakti Summer School, an initiative of Adivasi Gotra Mahasabha founder M Geetanandan, is aimed at raising awareness among marginalized children about the scope of higher education. It was established in 2014 to reduce the dropout rate among Dalit and Adivasi students in the state.
According to a report by The Times Of India, Sanoop C, one of the volunteers who belong to the Kurumba community visited houses in his tribal colony and neighbouring colonies early this month during a week-long power outage to collect details of students who have completed class 10 and 12.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as higher secondary and degree admission procedures have gone online, the summer school is also helping students without access to the internet to apply for various courses. Through WhatsApp groups, the school collects details of students from various districts.
"Most of the students in my area do not have internet connectivity to apply for degree courses. I collected their details and sent them to WhatsApp groups formed by Adishakti Summer School," Sanoop, who hails from Gotyarkandi ooru in Attappadi told the media.
Meanwhile, Vanitha V, a volunteer from Marayur in Idukki, said, "Most of the children in our community drop out of school early. Though some of the families reside in town, there are around eight 'kudis' in the interior forest. They are reluctant to come out."
Vanitha has been struggling to convince members of her community about the scope of education. A member of Hill Pulaya tribe, Vanitha herself had braved odds to pursue higher education. She has helped four students from her community to apply for Class 11.
While Sanoop is a third-year degree student who aspires to join the police, Vanitha is currently preparing for the civil service examination in Thiruvananthapuram.
Adishakti conducts camps for students every year and has so far helped nearly 100 students apply for higher studies. The camps help identify skilled students and assist them in pursuing their areas of interest. Many volunteers this year were participants of the camps conducted earlier.
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