2007

ITWWS works with Action Aid to promote empowerment of Irula Tribal’s who are among poorest and most deprived in 102 villages of Tamilnadu. According to Government report 2001, the literacy level of adivasi (tribal’s) is only 27.89% and among Irula’s it is 10% due to continued displacement, migration, semi-nomadic life and extreme poverty.

FROM DESTRUCTION TO SISTINCTION

“We will remember the impact of Tsunami in 2004, we were rendered homeless. We waited in hunger for someone to help us out of our trouble. ITWWS provided us with relief and are with us even till date, providing education support for our children, building houses of our own choices and most importation of all, helping us understand our rights.. I am glad that ITWWS and ActionAid helped my child Roopa (9) in her education. She excels in her studies and one day in the future I firmly believe that she is going to be a teacher helping children”

ITWWS’s and ActionAid’s interventions in Meyyur Marathotam village where Roopa lives include providing livelihood support and housing support, resulting in development of village and improving the lives of children. “Roopa studied in 4th standard at formal school and also attends the learning centre runs by ITWWS. According to her report card, she is 2 best at studies in her class of 26 students. She competed in a reading and won a state level prize for reading Tamil. The story was read in front of the panel of judges who thought she read with poise and eloquence. Her teacher and fellow students were impressed, nervous beforehand. Roopa was happy with her performance in reading. She is also helping in others read well.

ACTIVITIES FOR PROMOTING EDUCATION:

Our activities started with educational classes to Irula children, educating Government officers on Irula’s rights, Main streaming Irula children in formal school, holding community meeting to highlight importance of education as they are illiterate and ignorant and therefore, never sent their children to the school. Children were given education materials, uniforms, school bags, scholarship for higher education. Apart from this they were also given hygienic kits that include soap, comb, hair oil, talcum powder, buttons, and thread. All these motivate children, as well as parents, to send their children to schools to study and enjoy. Thus 800 Irula children from 50 villages are benefiting through our intervention.


RUNNING LEARNING CENTRES

Our activities started with educational classes to Irula children, educating Government officers on Irula’s rights, Main streaming Irula children in formal school, holding community meeting to highlight importance of education as they are illiterate and ignorant and therefore, never sent their children to the school. Children were given education materials, uniforms, school bags, scholarship for higher education. Apart from this they were also given hygienic kits that include soap, comb, hair oil, talcum powder, buttons, and thread. All these motivate children, as well as parents, to send their children to schools to study and enjoy. Thus 800 Irula children from 50 villages are benefiting through our intervention.


IMPACT OF EDUCATION

Continued efforts to reduce dropout rate have been faithful. Enrolment of Irula children was found to be 92% due to rigorous enrolment campaigns. The 30 learning center run by ITWWS and ActionAid help in mainstreaming children and to readmit dropouts in formal school, like Deepa.

Deepa from Marakkanam village was studying 4th standard. She was good in studies and she was put in the same class for two years. Teasing of other children made her stop her studies and go for domestic work which gained her money but few old dresses and food. She was a dropout from school and become a child labourer. Through community sensation programmes, discussion with school authorities and with her family, she was motivated once again to continue her studies. The community is followed up and she is happy to be back in school.

About 1387 children are regularly going to formal schools in 49 villages. Rate of dropouts is reduced and there right to education is ensured. Parents thought they were not educated, are now aware of importance of education and are happy that coming generation is getting opportunity to access higher studies. To continue their studies, ITWWS is rendering facility of scholarship to children. Earlier the higher class of education among Irula children was 8th standard. Now with support of scholarship facility, 30 Irula children are continuing their studies in 10th and 12th standard and degree courses in collages. This is a great achievement of our intervention.

Students actively participate in extra-curricular programmes including sports, competitions like drawing, essay-writing, reading, speaking, etc.


CHALLENGES

Since Irula community is economically backward and ignorant, they do not know need for education. Some Irula tribes are depending on sensational employment so they shift their shelter according to availability of jobs. Migration for employment and food is major challenge to ITWWS. Since Irula tribes come under category of ‘Schedule Tribe (ST)’ list; they must have St Community certificate, it is very difficult to obtain a community certificate from Government. Some time it takes 3 to 6 years to obtain it. In some instance as women go to earn their income, elder child to forced to take care of younger siblings. This forces eldest child to forego education. However ITWWS is taking various measures to face all these challenges.


STEPS TO BRING POSITIVE CHANGE

Promoting community action to gain all their basic needs and rights including land, shelter, better livelihoods, quality education, access to health care, better sanitation, community recognition through ST community certificates and active participation in local-self government. We are also promoting income earning activities. There are over 100 self help groups actively functioning and about 3500 families are benefiting. Conducting summer camps for children to get awareness and motivation to avail education rights is another strategy adopted. Periodical evaluation and monitoring process with staff involvement is additional step to create positive changes.


MOHANA IN NEMELI

There are 36 families in Nemeli village forging new lives after destruction of Tsunami in 2004. Mohana is the mother of one of these families. She has three children – two sons and one daughter. She is encouraging her daughter to become a tailor and is very happy to see her children attending the local school. With assistance provide by ITWWS he children can go to the nearby school fully equipped and motivated to learn. Mohana now looks forward to her children embracing future professions in fields such as medicine and art. Living in her previous village prior to the Tsunami Mohana earned Rs.60 a day catching fish, prawns and crabs. She now earns Rs.100a day working on construction of houses in her village and still fishes in backwaters nearby. Her husband earns 200 a day. They aspire to go herbs or vegetables and use them for medicine, food or sell them one day. Mohana is president of her village’s Self Help Group (SHG). Her position as president and head spokeswomen has seen a personal development within herself and achievement of her fellow villager’s lives. She says “SHGs have provided a platform for us as group to voice our needs and opinions. As a group we grow in confidence and use our speaking skills to get what we want and rightfully deserve.”

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT


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