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Sakhiyo ki Badi: Learning centers bringing education to the doorstep for out of school tribal girls

By auther pic. Namit Hans

June 20, 2018

Sakhiyo ki Badi: Learning centers bringing education to the doorstep for out of school tribal girls

Picture Credit: Shrushti Seva Samiti

Udaipur, also known as the lake city, is a popular tourist destination. Thousands visit the city every year to experience its culture and beauty. However, just 95 km from city, in Fulwari ki Naal sanctuary area of the District, the tribal community is still devoid of basic amenities.

 

Reaching Fulwari ki Naal from Udaipur by road doesn’t take more than 2 or 2.5 hours but once you reach there, it feels as if you have travelled back several decades in the past. The villages are underdeveloped, communities live on whatever meager income they earn and the biggest victims of this whole situation are the children.

 

When everyday struggles are hard to bear, the first among the children who have to drop out of schools to support their families are girls. Thus, making the lives of these tribal girls much worse. Without proper education, they remain dependent on their male family members for entire lives.

 

Access to good-quality education remains one of the biggest challenges in Rajasthan till date. And, in tribal areas like Fulwari ki Naal, the challenges are magnanimous in nature. There cannot be long-term deliberations and gradual efforts to bring a change. What is needed is an immediate intervention to ensure a safe future for the present generation. This gap is being filled by Shrushti Seva Samiti, a grassroots organisation which has been actively working in the state since last 20 years, and their funding partners IIFL Foundation.

 

Making an intervention

Kavi Kumari of Khatibor village had accepted her fate after she was forced to drop out of school and help her mother with daily household chores at the age of 9. Before this, she was enrolled in a regular government school like other children in her community but things changed after her father was arrested in a false case.

 

Apart from her parents, Kavi has two siblings and the responsibility of taking care of them fell on her shoulders. Members of an indigenous tribe of South Rajasthan, the family used to survive on whatever they could earn by tilling a small piece of agricultural land they had.

 

To compensate for losses and shortage of supplies, her parents also worked as daily wage labourers. After her father’s arrest, the family found it hard to even manage a proper meal.

 

A new ray of hope emerged after her father got released from jail but by then Kavi had lost the will to start studying again. During a baseline survey, members of Shrushti came in contact with her family and did their best to persuade them.

 

 

 

After a ‘Sakhiyo ki Badi’ learning center was opened in their village in April 2017, Kavi finally gathered the courage to start again. Within a year, she has now learnt basics of mathematics, Hindi, and English.

 

Looking at the progress and commitment of SKB teachers, her parents are now urging them to help Kavi get an admission in a government school. For members of Shrushti and IIFL, it is an opportunity to bring someone’s life on track and they are working hard to make it possible.

 

IIFL and Shrushti

For both Shrushti and IIFL their partnership has been an opportunity to transform thousands of lives. This journey began with a pilot project which paved way for the launch of Phase I of ‘Sakhiyo ki Badi’ project in two blocks of South Rajasthan’s Udaipur.

 

Within a short period, the organization directly impacted the lives of 3,500 tribal girls through the learning centers. Looking at the response and bigger challenges lying ahead, 300 more such schools were established under the Phase II of the project. With this, the number of girls studying in the Sakhiyo ki Badi learning centers reached 12,500.

 

“Sakhiyo ki Badi –Girl Education programme is for those tribal girls who are either irregular, drop out or never enrolled. Major challenge was to tackle problems which were the reason for drop out like goat rearing, household chores, guardians’ ignorance, caring of younger siblings and elders like grandparents, scattered habitat and difficult terrain. Shrushti believes these problems can’t be avoided so we planned our program keeping that in mind and flexibility had become a foundation stone like flexibility in timing, flexibility in hiring best locally available resource, flexibility in infrastructure, flexibility in teaching curriculum etc.,” says Ravi Singh Baghel, CEO, Shrushti Seva Samiti.

 

A long experience

Providing better education facilities in the state of Rajasthan was always a dream of Mr. Naresh Madawat, the founder and director of Srushti. He started working on the issue even before the organization came into existence. Having taken part in several conferences, movements and agitations, he knew that to bring about a change, it will be necessary to go and work on the ground.

 

 

“Shrushti is a dream of some like-minded people who want an equal and just society for vulnerable and marginalized sections of the society. With this thought, among every project we opt for execution or plan, education remains the primary focus. And Girl Education is the need of the nation because when one girl is educated, her whole family is influenced and leads a healthy life. In Hindi we say “एक लड़की पढ़ेगी, 7 पीढ़ी तरेगी”, and this is the philosophy which inspires us to initiate more such projects,” he says.

 

This conviction and belief in their core principles helped the organization to sail through the initial struggle period and then work with different agencies on projects that range from health, environment, women empowerment, infrastructure, agriculture to menstrual hygiene.

 

On the other hand, for IIFL foundation, they have found a trustworthy partner to implement their flagship program in South Rajasthan. Over the period, Shrushti members have introduced several innovations in the classrooms which were adopted by IIFL to be implemented in other centers too.

 

Meanwhile, for girls like Kavi, these community schools are like a blessing in disguise. Perhaps, some of them go on to complete their school education and even opt for higher education in the future. If even one girl from a small tribal village becomes empowered, it can have an impact on the entire community.

 


Impact-Story is a series on development and CSR interventions leading to some impacts on the ground. If you have a project, innovation or intervention that has changed the lives of a few people or a community, please share a brief note at csr@ngobox.org. Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage. 

Author

Namit is a writer, editor and educator. He has worked as a journalist in prominent newsrooms in India and has also been a Gandhi Fellow. Currently, he works as a freelancer

 

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