Growing awareness among parents on the need to educate their children – Tamil Nadu

P. S. Suresh Kumar, The Hindu, NAGERCOIL, June 1, 2012

For M. Rejitha, going to college is fraught with much anxiety. […] Belonging to the Kaani tribe, she has to make a long trek through the forest before she can reach a narrow lane where the bus halts. During rainy season, this trek becomes more arduous and reports abound of frequent movement of wild animals. On many occasions, the hapless tribals are attacked by these animals. […]

Now, due to awareness created by the administration and non-governmental organisations, many are ready to overcome these difficulties and pursue their education in towns. This change is palpable in Thottamalai, Thatchamalai, Arukani, Vellampi and Mokkarakkal kaani settlements in Kanyakumari district. The Kaani tribes live in dense jungles that form a part of the Western Ghats.

With a unique cultural heritage, this community heavily depends on forest resources for their livelihood. As a result, the literacy rate of the community was abysmal and usually girls were married as soon as they reached puberty, says environmental educator, S. S. Davidson.

There are 48 Kaani settlements, situated in and around Pechipparai and the community speaks a language called ‘Malampasha’, which is a mixture of Tamil and Malayalam.

The Tribal Foundation, an NGO working in the area, started promoting literacy, especially among the young girls.
About 60 children were provided with notebooks, uniforms and school fees. Meetings were conducted for the parents and even door-to-door campaign was launched to create awareness on the need to educate their children. The local leaders of the tribe were also roped in to spread the message.
This constant motivation has borne fruit and it was evident when K. Sangeetha of Vellampi near Keeripparai completed her plus two from Adi Dravidar Welfare Higher Secondary School, Valayathuvayal and got admission in Women’s Christian College, Nagercoil, this academic year. M. Rejitha is now doing second year Botany in the same college.
Similarly, Unni Kani of Mookarakkal is pursuing his BSc nursing at Thalakkulam. It sure seems that a bright future awaits these young tribals who have surmounted the hidden dangers of the forest.

Source: The Hindu : NATIONAL / TAMIL NADU : Education reaches the unreached in Kaani hamlets
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Date Visited: Fri Jun 08 2012 17:17:27 GMT+0200 (CEST)

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