Mission statement

The goal is to prepare some model students in our villages, so that others will be inspired to follow them.

The foundation supports projects by and for tribal communities seeking to showcase their own cultural heritage; and this as citizens of a democratic and secular country. It promotes cultural awareness in conjunction with literacy programmes and health care.

We are so much more than that. We follow a tradition rich in music, dance and love. – Swarnalatha, who now runs an NGO that works for the upliftment for people of her tribal Irula community (known for their snake-catching skills), quoted in “Irulas much more than a community of snake catchers” timesofindia.indiatimes.com (23 February 2018)

More women in tribal communities deserve to qualify as teachers, scholars, engineers, entrepreneurs and health professionals – to name but a few of the career choices available to their “mainstream” peers today. Making informed choices is the key to their standing in the modern world. | Learn more on tribal migration and economic growth >>

At the heart of all the violations of our human rights has been the failure to respect our integrity, and the insistence on speaking for us, defining our needs and controlling our lives. – Karbi leader Dharamsing Teron [1]

Showcasing tribal culture is bound to benefit young people from other cultural backgrounds as well. This strengthens cultural diversity as enshrined in the Indian constitution and affirmed in the United Nations 2007 declaration that brought to an end nearly 25 years of contentious negotiations over the rights of native people to protect their lands and resources, and to maintain their unique cultures and traditions. [2]

Such values also underly Unesco’s programmes such as the Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mankind [3]:

The term ‘cultural heritage’ has changed content considerably in recent decades, partially owing to the instruments developed by UNESCO. Cultural heritage does not end at monuments and collections of objects. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts.

While fragile, intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization. An understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life.


[1] Teron, Dharamsing. Reclaiming the Ancestors’ Voices: Karbi Studies Vol. 2. Guwahati: Book Hive, 2011; quoted by Meenaxi Barkataki-Ruscheweyh in Performing Ethnicity to Resist Marginalisation: The Tangsa in Assam. PhD thesis. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit, 2015 (p. 220); for articles related to the latter’s field work, please check https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/4302 & https://asianstudies.arnold-bergstraesser.de/en/node/127827.

[2] UN Department of Public Information (New York, 13 September 2007)
Date Visited: 29 March 2011

[3] What is Intangible Cultural Heritage? (Unesco homepage)
Date Visited: 15 May 2011


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