Tribal empowerment through education
Grooming the Tribal Children through quality education and their overall growth
How it all started
It all began in 1998 a boarding for the tribal children (Bhils) accommodated in our campus and they were going to the government school nearby for their education. But then, since the number was in the increase and in 2002, the then DEO visited once our campus and he himself advised us to start a school. This was the similar request made by the parents as well for quite some time because of the insufficient quality in education in government school. Therefore Fr. Adaikalasamy SVD wanted to begin the school primarily for the education of these tribals in the local language. But then the provincial council did not extend their support initially. Therefore the matter was taken up in the local chapter in 2003 and in the year 2004 the classes were held in the existing old premises. But then with the support of some benefactors and funding agencies Fr. Adaikalasamy was successful in building up the hostel building for boys and then the present structure of the school building. At present we have 441 children studying till 8th standard. In the beginning of this academic year, we wanted to start the high school section but then due to the delay in getting the permit we could not start immediately. But then, we started 8th standard after having received the go-ahead from the education department.
THE CHALLENGES AHEAD: Though we have started the 8th standard still we could not get the required permission because of some legal problem. Primarily it is because the trust does not have any land of its own. The present school premise is on the land of meager 1 acre. But then for the high school section we have to convert the play ground from agricultural land into NA land. The matter has been repeatedly brought up before the provincial council but then the council has not replied positively for financial assistance since it involves a considerable amount. Also the present government is not so positive towards Christian institution being in the middle of tribal setup therefore they are delaying our permit for the high school section. In spite of all these hurdles Fr. Adaikalasamy SVD is still trying his level best to overcome these odds and to get the school going. We really wish that the Provincial council is really supportive of this venture. Another important concern is about the financial maintenance of the school. Till today we are able to pay the salary to the teachers because of the help from the Province. We are aware of the financial constraints of the province but then the students of these poor tribals are unable to pay the huge sum, they are paying nearly Rs. 250 per annum towards the education in the school and towards the hostel they are paying Rs. 1500. Now that the help we have been receiving from CRS is stopped, we don’t know how to go ahead to feed so many children who really want to study but then they are poor. If we increase the amount only those who are rich will be able to pay and we may have to neglect the poor and the needy children who otherwise have nowhere to go. Still we have planned to increase the amount and we expect that the society needs to support in this noble venture at least for some more years at least. Within four years of starting the school we have nearly some thirty children from nearby villages as day scholars and we hope to win their confidence in the future in order to increase the number of day scholars and to reduce the boarding children. Another important concern is about the infrastructure. At present we have some seven class rooms in the ground floor and already it has reached the high school and therefore we may need in the near future some additional infrastructure, and therefore we may have to build the first floor as well. It may also involve some financial assistance from the Province as well. Right now we have a Sister from Prabhudasi Congregation as the Principal of our school. The sisters are in a way oriented towards getting more money as a salary and the performance of the school is not up to the mark. Therefore sooner or later we feel that the society can send some young confrere who knows Gujarati or who is ready to learn Gujarati as well qualified to be the principal of the school.
Fr. Adaikalasamy T.L SVD
Fr. James Simon SVD
Br. Kishore Toppo SVD was appointed to Muvalia to assist Fr. Joseph Mangalath SVD in the newly established station.
The annual day celebrations of Matruchaya Adivasi Pratmicshala, Muvalia, was held on 17th of January 2011. The celebrations began with a prayer dance to invoke the blessings of the Almighty. As a symbol of paying homage to our mother land and to restore the dignity of the mother earth and humanity, the traditional Indian lamp was lit by the Chief Guest, Most Rev. Devprasad Ganawa SVD SVD, Bishop of Jhabua, Guest of Honour, Dr. M. Bhaskaran, Railway Hospital, Dahod, Fr. Charles Amritaraj SVD, Principal of St. Arnold’s School, Godhra, and other distinguished guests. A large number of audience; parents, relatives, friends added colour to the occasion. The children held the audience engrossed from the start to the end with their heart throbbing performances and colourful costumes as they presented Gujarathi, Rajasthani, Jharkhandi, Tamil and western dances.
The power point presentation of the school activities and achievements added colour to the occasion. The Principal, Sr. Sujata PSA, presented the school report; tracing the progress made by the school in the last two years of its existence. She said that the main purpose of starting this school was to make good education facilities available for the tribal people of the area and noted that there are 474 students attending the school. The prizes for all round proficiency were presented by the Chief Guest. At the end of the cultural show, a wonderful fusion of eastern and western music and dance was presented by the senior boys and girls brought to end the Annual Function to a grand finale.
Name of the Confreres
Post / Assignment
Fr. T.L Adaikalasamy
Matru Chhaya, Adivsi School
Fr. Maria Paulraj