Supporting the children of a small village of Adivasi (indigenous people) near the school library in Garharipur (West Bengal/India)
‘We care’ began to support the children of the small Adivasi village of Santhal Para (West Bengal/India) in 2012.
Adivasi children from the village of Santhal Para in West Bengal
The Adivasi (indigenous people) are outside the Indian caste system but like the “lowest” in this system – the Dalit, “the untouchables” – they are marginalised and humiliated. On the occasion of India's independence in 1948, the caste system was abolished, but centuries-old systems cannot be eliminated with the stroke of a pen. Especially in rural areas the caste system is still deeply rooted. For example, the Adivasi of Santhal Para are not allowed to use the wells of the Indian farmers on whose rice fields they work. Just by using it they would – like the Dalit – pollute the water according to the caste system. (More information about the Adivasi can be found here.)
After long negotiations with the Indian farmers in the neighboring village of Takasol, they agreed to allow the Adivasi children to attend the village school, in return, their own children – as well as the Adivasi children – received remedial education.
For the construction of a building, the Indian farmers provided ‘we care’ with a plot of land in Takasol free of charge. They actively helped with the construction and in return received the right to use the building for village meetings and other events.
In the following years, three teachers taught about 80 children in two daily shifts. Each child who attended school received a small snack as a motivation. Once a month, a doctor examined the children, vaccinated them, and treated them if they were sick. For almost all children it was the first time that they were examined by a doctor.
Unfortunately, the project could not be further supported financially by ‘we care Switzerland’ (the reasons for this you can read in the PDF mentioned at the beginning) and the school had to be closed at the end of 2019 to our great regret.
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