01 Jul 2014 - 30 Jun 2015
01 Jul 2014 - 30 Jun 2015
Odisha is home to 62 tribal groups, including 13 primitive tribal groups. As per the 2011 census, 22.8% of the total population comprise of Scheduled Tribes (ST). The STs in Odisha are the most marginalized and deprived group, with over 72% of the population living below the poverty line. The status of education amongst the children from tribal communities in the state is abysmally poor. The state has the highest percentage of out-of-school children between ages 6 to 14 in India. While there has been a significant improvement in the proportion of children from socially marginalized groups enrolling in schools, persistent gaps remain with regards to retention and quality of education. The drop-out rate – leaving school before completing Grade 8 - for tribal children is 62.9%, compared to a national average of 48.8%. In the state of Odisha, the dropout rate is the highest in the district of Mayurbhanj.
Damadar Singh Bari is an eight year old boy, studying in four in Bagdafa Primary School. He was enrolled in the school in 2012. After appearing for his exams, he didn’t returned back for his studies. Our language teacher, Mr. Jamadar Singh noticed this and enquired about his absence from his fellow friends. After this, he came to know that Damadar has been forced by his parents to work as a bonded labourer for 1 year in their nearby village called Baula. The teacher was really concerned for the child and, therefore, decides to visit his parents.
Damadar's own village, Baragadia, is located 5 kms away from the school. The village is surrounded with dense forests and does not have a proper road commutation. On the very first day of his visit, the teacher could not find his parents because they had gone to forests for collecting leaves. He decided to meet some of his neighbors and informed them that he would come to visit them the next day. When the teacher went to Damadar's house on next day, his father welcomed him. He immediately asked the reason for Damadar's absence in school. The father replied that this year they had incurred heavy loss in farming and there is nothing to eat. They have only one bullock and they needed another one for agricultural work. For this he was forced to send his child for work till February, 2014. However, he assured the teacher that after Damadar returns, he would regularly send him to school without fail.
The teacher tried to convince the father about the importance of education. He also convinced him about the provision of right to education act and the facilities like free uniform, books and even mid day meal. He has shared that after the completion of education; Damadar can work in a good place and even earn more. His father realized his mistake and assured that after Damadar returns he would surely send him to school regularly.
From March, 2014, Damadar is regularly coming to school. Damadar has secured B grade in the school assessment and the teacher is very happy about his progress.