The project will fund a rural alternative learning space which allows tribal children to take charge of their education. With the help of the community, we will offer lessons on traditional livelihoods, academic subjects geared toward re-entry to mainstream education if the child chooses, and life skills development. This will be a free learning space entirely dictated by the children with adults acting only as facilitators. This initiative will revitalize local pride and joy of learning.
Tribal communities come from a long history of marginalization. As India modernizes, tribal societies have found their livelihoods and culture threatened resulting in migration to cities for survival. Within cities, they face further alienation due to oppressive caste systems and negative stereotypes. Furthermore, as first generation learners, tribal children's parents often don't see the benefit of education in relation to having their children work alongside them, bringing in income.
In order to preserve pride in local culture, while still allowing tribal children to learn and benefit from the life and academic skills of modern India, an innovative educational model is necessary. This will require the inclusion of local community members planning activities, local language and learning materials which incorporate tribal culture. Rather than assimilation, a happy coexistence of tribal and popular culture is key to creating a supportive learning environment.
By 2023, 200 children within Aaranyak will have acquired age appropriate self design learning skills, life skills, literacy skills, and an understanding of local to global development and environmental issues. Tribal children would exhibit increased self-confidence and self-designed learning skills. Bonds within their community will be strengthened. Tribal communities, ashram shalas, and progressive schools would be enlightened to environmental preservation and sustainable living.
This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).