By Dr. Corinne Taylor-Smith | Project Leader
Tigers4Ever Education Packs for Bandhavgarh's Kids
Thank you for your amazing support throughout 2022. Your donations have helped us to provide education packs for another 250 children living with wild tigers bringing the total for 2022 to 700 children helped. This makes a huge difference to the rural Indian families whose children lost so many educational opportunities whilst the schools suffered extended closures during and after the COVID pandemic. Our attempts to resurrect the pop-up nature schools in rural villages for children without access to state schools continues to be hampered by a lack of volunteer teachers, so we continue to look for new solutions to help. Your generosity means that another 250 children have education packs with essential writing materials so they can learn to read, write and protect their forest home and give wild tigers a wild future.
Time for Change
The lack of education in some of the rural communities around Bandhavgarh has been a concern for some time. This year we have witnessed an increase in human wildlife conflict, injuries and even deaths due to a lack of understanding of basic safety protocols and an increased dependency on scarce forest resource. Human-Elephant conflict is very high as the wild elephants continue to raid crops, destroy buildings and attack whatever is in their path. Historically, there were no wild elephants in Bandhavgarh, until mining activity in the neighbouring state of Chhattisgarh drove these magnificent animals from their native home into pastures new. It’s little wonder that they have a dislike of humans given their reason for arriving in Bandhavgarh. Nonetheless, if the elephants, like the wild tigers, are to have long term futures in Bandhavgarh, it is essential that the human and wildlife communities can live together in harmony.
In order to improve both education and safety, plus restore harmony where human-wildlife conflict exists, we are now working towards producing safety and awareness handouts to be issued by our anti-poaching patrols when they encounter humans in the forest. These simple handouts will provide advice in pictures, Hindi and English, for animal encounters including tigers, leopards, elephants and snakes. It is hoped that the villagers will in time recognise the words as well as the images and take notice of safety notices posted at the entrances to the forest. By saving human lives, we can reduce the risk of retaliatory attacks on wildlife and thus maintain the ecological balance.
More Educational Resources Too
In July 2022, we received a pledge from a corporate partner to donate £15000 in lieu of Global Tiger Day, to assist our efforts to give wild tigers a wild future. Thus far we have received donations of £7500 towards our waterhole project (https://goto.gg/34315) and a further £2500 towards our education projects, which has been a tremendous help in these challenging times. We are now in discussions as to how the final donation of £5000 will help and which project will benefit. As always, we will ensure that we can achieve the maximum benefit for the wild tigers’ future, whichever project is chosen.
The latest distribution of 250 education packs was undertaken in conjunction with open days at state run schools in four villages. It offered children in the villages a chance to go to the schools and meet potential new friends, whilst helping to ensure that the children already attending the schools had the basic reading and writing materials to enable them to continue their schooling. Future donations of educational resources will continue to explore new initiatives to ensure the best outcomes for reducing human-wildlife conflict.
The Record so Far
When the most recent donation of 250 education packs took place it increased the number of villages where Tigers4Ever has helped children living with wild tigers to 30. It also took the number of children helped to 3015, something which seemed almost impossible this time last year.
We want to continue this valuable project across as many villages as possible and to help all the children who otherwise wouldn’t have chance to go to school. In order to do this we will need to raise funds for many more education packs. If you’re able to help us do this, please donate now at: https://goto.gg/32565, even the smallest donation can have a big impact in the lives of these children.
Although we couldn’t help every child in need this year, we have helped to prevent at least 700 children missing out on schooling by ensuring that the education packs we’ve distributed benefited children in these three key age groups:
- Early learners – Aged 4 – 7 years
- Junior learners – Aged 8 – 11 years
- Older learners – Aged 11 – 14 years
For every £1400 (US$1800) we raise, we aim to send 450 children living with wild tigers to school. We will try to distribute this evenly across the three age groups with one third of the packs for each. We will continue to distribute all education packs in the hardest hit villages, and will try to raise further funds so that we can also help the pop-up schools when these resume. (https://goto.gg/32565).
Making a Difference
Another 250 children who didn’t have access to remote learning due to poverty, no electricity and lack of technology throughout the schools’ lockdown now have the opportunity to start or resume their education, thanks to your generosity. If you are able to help us help more children to have an education and become tiger protectors rather than foragers, please consider a new monthly donation as it’s never too late to make a difference: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/education-saves-tigers/?show=recurring.
Thankfully, due to your amazing support and donations we’ve provided education packs to support the learning of 250 children, this time. Sadly, there are still thousands more children who desperately need your help! https://goto.gg/32565
Long Term Impact - Help is Still Needed
Our experience has shown us over the last 12 years, that without education, the prospects for the poorest children will be limited to picking tendu leaves, mahua flowers, amla fruit, from the forest to sell. Others will chop down trees and clear precious forest habitat to create more land for agriculture. Children from the poorest families still have no access to online learning facilities, as they live without electricity or access to technology. https://goto.gg/32565
Your support for our work is amazing. We definitely couldn’t keep wild tigers safe without it. As the world tries to rebuild its lives, we hope that we can provide a brighter future for some of Bandhavgarh’s poorest children. If you can help to support the education of Bandhavgarh’s poorest rural children by starting a new monthly recurring donation from just £5 (US$8) per month, you will make a huge difference for at least 15 children in a year: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/education-saves-tigers/?show=recurring.
In Bandhavgarh, for the thousands of young children with no access to schooling, without computers or mobile phones, without electricity in their homes, a bleak future awaits. These are the children who Tigers4Ever has always tried to help with books and basic writing materials which give them hope. With your help we give them a chance to go to school which otherwise they may not have.
You Can Make a Difference Today
We want to ensure that the poorest children get a chance to complete their education. We want to do more but we need your help to provide education packs so children can go to school right now. Your donation of £25 (US$40) can make that happen for at least 5 children right now: https://goto.gg/32565.
Remember: when we provide education packs and scholarships for children living with wild tigers we are reducing the risk of future tiger habitat destruction AND ensuring that these children have the opportunity to become future tiger protectors.
For those who are celebrating during the festive season, I hope that your celebrations are happy and peaceful, thank you for all your support in 2022. I hope that 2023 will bring a better year for all: Happy New Year.
I would like to thank you for your generosity and support on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping safe; on behalf of the children who we have helped to get an education (and their families who have food because of this help); and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing books and writing equipment for inclusion in the education packs which we distribute. Stay Safe.
A Young Boy with his Tigers4Ever Education Pack
Seasons greetings from Tigers4Ever