Jan Sewa Samarpan
An effort to work with PVTGs across areas of education, health, employment, and infrastructure, with education at the forefront
Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) are the marginalized section of the Scheduled Tribes of India. They are a section who are relatively isolated, educationally and socioeconomically backward, living in a habitat far away from amenities.
While the government has specifically created this classification with the purpose of alleviating their needs and concerns, their development has been lagging for decades now. There have been numerous government schemes that have been aimed at elevating their living conditions, but the effect of these schemes is not always visible within these communities. Either they have not reached to them or they are implemented only partially, owing to systemic challenges.
Of the PVTGs in Jharkhand, the Parahiyas belong to the 'Australoid' (Santhal - Munda) group of tribals. They were nomadic groups till 3-4 generations (about 70 years) ago. All the hills, forests, were theirs.
However, there are no specific lands, hills, forests that have been allotted to them by the government. (Most of their settlements/hamlets are illegal colonies as per government records).
For the government and the civilized society, they are illegal occupants of government/forest land. Often, many of them are jailed for occupying/cultivating government land. The land they occupy is generally barren/waste/non-productive land. These people are not good agriculturists. Parahiyas live in poverty, depending on forest produce and MNREGA. Parahiya children have no habit or inclination to attend a school or to study.
Jan Sewa Samarpan (JSS) was registered as a society in 2004 in Ranchi. The Society is managing a small (mainly Santhal tribals’) school in Hazaribagh while taking up multiple issues pertaining to PVTGs across areas of education, health, employment, and infrastructure, with education at the forefront. The Birsa Munda High School and hostel at Janho-Barwaiya, is managed by ""Birsa Education Trust"", an affiliated organisation, which was registered in November 2019. Markose is the “alive and kicking” heart behind all these initiatives. Markose has been working in Jharkhand as a teacher and social/rights/developmental activist for nearly 40 years. In his efforts to reach out to the most needy/vulnerable to bring about social and economic changes through education in many villages in Hazaribagh and Simdega districts, these organisational frameworks act as levers of change. His empathy and endeavor to be with the poorest and work for/with them and share in their simple living is truly inspiring. Educating the unreached continues to be his life’s work.
One must note that the efforts involved in the transformation process of even a single Parahiya child in the community are huge and involve closely working with the community and being a voice of hope that they can rely on and trust. Along with a team of volunteer teachers, JSS managed to motivate about 50 of them to attend school. When they planned to take 20 Parahiya children to a hostel, 48 of them reported. Right now that number has increased to about a hundred children. Irrespective of the amount of money he actually has to care for the Parahiya children, no child or guardian who turns up at the doors of the school is sent back.
Go2C raised INR 1.3 Lakhs to plan an exposure visit for 16 teachers and 2 accompanying staff of the 2 tribal schools from Jharkhand to Kerala. We also brought in People4People, an NGO which provides fixed play facilities for children to sponsor these for one of the 2 schools at Birsa. About 100 Parahiya children and a few other tribal (Oraon & Kherwar) children enjoy the play facilities. Go2C is also in the process of working with Biren Buta, ex-CSR Head of Tata Steel, to help bring in partners to support the education of PVTG girl children and others for whom the idea of a study hostel is being translated into action. As of now, about 8 of them have secured a scholarship of INR 7000 each. Recently, Go2C also helped the school get a laptop towards use for the learning of students and the school office.