Winds of Change

In an isolated area marked by far and few passersby, sits the Government Lower Primary School (GLPS), in Kilaratti Tanda village of Kushtagi district. With not many sounds breaking the silence of a hot afternoon except for the occasional honking of the state roadway buses – collective voices of children reading an English rhyme comes as a breath of cool air and as much a surprise. Over 40 boys and girls sit on the ground studying together in hope of raising their literary levels and a better future.

Primarily, a home to the Lambani Tandas, Kilaratti village is sequestered in the remote area of the state where the inhabitants continue to be a close knit society with limited interaction with the world outside. Often victims of frequent migration and displacement, educa¬¬¬tion was never a catalyst for change until recently. Today at this school, for the children of Lambani Tandas, learning is a joyful experience and education a meaningful process. However, the attitudinal shift and the resulting transformation did not occur overnight. So what changed? How did GLPS, become a nurturing school for the tribal children where potential and promise is emphasized as opposed to problems and challenges? How did a tribe, neglected for years came to recognize the culture of education and sustain it in a tribal milieu? Here are some answers to these questions…

Common Goal 
Addressing an issue as complex as socio-economic development of tribal children through education requires a collective vision and effort. The seeds for change germinated once the Lambani Tandas, the school staff, partners like Akshara Foundation and the local community had a common goal that clearly articulated the need for educating the children in the village. The same goal now works as the much needed inspiration and generates motivation among the Tandas to not only send their children to school but even track their progress.

Let’s Connect
One of the key drivers of change, for this school has been the willingness of the school reps and the community to connect for meaningful outcomes. Moving beyond limited resources, numerous collaborative partnerships with a gamut of stakeholders were formed to catalyze comprehensive community-wide action leading to transformational change. A clear indication of a participatory approach towards education which engages even the seemingly unlikely partners generates a renewed sense of what is possible and can be achieved.

Surprising… but support flowed from various quarters to drive the desired change at this school. To boot, it came in multiple forms. The teachers at the school were trained by Akshara Foundation in English and Maths skills. Training and learning material kits for Maths and English were provided to the teachers and children. The community including Dist coordinator, Taluka coordinator, the CRPs, HMs, SDMC , Gram Panchayat and the local youth also came together to organize camps for the school children. In addition to this an over-riding element of support that fuelled the transformation was the shared willingness to usher in change. The vision received the support of everyone.

Last but not the least a critical element in driving this change has been an increased level of acceptance rather than resistance on resentment. A culture of education now runs through this village inhabited by the Lambani Tandas with an acceptance of responsibility of having to educate their children.

 For a tribal community reticent towards the outside world, sending their children to school indicates openness to the winds of change. In the days to come the love of learning among the children will help them achieve a lot for themselves and their community. 

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