We have a gentle request to make. We want you to help a loving community of Nat Tribe in sending their little daughters to an English medium smart school.
India is a home to over 200 nomadic communities for centuries. These communities never believed in owning the land, moved freely, and shared news and stories of one place to another. Their nature centric life held a faith that nature needs healing and shall be given time to regenerate its resources. These communities were criminalized by British colonial rule. The stigma they still bear (I recommend you to watch Neena Gupta's movie 'The last color’ and Jai Bhim’ to relate with their lives). They are now known as Denotified Nomadic Communities.
Throughout the country, these communities have started settling over the years. But they are not accepted by the village society that firmly believes in the caste system. They are mostly given some barren land to build their settlement far from the rest of the village. Due to extreme poverty and fear of sexual violence by the dominant caste mostly when they go to fetch fodder for the cattle, the girls are married as soon as they reach puberty.
Few of the children attend the government primary school but they experience untouchability and caste-based bullying. During cotton harvest season, families collectively migrate to Punjab, leaving the oldest family members at the settlement. All our children are seasonal migrant farm child-laborers. Even if some children succeed to pass the primary, by the time they reach junior school they start to lose interest in studies due to regular bullying at government school with fewer resources and teachers to safeguard the dignity of these children.
We believe that support for the children from the very beginning by providing good, sustained education and health care will eventually enable the community to break the chains of systemic marginalization and have upward mobility in society.
We run an education centre in a Nat community settlement in village Sakraya, District Mathura, U.P. We call it ‘Savitri ka Vidya Bagh’ , inspired by the work of Pioneer Educationist change-maker couple Mahatma Savitri and Jotiba Phule. We aim to enroll all children between the age of 2-18 in government run educational institution and provide modern learning aid needs at Vidya Bagh. We read stories and poems, learn basic science and art skills together. We have enrolled 17 children from Vidya Bagh (14 girls- 3 boys) in Orchid Smart Primary School, Vrindavan. These 17 Children are already role-models for the rest of the children in the community. The school is 12kms far from the village. An auto driver from the community does the pick-up and drop-off. There are several school on their way, but none would let them in while embracing them fully without caste-bias.
So far we have found sponsors who want to provide longitudinal financial support for 7 children. While we are trying to connect with potential sponsors for 10 children. We need you to help us raise fund. The total cost for 17 children per month is 85,000 out of which we can at present can afford 35,000. ( The link says 13, but we need help for 10 children, because we found 3 more long term sponsors)