Keonjhar: This tribal-dominated district in Odisha is known for its huge mineral reserves. However, education has taken a back seat on account of habits and lack of awareness and facilities in the hinterland of the district.
In order to address the problem of education in the tribal population, Padmashree Tulasi Munda has been running Adivasi Vikas Samiti since 1964.
The objective behind establishing Samiti was to educate the tribal children and work for their holistic development. For the efforts of Munda, thousands of tribal children got residential facility in Adivasi Vikas Samiti and were imparted education by government schools. However, providing nutritious and quality food for these inmates was a big challenge for Munda.
At that point JSPL Foundation’s team steered by Shallu Jindal who was working in that geography for improving the quality of life of the weaker section and the underprivileged assured all the residents of Adivasi Vikas Samiti belly full of food every day.
Under project ‘Sneh’, it came forward with a helping hand and stood beside Tulasi Munda. Since boiled rice being the staple food of the region, the Foundation in consultation with Munda decided to provide good quality staple rice and dal as predominant food material to the institution as per its annual requirement. The Foundation too stressed on the nutrition requirement of the Samiti’s children.
In 2011, while food material was supplied for 656 children, the number went on increasing every year and touched 1107 in 2018. In past eight years, at least 6709 inmates of the Samiti got quality food and nourishment by JSPL Foundation.
Padmashree Tulasi Munda says that had JSPL Foundation not extended the support to her endeavour; it would have been difficult to arrange food for the 1000-odd children in the Samiti. Even the basic education for these tribal children would have been a distant dream. Here at the Samiti, the children are not only taught, but given ethical education with high values to become a good human being, she added.
It is noteworthy that there is a significant 14% increase in the attendance of the students at the Samiti, informs Prashant Kumar Hota, Executive Vice President and General Secretary of JSPL Foundation.
Currently, the Adivasi Vikas Samiti stands as an institution of repute where opportunities are created for primary and secondary schooling of tribal children, who are deprived of education. In addition to this parents and students are encouraged for higher education. The Samiti also counsels the students for vocational training, higher studies and technical education and stresses on their moral character building.
The institution, established by Munda has set an example and earned name of its own. The effort of JSPL Foundation in improving malnutrition of tribal children is a testimony of its social inclusive approach to holistic development of the society.
Shallu Jindal, who is the Co Chairperson of JSPL Foundation, is pursuing her mission to reach the unreached, to mainstream the grass root level change makers and to work relentlessly for the holistic development of the underprivileged in the nooks and corner of India.