Education is the biggest weapon to win the battle against poverty CJP fellow Ripon Sheikh speaks to inspiring Adivasis of Bengal

29, Dec 2020 | Mohammed Ripon Sheikh

This report is part of CJP’s Grassroots Fellowship Program, and has been written by researcher Ripon Sheikh, who is travelling around rural Bengal, tracking and documenting social and cultural movements of indigenous people. For this report, he meets inspirational citizens who are working to educate members of the Adivasi communities they themselves belong to, leading by example and showing the world that it just takes determination and dedication to make a difference.

“Education is the backbone of the nation, it can take a society from darkness to light, to show a new direction of struggle,” says Mahesh Kisku who is a graduate from the Burdwan University . A sentiment also echoed by his friends and colleagues Mithun Murmu who is a post graduate from Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan, Aloka Tutu who is an entrepreneur and Pargana Hansda of Birbhum district.

CJP’s Grassroots Fellowship Program aims at empowering young men and women, from the communities we work closely with, including migrant workers, Dalits, Adivasis, forest workers among other disadvantaged people, to report on issues closest to their hearts and home. Please Donate Now to empower our grassroots fellows.

To give back to their community and society in a way that can change their lives for the better, Mahesh, Aloka, and Mithun have started the Karmu Dharmu Mission and Coaching Center in the Mohammad Bazar area of the district. They ensure educational support for around a 100 boys and girls from the tribal community, all the students enrolled are educated up to eighth grade free of cost.

Aloka, who is a self taught entrepreneur, in fact even shares some of her earnings to help fund the centres. She has shown the community, especially the children of the tribal community how to use the mantra of self-reliance to make their dreams a reality. The group has ensured that these children of the tribal community do not have to wander around like nomads, and can now learn many things that will one day power them to stand on their own feet.

According to Pargana Hansda, “There are many people from the tribal community whose documents have many errors. Hence we are often harassed when we go to various government departments. Our community is being deprived of various government facilities and grants because of these faulty documents. Getting a government loan requires a government employee’s ‘guarantee’ but no one comes to stand by our side. As a result we are being deprived of government loans and our children are not able to become self-reliant.” The batch that is getting educated at the  Karmu Dharmu Mission and Coaching Center, will hopefully change all that in the near future.

Meet CJP Grassroot Fellow Mohammed Ripon Sheikh

This young man, who has graduated with a B.Sc degree from the Burdwan University, loves trivia. Sheikh’s passion to research and seek “unknown information about World History” has earned him many medals and trophies at various University and state-level Quiz championships, and youth festivals. Sheikh is a born orator and a natural community leader. He has the potential to represent his community, state and country at a global level one day. His immediate goal, however, is to find a job so he can support his parents.

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