Bolpur, Birbhum

IKP Foundation supporting organization: Society for Equitable Voluntary Actions

About 25.2% of the Indian population are considered as either scheduled castes (SC 16.6%) or scheduled tribes (ST 8.6%). Some live in the district of Birbhum, West Bengal, particularly around Santiniketan, Bolpur, a tourist town in Birbhum. The town is known for the cultural activities of Bengal.

Tribal dance in Santiniketan, Birbhum

The people of the SC and ST communities support the tourist industry by providing low-wage labor and household services. The town is expanding rapidly, moving local people out of their places where they lived for generations. Additionally, the economic and social disparity between the migrating middle class and the local people changed minimally over the decades. Most of them are poor and do not have any first-generation school education. However, the Federal and State Governments are trying their best to minimize the differences.

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A group of volunteers from the Society for Equitable Voluntary Actions (SEVA) extended their services to the SC and ST community by offering educational coaching (grades I-V) to the children. The coaching is to help the children to do better in the tuition-free public schools and minimize dropouts. Local “Gram Panchayet” (village union) or community members offered space at no cost. A total number of 150 students from ten villages received help from this program. An average of fourteen students per center is preferred so that all coaching centers are within walking distance of the children.

An unfinished place for coaching

Project progress: Members of the IKP Foundation visited all ten centers in March 2022 and found the children highly motivated keeping teachers constantly engaged. Class attendance over the year is more than 95%.

IKP Foundation supports: Coaching 150 children in ten villages and preparing them to continue their education in school.