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A GOOD WEBSITE ON TRIBAL PEOPLE/TRIBAL LIFE IN ANDHRA PRADESH - INDIA - www.balamitra.org - MUST VISIT WEBSITE

A GOOD WEBSITE ON TRIBAL PEOPLE/TRIBAL LIFE IN ANDHRA PRADESH - INDIA - www.balamitra.org - MUST VISIT WEBSITE








Balamitra Badis for Adivasi Children
Dhaatri-A Resource Centre for Adivasi Education and Knowledge
Balamitra (Friends of children) Badis are small community schools for adivasi (indigenous) children who live in the hills and forests of Andhra Pradesh, India. Many Adivasi children have no access to primary education as they have to either walk long distances, crossing streams and forests or, remain illiterate.
Samata is a not-for-profit social justice organisation working for the assertion of adivasi people’s rights and their cultures. We believe that education is an important vehicle of self-assertion. Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children is the resource center of Samata for education and research into Adivasi education. Through the resource center we help adivasi communities in 40 villages across Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam districts of Andhra Pradesh run their Balamitra Badis and ensure that more than 800 children receive meaningful education.
The adivasi people who form eight percent of India’s population, live in interior forests and hills subsisting through agriculture and forest produce, based on the fundamental wisdom of nature that diversity of life on earth be maintained through sustainable utilisation of natural resources. Adivasis live in close harmony with nature and have a deep-rooted understanding of earth and its elements. They impart to their children traditional knowledge and skills that are symbiotic with their ecology. Only, the lessons are not in a class-room. Science, language, medicine, calculations, geography, philosophy, politics-they are all taught orally, spiritually, culturally and experientially.
Mainstream education is unable to live up to the depth and diversity of adivasi life. Globalisation and neo-liberal forms of education are creating a genocide of languages, cultures and knowledge. The greatest challenge of education in the adivasi context is in bringing a balance between imparting literacy skills which enable them to deal with the mainstream society, to help them gain competence to enter into mainstream professions and occupations while strengthening their cultural identities, knowledge and life skills which are so strongly linked to land and nature.
The Balamitra Badis exist for this purpose. We want every adivasi child to have the fundamental right to education. We want to redefine a school which has always been a place of terror and punishment for them. We believe in making school a joyous experience where they grow up with a strong understanding of their adivasi history, knowledge and skills. Balamitra Badis provide primary education for children between the ages of 5 and 12 with a strong focus on strengthening the mother tongue.

At the Dhaatri Resource Centre for Women and Children we have a residential school and a research and training facility. We focus on developing a contextual education for adivasi children by looking within. Our adivasi children and teachers are our primary researchers and resources for documenting their own languages, histories and sciences. We are also inspired by Steiner education and teachings and work closely with the teachers and volunteers from the Waldorf community to develop strong linkages on education for life skills.

The adivasi people’s wisdom and spirituality should not die due to the forces of corporatised education. Through our Balamitra Badis, we want to give our children a healthy education while helping them rediscover their knowledge and roots. In this harmony and joy we give hope to tomorrow’s earth.

For more information, sharing and participation in our Balamitra education please visit: www.balamitra.org or write to us at dhaatri@gmail.com

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