SEED (Society for Socio Economic andEcological Development) has formally inaugurated the first ever school forsocially excluded Lodha tribe in Sundarban’s Sagar Island on 5th June,2014 on World Environment Day. The school building in Radhakrishnapur villageof Rudrangar GP area was inaugurated by local MLA Sri Bankim Chandra Hazra, whois also the Chairman of Sundarban Development Board.
Director of SEED, Mr. BhabanandaChatterjee addressed the school children on this occasion and explained themthe importance of keeping our surrounding environment clean and safe. He taughtthem how they can contribute in their way in keeping the environment safe. Healso enlightened the kids and their parents about the necessity of biodiversityconservation in Sundarban islands.
To involve the kids in environmentrelated issues, a plantation programme was also organised. Mr. Hazra startedthe planting programmed which was followed by other special guests and thestudents of the school. To raise awareness among the children a ‘Sit &Draw’ session was organised on the theme of climate change adaptation andbiodiversity conservation.
Lodha tribe is considered one of thevulnerable primitive tribe of India. They are usually neglected by themainstream upper class people of the Sagar Island. They usually stay away fromother community people and are far from the light of education. In fact, theirkids were not allowed to mix up with other community kids. However, things havechanged now since last two years when SEED started a Non-formal educationcentre especially for the Lodha children. Initially, the school was startedunder a temporary shed with just a few kids.
The parents of the Lodha children werehesitant to send them to school as they wanted to follow their traditionallivelihood system like catching crabs, hunting etc. However, with constantpersuasion from the members of SEED, they agreed to send their children to theschool. Now, the school has around 65 children, who regularly attend classesunder the guidance of 4 teachers recruited by SEED.
With the support from TSA Solution, aSingapore based organisation, SEED has finally become able to construct apermanent school building for these kids. Their parents cannot affordnutritious meal for them regularly so they are also offered healthy snacks duringbreakfast time. Apart from regular lessons, the kids are also taught insinging, dancing, drawing and other extracurricular activities. The kids enjoythe joyful learning and physical exercises taught to them. SEED puts effort topromote these children to the formal government schools once they get basiceducation from here.
Apart from the Lodha kids, the schoolhas become able to attract the children of other economically backwardcommunities. They feel their children will have a stronger education base ifthey start their schooling from here.
On this auspicious day, the poorchildren of Lodha tribe and other economically backward class children weredistributed new bags and pencil boxes with the support from Dollar IndustriesLtd. The kids also presented their talent in dancing, singing, reciting andstorytelling. Mr. Hazra was quite impressed with the children and promised toextend his support to them in future.