SEED (Society for Socio Economic and Ecological Development) has formally inaugurated the first ever school for socially excluded Lodha tribe in Sundarban’s Sagar Island on 5th June, 2014 on World Environment Day. The school building in Radhakrishnapur village of Rudrangar GP area was inaugurated by local MLA Sri Bankim Chandra Hazra, who is also the Chairman of Sundarban Development Board.
Director of SEED, Mr. Bhabananda Chatterjee addressed the school children on this occasion and explained them the importance of keeping our surrounding environment clean and safe. He taught them how they can contribute in their way in keeping the environment safe. He also enlightened the kids and their parents about the necessity of biodiversity conservation in Sundarban islands.
To involve the kids in environment related issues, a plantation programme was also organised. Mr. Hazra started the planting programmed which was followed by other special guests and the students of the school. To raise awareness among the children a ‘Sit & Draw’ session was organised on the theme of climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation.
Lodha tribe is considered one of the vulnerable primitive tribe of India. They are usually neglected by the mainstream upper class people of the Sagar Island. They usually stay away from other community people and are far from the light of education. In fact, their kids were not allowed to mix up with other community kids. However, things have changed now since last two years when SEED started a Non-formal education centre especially for the Lodha children. Initially, the school was started under a temporary shed with just a few kids.
The parents of the Lodha children were hesitant to send them to school as they wanted to follow their traditional livelihood system like catching crabs, hunting etc. However, with constant persuasion from the members of SEED, they agreed to send their children to the school. Now, the school has around 65 children, who regularly attend classes under the guidance of 4 teachers recruited by SEED.
With the support from TSA Solution, a Singapore based organisation, SEED has finally become able to construct a permanent school building for these kids. Their parents cannot afford nutritious meal for them regularly so they are also offered healthy snacks during breakfast time. Apart from regular lessons, the kids are also taught in singing, dancing, drawing and other extracurricular activities. The kids enjoy the joyful learning and physical exercises taught to them. SEED puts effort to promote these children to the formal government schools once they get basic education from here.
Apart from the Lodha kids, the school has become able to attract the children of other economically backward communities. They feel their children will have a stronger education base if they start their schooling from here.
On this auspicious day, the poor children of Lodha tribe and other economically backward class children were distributed new bags and pencil boxes with the support from Dollar Industries Ltd. The kids also presented their talent in dancing, singing, reciting and storytelling. Mr. Hazra was quite impressed with the children and promised to extend his support to them in future.