Educating children in Chitoor district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Project Supported by ILP Youth in 2014
(Written by Aarushi Karandikar, ILP Youth Volunteer)
This year, the ILP Youth group has chosen to concentrate its efforts on the Yanadi people, a previously nomadic tribe that resides in the Chitoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The Yanadi are among some of the first inhabitants of the Indian peninsula. They constitute the poorest of the poor, and they have no access to rights and entitlements. The ILP aims to promote higher education and reduce dropout rates among the struggling Yanadi children.
The Yanadi children themselves are destitute children. They are frequently abandoned, their parents leave to search for employment opportunities or because of frequent marriages/separations. The Yanadi children are most the neglected in the community, and they depend on their grandparents to care for them. In the absence of any caretakers, the children are forced to live on the streets, taking jobs such as cleaners or rag-pickers. This is a huge factor in the low enrollment and high dropout rate that the Yanadi face. From primary school to high school, the dropout rate is 95%, with only 2% of Yanadis completing pre-university education.
One of the major factors impacting the situation is the Yanadi women’s ignorance about the benefits of educating their children. The Yanadi women are considered an economic asset in Yanadi communities. The woman has to take care of all the domestic work and also shares the responsibility of earning a livelihood. A major problem that the Yanadi women face is their extremely high illiteracy rate – 96%. ILP hopes to empower the women so they can extend their support to the cause of Yanadi children’s education.
Besides the Yanadi women, there are other problems facing the Yanadi children’s education.
- Anganwadi (schools for children 0-6 years) – schools are designed to provide shelter and nutrition for children, but have many issues. There are no permanent buildings, and there is minimum equipment such as games and sports material. There are no playground facilities or safe drinking water. Sanitation and toilet facilities are almost nowhere to be found.
- Nomadic Lifestyle – constant migration of parents to seek employment displaces the children, which forces them to earn for themselves.
- Social issues – child marriages, abandoning of children, child labor, and dysfunctional family compound the problem.