No interest, poor attendance at school and very low marks is the performance of the about 30 Irula kids attending the governmement primary school of Panjartheerthi and secondary school of Manamathi.
Panjartheerthi is a very small village near Manamathi, very isolated, no shops, no public transport facilities and no proper road connecting the village to the outside world.
In the village there is a small government primary school and a balwadi but the most of kids now attend the Manamathi private English Medium that offer school bus facilities at reasonable price. For the others, if they wish to continue to go to school after 5th class, they are forced to walk 5 kilometers to the Manamathi secondary school unless the family can affor a bycicle.
The government primary school was about to close three years ago, as the number of chldren was not enough to justify the cost of a teacher, when the local Comunist Party decided to offer a small plot of land to a bunch of Irula families rescued from slavery. Now are the children of these families to keep the primary school alive: 31 kids out of 35 are Irula. But is very difficult to convince these children to go to school regularly.
To offer the kids a little support, we decided to open a Tuition center for them. we found the place and the teacher and also organized a afternoon snack to every child that attend the Tuition.
The Tuition is run in collaboration with the American Association Save Int’l that offered Malar Trust to share a place in the village Community Hall, where a Tuition school for Dalit children is already on going. Malar Trust will pay for one extra teacher and a daily snack to all the children (a total of about 50 between Irula and Dalit)