The tribal people of India, known as Adivasis, represent communities that have kept ancient means of livelihood, culture and beliefs. They mostly live in isolated regions and did not become a part of Hindu, Muslim, Christian, or other such societal systems. In the 2011 Census of India, Adivasis made up 8.6% of the population, a total of 104 million people. Tribal people often face serious issues such as endemic poverty and lack of essential resources, such as water, usually due to the results of environmental degradation. Amrita has a long history of projects aimed at uplifting India’s tribal populations, with thousands of people receiving vocational and literacy training. In 2008, the university was presented an award from UNESCO and India’s National Literacy Mission for work in adult literacy with tribal people. Working with tribal children has been a vital focus, as they are seen as gateways to reach the rest of their families. At 41 rural education centers in 21 states of India, Amrita provides holistic educational support that integrates health, social, and gender-equality awareness and inculcates respect for local culture and heritage.
In 2018, the Government of India recognized Amrita’s significant work to support Adivasis when the Ministry of Tribal Affairs gave the university the title of ‘Centre of Excellence in Tribal Empowerment through Digital Inclusion’ (Tribal CoE). It is especially active in the states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Kerala.