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 Mission
 

To provide an integrated, sustainable approach for improving education, health and livelihood among tribal people across the nation through digital inclusion.

ABOUT US

We lend a hand to the underprivileged living in remote hamlets and forgotten memories of society. We help them cultivate the richest crop of all – HOPE.

We are a not-for-profit organization committed to providing a  sustainable  approach for improving education, health and livelihood for tribal people across India using digital technologies.

OUR WORK

XXXX people of scheduled tribes live in poverty and isolation in forests and hills. Many have no home, education or livelihood,. Diseases and vices take their toll. Their lives are an unending saga of struggl.

We are committed to rewriting the story. Together we can make a change.
 

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Tribal Individuals Educated
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Taught Livelihood Skills
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Given Medical Treatment
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Learn Hygiene Basics
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Our Story

We have worked in collaboration with the AmritaSeRVe 101 village adoption program for last 10 years in 21 Indian tribal villages across India, also fulfilling the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals.

In October 2018, The Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, awarded Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham the title of ‘Centre of Excellence in Tribal Empowerment through Digital Inclusion’ in recognition of its significant work to uplift India’s tribal people in the fields of education, health and e-literacy.

A diverse group of Amrita’s departments, including Community Medicine, Public Dentistry, Nutrition and Social & Data Science, as well as AmritaCREATE (Amrita Center for Research in Analytics & Technologies for Education) worked together for this.

“Amrita is honored to have been given this distinction by the Tribal Ministry,” said Dr. Prema Nedungadi, Director, AmritaCREATE

“Our immediate plans are to understand baseline data and the impact of technology in areas such as digital literacy, oral-contraceptive use, oral hygiene, micronutrient deficiencies, digital safety, antenatal-health monitoring, and vaccination, as well as with our Adolescent Ambassadors for the awareness program.

We have already completed awareness training in the dangers of substance abuse to 1,000 tribal students,” she added.

At 41 rural education centers in 21 states of India, Amrita RITE provides tablet-enhanced holistic educational support for children, adolescents and adults, integrating health, social and gender-equality awareness and inculcating respect for local culture and heritage. This short film highlights how the Amrita Rural Education Centers have become the heart of the village, giving not only an education to earn a living, but also an education on how to live a quality life.

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Challenges

Habitats located in remote hills and deep inside forests make certain sections of tribal people hard to render aid to. Also, the fear or adopting new methods over traditional ways and gender bias keep them from progress.

Idukki – A Snapshot

Idukki has around 11500 scheduled tribe families. Their lifestyles are primitive, living secluded in remote hills and deep interiors of thick forests. The main occupation is agriculture. Most tribal people lend their farm and produce to the rich and do manual labor in their own plots. Some also collect forest products and breed cattle. There is a fair amount of addiction to liquor and other intoxicants that proves a further challenge to development. Hygiene standards are low. Most families do not have a stable dwelling place nor facilities for even their basic needs. Their literacy rate is far below the national literacy average rate. Their poverty & illiteracy makes them an easy target for exploitation.

There is no money to send the reluctant children to schools, no money to cure the expensive illnesses brought on by liquor and drug addiction, no solace for the overworked women who are ill-treated by their husbands – demanding more and more money to satiate their cravings. The men stand by and watch the women work, and then take away the money.

Such people are struggling with issues of basic survival. Literacy is not a felt need. It is livelihood which is their dominant concern. These people do not think of a better tomorrow, they have learnt to live life one day at a time.

They have never entered a classroom; it is life that has been their first teacher. Such people need vocational skills in order to eke out a decent living.

They are unaware though, that while vocational skills may help them obtain employment, their learning of life skills will train them to retain their jobs.

students-speak
Ms. Rajani Menon
Director, Amrita Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Idukki

Our Work

Our Approach

To make a difference to the lives of those whom society has forgotten, we had to meet them on their ground, speak their language, become one among them

Our Strategies

To meet the unique challenges posed by the location and lifestyle of the tribal people, we tailor-made solutions & took it to their doorstep

Campuses

Sustainable Livelihoods

We work with communities enabling them to acquire skills that will help them make a living from their natural habitat.

 

Campuses

Local Language Apps

Learning becomes easier when the subject matter is presented in their local language.


 

Campuses

Student Ambassadors

Awareness of sensitive issues like substance abuse are channeled through select school students who would inspire greater trust and empathy among other teenagers.

Campuses

Tech-driven Learning

Tribal habitats are located in difficult terrains that makes it hard for them to travel to schools. E-learning is brought to their doorstep in tablets.
 

Campuses

Local Tutors
 

Isolated habitats pose a hurdle to hiring qualified tutors from towns. We selected suitable candidates from the nearest populace and trained them to teach the content.

Campuses

Village Improvement Projects

We improve life in the village through several critical projects – potable water, sanitation, nutrition etc.


 

Campuses

Self Help Groups
 

We improve life in the village through several critical projects – potable water, sanitation, nutrition etc.


 

  • The project was aimed to empower adults and children of selected tribal hamlets with tablets & 1000 ST candidates in Kerala where trained on integrated program with ACC combined with either social/ health awareness training. Amrita CREATE had taken into account the learning needs of tribal children and adults while designing the educational content in tablet format, taking into considering its screen size and low processing power. This project aimed to spread computer literacy and health awareness among the scheduled tribes using tablet technology in native languages.

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It offered benefits of e-literacy and empowerment to the tribal people, particularly the youth through Digital Literacy Program. Through this programme, the tribal students got the opportunity for the first time to use technology and tablet education free of cost. The project was piloted in the tribal areas of Palakkad (Attapadi), Idukki and Wayanad. ACC training, along with specific modules on social awareness was offered to the targeted tribal population.

  • A video application intended for adult learners to clarify and understand about basic societal functioning, child safety, health, hygiene and diseases was created and video contents developed by UNICEF were mainly used as part of the training.
  • Once the project got over, an impact study was conducted with a multifold perspective. The main objective was to study the impact of the training done among tribal areas in IT Skills and how much of E-Inclusion has been brought out through low cost devices among scheduled tribes in Kerala. The study also focused on measuring the impact of effectiveness of tab based education in tribal communities in Kerala.
  • Nair, P. (2007) has given importance on non-formal education in tribal areas particularly to reach out to the hardest-to reach group of children in remote areas. The content was created in the mother tongue of the tribal’s i.e. Malayalam for effective delivery and adaption. Jha & Jhingran, D. (2002) have strongly advocated the use of the mother tongue or home language as medium of instruction in early stages of education.
  • Access to education for rural communities is able to generate awareness about various issues that are commonly observed in rural areas: poverty reduction, control of disease, augmenting employment prospects, the importance of education, and increasing the-literacy rate (Chotani, 2013). With the intensifying network expansion of information communication technologies (ICTs) across the world, educationists are keen on making the most of the advantages of contemporary technology to catapult the-literacy levels amongst the world’s underprivileged population (Winthrop & Smith, 2012).
  • If well-executed, it can work remarkably well for fostering literacy and better quality of education across India, especially in linking rural students with superior faculties and universities (Das & Singha, 2012).Educating both boys and girls in a community through Low Cost Tablets can bring about the awareness needed to tackle various social and health issues (Chaudhary etal., 2010).Children understand and learn efficiently with the help of these visual aids.
  • Laptop and tablet computers offer much greater flexibility than desktop computers. Total touch interaction with the tabletop and the average total time spent by a group were found to be the two main collaboration factors contributing to the performance gain..Studies show that Clickers, tablet computers and other kinds of technology enable instantaneous interaction and feedback between teachers and students. Use of tablet computer technologies increases their motivation to participate in class.
  • Education can help overcome majority of issues as those mentioned earlier. It can help in the development of the tribal community by improving their living conditions and letting them know their privileges. However, trying to educate the tribal community has a few setbacks. These arise from the issues due to the lack of qualified teachers, adequate facilities and infrastructure and due to no access to quality education. An educational method that is capable of reducing the illiteracy rate by engaging the children and compensating for the lack of facilities, competent and committed teachers, as well as access to fundamental educational material is needed. Nedungadi & Raman (2012) describe the architecture of an adaptive learning system that offers personalized assessment and learning on both personal computers (e-learning) and mobile devices (m-learning) and showed that student engagement and learning on m-learning is comparable to e-learning
  • These have been addressed by the Amrita e-literacy and Awareness project that has the goal of improving the overall living conditions in the tribal areas by educating them on Social and Health Awareness and introducing them to e-Literacy using tablet technology. This will help to empower them and broaden their awareness about the need for healthy choices in their lives. For instance, making them aware of the importance of nutrition using stories and animations on the tablet will help them start making better choices. They can also learn how to make a kitchen garden and grow organic food.
  • Amrita CREATE, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham has trained and certified 1,087 tribal youth and adults in the Wayanad, Idukki, and Attapadi districts of Kerala in Digital Literacy under the Digital India program. 92% of the tribal beneficiaries passed an external exam conducted by agovernment agency NIELIT. This revolutionary program took computer literacy to tribal communities, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn basic computing skills, have an email account or browse the internet. Beneficiaries also learned basic financial literacy with online banking and how to gain access to educational resources and government schemes. The beneficiaries include tribal’s in remote tribal settlements, in tribal schools, girls who had dropped out of the school system and received intervention at Mahila Shikshan Kendras, and girls from a Nirbhaya Hostel, who have been rescued from human trafficking or high-risk circumstances. Human trafficking is a big social evil which is plaguing Kerala as well. Statistics shown is Table 2.2 highlights that Kerala has one of the highest numbers in India in cases relating to Human Trafficking.

Awareness in Computer Concepts

  • The Awareness in Computer Concepts (ACC) is an entry level course to learn how to operate computers and use the internet like accessing e-Governance applications, bill payment, online banking, personal e-mail and educational sites teaching health and social awareness. The tribal will also get the opportunity to learn basic word processing. ACC is an initiative of DeitY, Ministry of Communications and IT and NIELIT (National Instituted of Electronics and Information Technology), all under the Government of India. On completion of the course, examinations will be conducted and ACC course completion certificates will be issued to the candidates on successful completion of their training.
  • The objectives of the Amrita e-Literacy and Awareness program is to spread computer literacy, and social and health awareness among the scheduled tribes, who are generally unable to avail themselves of the benefits of e-literacy. The training is provided on tablet computers and includes Awareness in Computer Concepts (ACC) and Health Awareness.
  • The Social and Health Awareness activities included videos and apps on the tablet that provide education on issues such as drug and alcohol addiction, not washing hands, spitting in public places, dangers of open defecation, advantages of boiling water and benefits of healthy food habits.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely as the absence of disease or infirmity. As such, our plan in the villages is to promote the holistic wellbeing of all, beginning with a focus on physical health needs.

Dozens of rural women can now participate in tailoring and other awareness and life skills workshops. Employable skills + life skills create sustainable sources of income for those living in poverty, boost confidence and enhance morale.

Mahila Samakhya Programme

  • Pursuant to the objectives of the NPE (National Policy on Education), 1986, the Mahila Samakhya Scheme was started in 1989 to translate the goals enshrined in the NPE into a concrete programme for the education and empowerment of women in rural areas particularly those from socially and economically marginalised groups. The Mahila Sanghas through various programmes and awareness campaigns, have brought about a change in the outlook of rural women and the effects can now be seen in various facets of their life at home within the family, the community and at the block and Panchayat levels.

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  • The Kerala Mahila Samakhya Society has had to grapple with diverse issues. In the tribal and Dalit areas like Devikulam in Idukki, Nilambur and Tanur blocks of Malapuram and Athiyannur block of Thiruvanathapuram, basic subsistence needs have to be addressed whereas in other areas, the issues are related to violence, mental health issues, dowry, desertion, low work participation rate, lack of access to assets and resources and low political participation. High levels of literacy and education have not enhanced the decision-making capacity of women nor empowered them, and Kerala continues to grapple with issues of dowry and high rates of domestic violence.

Mahila Shikshan Kendram

  • In 1994 Nirantar, a centre for gender and education collaborated with the Mahila Samakhya or Education for Women’s Equality (a national-level government programme for women’s empowerment) in Uttar Pradesh to develop a residential education programme for rural women - the Mahila Shikshan Kendram (MSK), the first MSK in the country. Mahila Shikshan Kendras (MSKs) is a direct MS intervention for adolescent girls, with a non-recurring budget of Rs. 300,000 in the first year and an annual recurring budget of Rs. 876,000 for a centre of 30 girls (IIM A-Report 2014).
  • MSK was then adopted by the Mahila Samakhya programme and has since expanded throughout the country. Today MSKs are spread across the country. MSKs are residential learning Centers that offer an innovative comprehensive educational programme with a specially designed academic curriculum for school drop-outs and never enrolled girls. Within a short span of eight to eleven months the girls are equipped to exercise their choice about their rights regarding getting back to mainstream schools, postponing their marriages and joining the labour force. Wayanad, Idukki and Attappadi are some of the areas where Mahila Samakhya Kendra currently works in.

Nirbhaya Shelter Home

  • Nirbhaya Home is the first Shelter Home for rehabilitating victims of atrocities against women and children in the Kerala state which was opened at Poojappura, Trivandrum on 23 January 2013.

Pazhassi Raja Tribal School

  • Pazhassi Raja Tribal School is located at Wayanad in the South Indian state of Kerala. It is a residential school that provides education, food, accommodation and medical assistance all completely free of cost to the students. This is the primary goal of the school.
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Impact Stories

“We want to bring glory to our village”: Dagara girls

The Dagara village in Bhuj, where the girls are from, is one of three villages rebuilt by Ashram after the devastating earthquake in 2001 Ever since, the community has been receiving Amma’s continuous support for its overall development.
Recently, Dagara became one of 40 villages in 20 states to participate in an educational scheme of Amrita University which uses tablet-based education to tutor both children and adults . Previously, the village school only went up to 8th grade, but with the new computer-based education, students can now remain in the village and complete their studies up to 10th grade, allowing them to pursue a profession that will further support their families and aid in the development of the community.

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Up until recently, because of safety concerns, parents would not allow their daughters to leave the village for higher studies beyond 8th grade.

Meera, one of the graduates and mother to a two-year old child, enrolled in the programme after a gap of eight years from school. She had been eager to take up her studies again to attain a BEd (Bachelor of Education) Teachers Certificate. Meera said, “I want to be a teacher so that I can reach out to those who are deprived and help them move ahead in life.”

Shanti, another graduate, had resumed studies after a gap of two years. She now wants to become a nurse and serve in her community. The successful completion of the 10th standard will help her reach that goal.

The girls said, “We have classes every day from 2pm to 7 pm, with no holidays. We love to study and don’t feel bored at all . All our families are farmers. It is our dream to bring glory to our village by introducing new professions. Thank you Amma, for helping us achieve that goal.”

Present at the function was also Veji Ben, the Maths, English, and Science teacher for the students. She herself became the first girl in Dagara to complete a +2 (pre-university) degree, staying at her uncle’s house in the next village to attend the university there. Now she is proud to congratulate the first batch of female students from her own village who would otherwise not have had the same opportunity she had. “Most of the students want to take up arts. For science they will need a lab and other facilities,” says Veji Ben.

Rajasthan is home to famed palaces, brave kings and beautiful queens. Stories of valour are written for eternity in the stone walls of their fortresses. The history of the city of Sawaimadhopur is inextricably intertwined with The Ranthambore Fort. The city was founded by Raja Sawai Madho Singh 1 in 1763. It is common to see the famous ‘ghoomar’ dance here. Economy depends on agriculture and hospitality. Guava and other herbs used in essential oils and traditional medicines. In recent times, regulations protecting forests and the ecosystem have affected the economy, including closure of a cement factory.

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The district has a mix of Meena and Gujjar communities. The Meenas are considered to have adivasi origins. They ruled parts of Rajasthan till they were overpowered by the Rajputs in the 14th century. Their condition further deteriorated under the Colonial rule by the British by being classified under the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871. They were stigmatized for centuries to come till it was repealed in 1952.

In recent times, Gujjars are a pastoral agricultural ethnic group, speaking several languages and following diverse religions. They are said to have migrated from Central Asia into Kashmir, Rajasthan and Gujarat. They mingled with the Rajputs and thrived in a larger part of Rajasthan till the arrival of the Mughals. The Gujjars opposed the British rule in India and took active part in revolts and were therefore classified as a ‘Criminal Tribe’. Currently both tribes are classified as Scheduled Tribes in India.

The literacy rate in Rajasthan is around 79%. Female literacy is lower than male (67% vs. 90%). However, among the tribals, the rate is lower. In September 2018, Amrita CoE for Tribal Empowerment Through Digital Inclusion implemented ‘The Digital Literacy Project’ in Rajasthan.

It was noted that an improvement in digital skills among tribal children helped them learn better.

Amrita CREATE trained 220 students (190 ST and 30 SC students ) in digital literacy in Harirampura village in Rajasthan.

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Children were taught basic computer skills like how to use various computer programs with the aid of tablet, laptop and projectors. Social awareness programs were shown through videos developed by Amrita CREATE. Post the course, exams were conducted and successful candidates were given certificates.

Harirampur Village, Sawaimadhopur, Rajasthan

There are 55 houses in the village, with a population of around 350. The predominant trade is farming, and most people grow crops: Black sesame seed, mustard seed and Bajra (millet),

Education in general is quite low. A small number of people have college degrees, and many of the younger generations are aspiring to this, The women drop out of school by 5th standard, but now most of the students have a 10th standard education or less, especially the women. Some families allow their girls to continue on to 10th or even 12th

Shiva Bal Higher Secondary School is situated at Nimoda station in Khedla village Sawaimadhopur. There are about 500 students were studying. Most of students come from ST community like Meena, Gujjar.etc. The biggest challenge is not having a proper road around the Panchayath and village. There are several dirt paths that can be traversed by jeep or a brave motorcycle driver!

Impact : 190 students completed all training requirements at the completion of first phase of the project at Rajasthan (190 ST students and 30 SC students)

Shamoli Village
Shiva Bal Higher Secondary School. Khedla Nimoda Station
Government Higher Secondary School. Sangada

Survey

The survey received 57 complete responses from both academic and non-academic students.

Age brackets were indicated as less than 10 (n=1), 10 – 15 years (n=32), 15 - 20 years (n=19), 20 - 25 years (n=7) and above 25years (n=0).

Database A number of queries were run on the digital literacy’s database. These queries revealed

  • 4 students are used a computer before e Literacy training
  • 32 students were used a Smartphone before e Literacy training
  • 48 students are not used the internet before the course
  • 54 students are comfortable to use computers
  • 35 students are not know how to use email
  • 57 students are understand the Microsoft word

Tribal Empowerment Center of Excellence
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham
Amritapuri Campus
Clappanna P.O.
Kollam, Kerala- 690525
create@amrita.edu
+91(0)-476-2804520