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On June 20, 2018, The Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, declared Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham as a Center of Excellence in Tribal Empowerment through Digital Inclusion (Amrita CoE-TEDI), in recognition of the institution’s pioneering work in tribal development with an outstanding application and research-oriented foundation.
The multidisciplinary center has faculty expertise from Amrita departments of Analytics and Technologies for Education (AmritaCREATE), Community Medicine, Public Dentistry, Nutrition, Social and Data Sciences. Amrita CoE-TEDI works in the tribal areas of Odisha, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. Projects involve technology-based interventions in Digital Literacy, Substance Abuse, Oral Contraceptive Abuse, Integrative Health, Micronutrient Deficiencies, Digital Safety, and Antenatal Health Monitoring & Vaccination.
To provide an integrated, sustainable approach for improving education, health and livelihood among tribal people across the nation through digital inclusion.
In 2008, Amrita received the National Literacy Mission – UNESCO award for Adult Literacy from former Honorable President, Smt. Pratibha Patil.
In 2017, under a grant from the MeitY, AmritaCREATE completed training 1000 tribal youth in eLiteracy & Health Awareness. Beneficiaries received certificates from Former Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri. Jual Oram.
Tribal populations all over India face several challenges. The most common of them are endemic poverty, low literacy rates, poor health, forest degradation, rights discrimination and cultural erosion.
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.
To meet the unique challenges posed by the location and lifestyle of the tribal people, we tailor-made solutions & took it to their doorstep.
Drawing its inspiration and guidance from our Chancellor and world renowned humanitarian leader, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (AMMA), Amrita University has now grown into a dynamic, 5-campus, multi-disciplinary University with over 15 schools, 150 programs, 1750 strong faculty, and 18000 students.
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham’s parent organization, the Mata Amritanandamayi Math has a 15 year history of successful large-scale sustainable development work and has adopted over 100 villages across India. The work showcased here is carried out in remote tribal regions of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
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.
“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.
Sawaimadhopur: A Rajasthan Story
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.
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, amongx 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.
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.