Registration No. Maharashtra 3457/92 Solapur ( Maharashtra State)
Imagine setting up a small shop with your life’s savings and being suddenly thrown into a police lock up on mere suspicion by civil society. The only option you would probably think of would be to vanish from the scene and lose everything. This is what happens routinely to our lesser fortunate brethren like Paradhis and other nomadic tribes who have been branded for life as thieves and dacoits, in spite of their sterling contribution to our society, through out history, with their artisan and fighting skills. These are the most backward of the backward people, living a life of penury and fear that we members of ‘free’ society cannot even imagine.
With their regular source of earning from forest produce becoming harder by the day and talents like singing, street plays, acrobatics etc. also dying a slow death; the only option is to educate them, imbibe their children with good values or ‘samskaras’ and train them for the new world with an ambition to come out of this life of depravity.
Bhatke Vimukta Vikas Pratishthan (BVVP) has plunged in this uphill task since last 14 years. It has been a very tough journey due to deeply ingrained prejudice in the society and the whole government system that is arraigned against them. With system out to haunt them rather than help them, they are perpetually forced to lead a life of begging and crime. It is difficult for the children to educate themselves, as they have no home or land to call their own and their parents or family may be in a lock up.
In spite of all these problems, BVVP has been able to make a positive mark in their lives. Today nearly 600 students are studying in our schools and staying in hostels at four centers in Maharashtra. Two years back the first ever batch of successful SSC students from the community came out with flying colours, with some of them opting to join as volunteers within the organization to help their brothers and sisters see light at the end of the tunnel.
Prisoners of Tradition –Neglected by a Free Society
Yamgarwadi Project (Keshavnagar Vidya Sankul)
Yamgarwadi is a small village located in post Nanduri, Tahasil Tuljapur, district Osmanabad in Maharashtra state ( India).
Yamgarwadi Project was started in 1993 on an 18 acre land donated by an ex-service man, Shri Ramesh Chatufale. Initially there were 25 boys in three huts. This has grown into a multifaceted project now with the following activities –
Ekalavya Primary Residential School – This school was granted State recognition in 1996 for classes up to seventh standard with nearly 300 students. The sad truth is that this number keeps fluctuating as sometimes, the parents pull their wards out to move away to another place or to utlilize them to raise family income. We have been able to stabilize these numbers slowly through persuasion and personal attention. Focus is on nurturing their inherent skills like knowledge about nature, sports and arts. Management policy of the school is an intelligent mix of flexibility and discipline.
Secondary School – This school goes up to State level board examinations. The first batch of 7 nomadic students passed out securing 63 – 83 % marks in 2005-06. In 2007-08, 12 students passed out with 100% results. This was a landmark for the community and the school as well. Volunteers from Pune have taken up the responsibility of higher education of these students. Efforts are being made to get State recognition for this school too.
BVVP has purchased 20 acres of land a few years back where we plan to set up a school up to SSC level offering job-oriented courses. The school will have a hostel, playground, full-fledged kitchen, residential accommodation for teaching as well as non-teaching staff and house green projects like water harvesting, etc.
Shabarimata Girls’ Hostel – Educating girls in the nomad tribes is considered a taboo. The arrival of a seven year old girl at our door step, abandoned at a bus stop, marked the beginning of this project a few years back. This little girl was witness to her mother’s murder at the hands of her father. We started to give her the much needed parental care and education. Today the centre has over 100 girls. After basic schooling many girls from this centre have gone out for higher education or vocational training with the help of other social organizations. It is a matter of pride for BVVP volunteers that one of the girls has become a school teacher and another has joined the police force while some girls are working as volunteers in this project.
Health Centre – Nomadic gypsy communities are always on the move. As a rule their kids are not inoculated, resulting in high incidence of minor or even crippling diseases. Some socially committed paediatricians, gynaecologists & pathalogists visit Yamgarwadi project regularly to do health check up of the students. They also provide medicines and related services. A lot more is possible in this area if we are able to raise more resources.
This project was initiated in 1995 in Anasarwada village by ‘Gopal Samaj Vikas Parishad’ for a community known for its skills in cattle rearing, (hence the name Gopal), gymnastics, games and wrestling. Due to lack of social support, they have ended up begging for survival. GSVP started with an objective to rehabilitate this tribe. Now the project has flowered into a ‘Balwadi’, an ‘open school’ with flexi timings to help roaming boys study and diversified into self help micro finance groups, handicraft manufacturing skill development, honing of their traditional gymnastic skills through professional training and training music band groups.
Bhatu Kolhati community is another large group within these gypsy communities known for its skills in circus that you see on the roadside with women playing a major part in these games. The condition of women in this community has deteriorated due to lack of state support and the hapless women being trapped in degrading circumstances, being exploited physically and mentally; and ending up with dreaded diseases like Aids etc. ‘Bhatu Kolhati Vikas Parishad’ was formed in Nerale located near Tahasil Karmala, distrct Solapur of Maharashtra state. Residential hostel was started in year 2000 on a 5 acre land. This hostel has around 50 students. The project has started micro financing self-help groups for women to help them & lead an honourable life. This group has plans to start a full-fledged education centre, vocational guidance centre and a centre to provide shelter to abandoned women.
Experience of over 12 years in managing resident hostel schools has helped BVVP understand that many boys and girls cannot study in regular schools as they are always roaming. “If they cannot go to school let us take school to them” – with this thought a highly flexible schooling system has been devised by BVVP. There are seven such schools under the scheme at Magar Sangvi, Anasarwada, Ambarnath, Hingoli, Tuljapur, Kolegaon and Umarga with nearly 200 students in all.
Your smallest contribution to this unique sewa project can make a difference to the wretched existence of our unfortunate brethren who are virtually held hostage by circumstances not of their making.
You can –
- Sponsor a child for one year @6000/- per annum
- Sponsor one food for one day @5000/- per day
- Sponsor construction of one class room @1,00,000/-
- Sponsor or part support school literature @2,00,000/- per annum
- Sponsor Bio-gas plant project
- Sponsor Water Harvesting project
- Sponsor Steam Cooking System
- Sponsor Computer Lab
- Sponsor Science lab
- Sponsor Tree plantation
Please contact -
1. Shri Vaijnath Nagappa Lature
Phone: 02382-240559(R), 245559 (O)
2. Shri Gajanan Dharane, Solapur
3. Dr. Bipin Shah, Mumbai
4. V.B.Pendharkar, Mumbai