• Office Address: 102 Perumbakkam Road, India, Tiruvannamalai
  • 04175-236008, +91(0)9843 493557
  • 102, Perumpakkam Road, Tiruvannamalai, TN, India
  • (91) 04175-236008

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Irular Education Empowerment Project

Irular means “dark people” in Tamil and Malayalam, from the root word irul, meaning “darkness”, (dark skin complexion). People of Irula ethnicity are called Irular and speak Irula, a Dravidian language that is closely related to Tamil. Irular lives in two south Indian states – Tamil Nadu and Kerala, and they belong to the Dravidian family. A scheduled tribe, their population in this region is estimated at around 50,000 people. In Tiruvannamalai, there are around 11,000 people.

The Primitive tribal’s (Irular Community) main occupation and also they lived by hunting reptiles, primarily snakes, rat-catching, and honey collection. Living in caves, they used to hunt and procure forest resources. They were descendants of Romani. Due to the scarcity of bamboos, they began to build huts with soil and stones. Irular who lives in the mountains believes that there is a life after death. But the death that separates them from these mountains should lead them to eternal light instead of darkness. When the hills were occupied by the people of the valley, Irular drew back to interior woods. Later, they came out and started living in the underprivileged areas and near the river banks, Lake and ponds in the villages. They also work as laborers (coolies) in the fields of the landlords during the sowing and harvesting seasons or in the rice mills.

As their clan is on the verge of extinction due to seasonal conditions, they make their living by occasionally doing the work available to them such as fishing, logging, agricultural labor, daily wage in rice mills, brick kiln, etc. Construction of houses for the Irula community in Ponnur village near Vandavasi is nearing completion. The residents, mainly those from the Irula community, residing in dilapidated houses in Ponnur village of Vandavasi taluk, were the beneficiaries of schemes such as the Chief Minister Housing Scheme and the Pradhan MantriAwasYojana.

All basic amenities would be provided to the people and the only thing they have to do is to send their children to school. on 15th June TDHC and EDP started our first Special Tuition center for Irular community children called Bridge School ( Irular Education Empowerment Project) on behalf of District Rural Development Agency Project Director Mrs. Jeyasudha , who is Deputy Collector of Tiruvannamalai and TDH CORE Director Chezhian Ramu.

Tdhc’s Director Chezhian Ramu initiated and started the Irular Children Education Empowerment Project which has two Bridge schools at two different locations Ponnur and Kasthampadi. Ponnur center has 40 children whereas Kasthampadi center has 41 children getting the basic education and nutrition supports from this project. At present they don’t have regular schools due to this Pandemic situation. While our two bridge school teachers have been taking moral education such as how to change their behaviors, how to maintain proper hygienic, and teach moral stories. All the children are very happy and willing to participate and show interest in this class. We regularly follow up and manage these two center activities with the guidance of Director Mr.Chezhian Ramu. We create a WhatsApp group ( Tdhc – EDP Bridge School) for sharing their regular activities for administration and guidance purposes.

Bridge school Concept:

Our Two bridge schools concept, we have been conducting regular tuition (tutorial education) to children with the support of our teacher in the evening. Some of the teaching like life skills orientation, basic Education, monitoring children’s health, hygiene and ensuring their rights of care and protection. While these children are in regular school programs our bridge school teachers are monitoring their development or their progress in their studies and checking whether they are regular to school or dropouts. Therefore, the teacher and Coordinator have been regularly conducting meetings with Irular community people to give orientation about their rights from government livelihood schemes and link with the government department for community people to get benefits.

Unfortunately, during COVID 19 situation, all the schools closed in Tamil Nadu. We had been found out many children were school dropouts; only their name has enrolled in nearby schools. After our intervention on June 15th, 2020, we started our Bridge school centre in the Morning from 9.30 AM to 12.PM; this school will be continued until the re-opening of formal schools. School dropout children will be identified and enrolled in our tuition centre and then admit into normal school and monitor their education performance closely, checking their school attendance, fulfills their educational needs and regular follow-up reports are maintained for their development.

With help of the First Information Report (FIR) and past academic school details (if available) are examined and then identified for school admission whether the child will be admitted into Tamil or English medium school.

We have identified twenty-five children who need and deserve the right to education; they are selected, verified for education sponsorship projects from various irular community living areas such as Kasthampadi and Ponnur villages. They are below 10 years old who nutrition and education needy children are. They were admitted into regular school. We had chosen 5 children from Kasthampadi and 7 children from Ponnur to enroll in nearby formal elementary English medium schools. We are providing a strong education foundation (LKG (Little Kinder Garden) to 1st standard) 3 years to 5 years old children. Because they were never been attained or enrolled in school because of shut down or lockdown of schools for 2 years. This underprivileged community – Irular people’s children affected the most, for these vulnerable children our Children Education Empowerment Project started for this reason.

Lists of supports from Irular Children Education Empowerment Project:

Ponnur and Kasthambadi Bridge school centers

• These two Schools for Children of 19 families in Ponnur and 14 families in Kasthambadi
• Education support by bridge school for 41 children in Ponnur and 40 children in Kasthambadi

• Hygiene materials were provided to 33 families in Ponnur and Kasthambadi from July 2020 to November 2021.

• Nutrition food provided to children from May to November 2021.

• Blankets provided for 80 children for the monsoon season.

Support provided to non-ration card families

• There are 54 families with 99 children in Kannamangalam, Arani, Polur, Thellar, Chetpet, Vandhavasi, Cheyyar.

• Dry groceries distributed to the most vulnerable people whose does not have ration card (Family card) during Corona 2nd lockdown from May to September 2021.

• Nutrition and hygienic materials like masks and sanitizers distributed to 99 children from May 2021 to November 2021.

Food support during Corona 2nd wave

• There are 650 food packages (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) provided for 25 street living people in Polur bus stand.

Dresses provided for Diwali festival on November 2021

• We provided Diwali dresses for 100 irular children in Kasthambadi, Ponnur, Eechanthangal, Kannamangalam, Venmani, and Vembalur.

Flood relief during monsoon rain on November 2021

• • There are 30 tarpaulins provided 30 Irular families in Kannamangalam, Eechanthangal village and Vembalur village.
• Dry rice provided for 30 Irular families in Kannamangalam, Eechanthangal, and Vembalur village.