Building a safe place to learn and play
In order to encourage children to attend school and to keep their interest and motivation high it was important that Grace Charitable Trust enlisted the help of their parents. Adivasi (indigenous tribes) are from the most disadvantaged classes, they have long been living in poverty on the margins of society. The children’s parents had no or little opportunity for education themselves, many are illiterate, and having married young they did not have the experience to support their children or understand how an education could benefit them.
Permission to build
Land in jungle villages is collectively owned by the village, with permission for using any of the land for a tuition centre needing to be given by the village elders. For the elders to agree it was important that the parents supported Grace Charitable Trust in making their request. They needed to know how an education would be good for the children and increase their chances of gaining employment in the future. In addition to gaining approval from the village elders, where a village was in a reserve or national park, approval also had to be given for any structure to be built by the Forestry Department.
Solomon Daniel, trustee, had many meetings with local officials to seek permissions and one by one the decision makers agreed. Some structures are all brick and concrete, whilst others in reserve areas are limited to part brick part corrugated sheeting. Some villages remain without tuition centres so Solomon’s work continues.
Each tuition centre is built to a similar template with space for storage, plenty of computers and desks that can be removed for games and dancing. All are powered by solar panels, decorated brightly and are well used by the children as a safe place to go to study and play.
Like the school buses, there are ongoing maintenance costs for the upkeep and repair of the tuition centres, as well as the cost of a supervising teacher at each location.