The Forest Department is embarking on a mission to ensure education for tribal communities.
It has joined hands with organisations to impart skills to adults and women for economic upliftment while students are being encouraged to opt for school and college education, by ensuring funds availability for the same.
Conservator of Forests, Coimbatore Circle, R. Kannan and District Forest Officer, I. Anwardeen mooted these schemes and they are yielding rich dividends now.
Mr.Anwardeen told The Hindu that 32 Joint Forest Management (JFM) committees are ensuring economic uplift of tribal communities by involving them in collection and sale of minor forest produce i.e., non-timber forest produce fetching an earning of close to Rs. 2 lakh being used for their own activities.
In addition, Paraliar Joint Eco-Tourism which benefits 10 tribal settlements, Kovai Coutrallam eco-tourism benefitting six settlements and Marudhamalai Commercial Venture are benefitting members of the village forest committees.
Now, the Department has restored the tribals to agriculture by providing them pumpsets for irrigating their lands within the settlements.
Now, the adult education programmes are going on successfully at Veerakal, Kethekadu, Sirukinaru and Mullankadu for providing basic literacy.
In addition, school drop outs were identified and were encouraged to re-appear for examinations and through this 16 school drop outs and SSLC failed students had cleared their examinations now. Besides this, the Forest Department using the JFM and other available funds had ensured UG education for 14 tribal students with the help of Avanashilingam Jan Shiksan Sansthan.
Some students were encouraged to take up technical education.
Funds from JFM and other programmes had helped them overcome financial difficulties.
Keywords: tribal upliftment