On Sunday, students of Malabar Christian College in the city will take a two-hour gruelling trek through Kakkadampoyil forests to visit their adopted family – an entire Scheduled Tribe Colony called Ambumala.
On January 1, this year about 100 students of the college had decided to give the tribal colony a voice and act as their messengers to the outside world. Also, they decided to reach out to the colony, located at Chaliyam grama panchayat in the Kozhikode-Malappuram district border, through medical camps, food and study material.
The colony houses 26 Paniyar families, headed by a ‘mooppen,’ Veluthan.
They had won the trust of the colony during a seven-day camp conducted there last year in December. The camp saw students, all members of the college’s National Service Scheme unit, invite local body authorities and forest officials for an open debate on ways to better the conditions of the tribal people.
At the face-to-face between government officials and 75 tribal people from the colony, at the Kakkadam Poyil high school, villagers aired their troubles, ranging from wild elephant attacks to absence of basic health centre to upgrading the tribal school to include Class VII so that children can be spared of long walks through treacherous jungle terrain.