It was a day to rejoice for the tribal people of Attathode in the Sabarimala forests to have a school of their own when the schools across the State celebrated ‘Pravesanotsavom’ on Monday.
The State’s second largest tribal settlement of Attathode on the banks of river Pampa was in a festive mood from early morning hours of Monday. Local MLA Raju Abraham and District Collector S. Harikishore also joined the school authorities to receive the children, offering them fragrant roses and sweets.
Experiencing the ambience of a classroom and that too in the serene forests settings was a pleasant surprise for the children who, along with their parents, had been literally wandering in the woods hitherto.
Many children were given official names before enrolling them in the school register. A girl, Ponni, who was brought from Chelikkuzhy, was enrolled as Meenakshi and Chandu who was fetched to the school by Kunjumol, school teacher, from the forests was named Abhishek.
The primary school houses 50 students in classes I to IV and of them, 22 are in Class I. More children are expected to join in the coming days, says Bijumon, headmaster.
The MLA said he would sanction Rs.30 lakh from his infrastructure development fund for constructing a self-contained school building in the 50 cents donated by an individual.
T.N. Seema, MP, has also sanctioned Rs.10 lakh from her local area development fund, Mr. Abraham said.
The Collector said the District Lead Bank had offered to provide school uniform for all children.
Arrangements are in place for transportation of children from different places to the school and back to their homes, besides serving food thrice daily, he said.
The Sabari Saranashram Trust came forward with a helping hand, offering food for the school children, and the Carmel Engineering College at Perinad donated benches and desks to the school.
Three teachers have been posted from the tribal school at Kisumom on working arrangement and more teachers are expected in the coming days, according to the MLA.
The literacy centre functioning at the tribal settlement from 1990 has been converted into a government primary school, which the MLA inaugurated in the forenoon. Mr Harikishore delivered the keynote address.