The state of West Bengal is identified as the fourth densely populated area in reference to the 28 states and 7 Union Territories of India. Of West Bengal’s 91.3 million inhabitants, the “demographic push” falls heavily on the youth group. India can benefit socially, politically and economically if this large number of adolescents are safe, healthy, educated and equipped with useful information and skills to support the country’s continued development. The socio-economic situation of the people of West Bengal has not progressed as it should have. The basic subsistence pattern of the Santals was hunting, but as the population increased and supply rapidly decreased, the Santals turned to agriculture. Farming methods are mainly slash-and-burn, with little knowledge or application of crop rotation, irrigation or fertilizer. Families have no land of their own and as laborers work and get less than $3 a day, with a high risk of social exclusion. The problem of unemployment increases year by year and young people become victims of drug and alcohol addiction. Many young people migrate to neighboring districts and states to work in agriculture. Their work tends to be unregulated and informal, therefore, they do not receive the legal minimum wage and are not protected by labor laws and preventive measures. In practice, they are at the mercy of landowners. Many young people drop out of school and are lured with money and power to serve criminal masters and exploit their community.
AIM OF THE PROJECT
The “Education and Training for Santal Children and Marginalized People” project aims to provide Santal communities near Talit (West Bengal) with skills and knowledge to be ready for job placement or re-entry into formal education. The project takes place at Marist Community College in Talit village, where the Marist Brothers have been working since 2010 helping girls and boys who have dropped out of school to learn basic literacy to re-enter formal education or acquire some skills to get a job.
Beneficiaries are trained on 5 different subjects: math, tailoring, computer, English, Bengali language, and in addition there are pedagogical trainings aimed at teachers to ensure they are prepared and aligned to quality teaching standards based on: rights, gender equality and non-discrimination.
THE PROJECT IN BRIEF:
The project addresses the learning needs of Santal girls and boys who have dropped out of school and provides them with skills and knowledge for future employment or re-entry into formal education.
THE PROJECT IN NUMBERS:
- 66 Male direct beneficiaries
- 62 Female direct beneficiaries
- 240 Male indirect beneficiaries
- 240 Female indirect beneficiaries
SDGs: 4, 5, 10
Laudato Sì Goals: 2