The state of West Bengal is the 4th densely populated area compared to the 29 States and 7 Union territories of India. The socio-economic situation of the people of West Bengal has not progressed as it should have, especially for the Santal minority who still face several challenges. The basic Santal subsistence pattern was hunting, but with an ever-increasing population and rapidly decreasing supply, the Santals have turned to agriculture. Families do not have their own land and as labourers, they work and get less than $3 a day with a high risk of social exclusion. The unemployment problem increases year after year and young people become victims of drug and alcohol addiction. Although the government tries to guarantee access to school to all the population, almost 25% are illiterates and 40% among women. Santal children’s education faces several challenges. Government initiatives have aimed to increase enrollment and retention rates for Santal children in schools. However, access to quality education remains a concern for many Santals in remote and economically disadvantaged villages. Santal children experience discrimination in the education system: ensuring access to quality education and addressing the root causes of illiteracy remain essential challenges, as well as maintaining and improving the quality of education across schools and colleges. There is often a lack of proper school infrastructure and basic facilities like classrooms, libraries, laboratories, and access to technology and a shortage of qualified and skilled teachers, especially in rural areas. Language barriers and cultural differences can also pose challenges for Santal children in attending mainstream schools. The literacy rate among Santals in their second language is only 25-50%, despite it being taught in primary schools. 

Aim of the project: 

To address these challenges, the Marist Brothers of India have implemented itinerant classes, which are having a significant impact on rural communities by bringing education directly to villages. Through the organization of itinerant classes, educational opportunities are extended to remote areas where access to formal educational institutions is limited or even nonexistent. The primary objective of the Project is to promote human development through education, with a strong focus on helping students acquire fundamental skills in reading and writing, as well as English, Math and Bengali classes. Another crucial aspect of the Project is the development of skills among boys and girls, enabling them to become self-employed or find opportunities in both private and government sectors. This approach aims to empower the youth, particularly those in vulnerable conditions, by offering them avenues for personal and economic growth. Furthermore, the Project is firmly committed to promoting equality and eradicating all forms of discrimination based on caste, tribe, gender, or social status. Emphasizing inclusivity, the mission seeks to uplift communities in vulnerable conditions and foster a sense of unity and acceptance among the students. Moreover, the Project emphasizes the cultivation of leadership skills and encourages active participation in local and regional institutions. By empowering boys and girls to exercise their right to elect leaders and involving them in various classes and activities, the Marist Brothers instill a sense of responsibility and commitment, nurturing their social and political awareness. Through these combined efforts, the Marist Brothers’ Project strives to make a lasting and positive impact on the lives of the students, enabling them to pursue a better future and contribute meaningfully to society. 


The main objective of this project is to help and improve the critical situation of the education of Santal girls and boys in 5 rural villages of the West Bengal State, in India. Additionally, this project aims to promote equal gender participation by ensuring equal opportunities for boys and girls and bridging the disparity in tribal education, which often favors boys. The project will take place in neighboring villages, where the Marist Brothers have been operating since 2010, helping girls and boys dropouts to learn basic literacy and re-enter formal education or acquire some skills to find employment.  


  • 200 children from 5 different villages 

SDG Goals: 4, 5, 10  

Laudato Si’ Goals: 2, 4