March 2012

VISWA Bharathi Vidyodaya Trust (VBVT) thanks GO MAD donors for the huge steps they have enabled to secure quality education for future generations of tribal children in the Gudalur area.

VBVT was started in 1993 order to address widespread educational deprivation amongst adivasis in the Gudalur valley. It has focused its energies on the development of innovative, alternative and supplementary educational systems for children who are frequently first-generation learners.

VBVT opened its flagship initiative, Vidyodaya school, to tribal children in 1996. Our experience with the government’s tribal schools had clearly shown that unless the school had tribals as teachers the children would not respond favourably for reasons of familiarity, as well as issues of language, culture and discrimination. Vidyodaya school thus quickly evolved into a tribal school run by members of the tribal community for the tribal community.

Currently a total 131 tribal children are studying at Vidyodaya school, out of which 55 attend a residential study centre. This study centre – a partnership with the Government’s SSA programme – is offered to tribal children who have dropped out of government schools. Vidyodaya school also doubles as a centre for teacher training where young people from the tribal community undergo an intensive two-year training to teach up to class 5 level.

For the last seventeen years, Vidyodaya school was running in rented buildings due to paucity of funds. The school has identified a potential land for building its own premises. The total area of the land is around 5 acres and it is located 12 kms away from Gudalur town in an area that is more accessible to a greater number of tribal children.

The total cost of owning the land is Rs 70 lakhs, including registration. Funds raised through the GO MAD trip 2012 have been used as to pay advances to buy 5 acres of land and the rest amount will be paid once the legal formalities are completed. The District Collector’s approval is in process.

A big thank you to the entire team of cyclists and support staff for making this happen!