Saturday, September 17, 2016

Albaro T. ILR '17, Demographic and Educational Trends of Tribal Communities

Albaro (center) with Madam Sindhu, Director of VIIS, and GH student Azael.
My name is Albaro Tutasig and I am a current senior in the ILR School. This past summer I spent six weeks in Karnataka, India as part of the Cornell in India Global Service Learning program. As part of the program, I spent the first two weeks taking courses on gender, Kannada (Karnataka’s official language), labor and economics in the context of India. Besides formal classes, my colleagues and I had the opportunity to travel to a few landmarks of Karnataka. Traveling to these heritage sites allowed us to get a better understanding of South Indian culture, and what sort of practices and customs made the region unique to India.

Upon completing our first two weeks, we were all sent to our distinct project sites to begin our work. I had the distinguished opportunity to work at the Viveka Tribal Centre for Learning (VTCL) in Hosahalli, India. VTCL is part of an education initiative made possible by the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM). VTCL is a school with a mission to provide children from tribal communities with a formal education. I was in charge of updating a database that consisted of the students’ demographics (age, gender, caste, and where they come from). This kind of information is crucial for the development of the school because it gives administrators some insight of how to approach recruitment for the upcoming years. If one region of the zone is lacking student attendance, then the school’s administration would know to allocate more resources to make sure said struggling region is getting the help it needs.

Few experiences have had such a profound impact on the way I perceive things such as education, culture, and traditions. The goal of VTCL is to educate children from tribal communities, but to also celebrate their own traditions and to guide them down a sustainable path that could be achieved through education.

Alvaro ILR'17 gives his final presentation at VTCL in Hosahalli, India.

Alvaro and the ILR team with the mentors at the Hosahalli Tribal School.

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