Sunday, November 4, 2007

Case Study Somepalli Somaiah Tribal aid and research center

An old man is walking into the woods, the deepest and sometimes called the virgin forests of the Nallamalla, into the inhabbitations of the Chenchus one of the most Primitive Tribal Groups of the Country. He walks in and still nobody talks to him, they look at the stranger and go on with their daily chores. This was way back in 1999 and he was trekking all the while all the way for almost 2 years or so in the forests of Kurnool District in Andhra Pradesh and then one fine day one of the chenchu kids got hurt and the old man applied some medicine and a tablet, the boy started to get well.

Thus started the Journey of the tribal project Somepalli Somaiah Tribal aid and research Project by Mr U Mallikarjuna sarma. One fine day he met Mr Aekka Chandra sekhar then Pracharak (full time volunteer) of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) incharge of the Community development activities in western Andhra Pradesh. Mr Sarma asked "Sekharji how can I do something to these tribals. They dont know what they need.

They cant ask leave alone fight". Sekharji Replied " Mr.Sarma education and health care are basic needs lets start with them". "But by the way why are you so concerned of them".Mr Sarma said "I worked in the Polytechnic college for the PTG Chenchus for 3 years only one chenchu joined the course and he too left the course. I have resolved to see atleast one chenchu complete a polytechnic course and go on to become a successful enterprenuer".Mr Sekharji said " ok then I shall stand by you.

You can rely on me for men and money but the method you take care of"I was amused and still am by the determination of this hero. Who is he just another beaurocrat he could have well forgotten like many others! But thats the difference that these people who make a difference have.I read it somewhere that succesful people do things differently and not that they do different things.Comming back to the present today the project has 18 volunteers apart from 3 doctors 5 teachers and 2 vocational trainers along with a physical education trainer. Today 36 Chenchu hamlets and 7,300 Chenchus and a mobile dispensary a voccational training center and also a residential school for 55 Chenchu boys is all Mr Sama could achieve.

And yeah he is succesful in placing the first 10th pass out from the school in the ITDA office as an office boy. One step nearer to his goal, but still long way to go.But the road ahead is tuffer rugged and dangerous with Naxals (leftist extremists), the redtapped beaurocrats, the liquor addicted Chenchu families TB affected dying people theres no light in sight. Mr Sarma still goes to the hamlets talks to them and the Chenchus today are not shying away they come to him for help.

TRIBAL AID and research project

There is no education than a native talent; all that is needed is nurturing it.

When is the last time you have thought of an Ekalavyaa or a Bhakta kannappa……Don’t you think they deserve more?

The literacy rate is a meager 7-10% in the Chenchus, and with 3% in the net of the deadly TB and nobody (not even they themselves) to care for. The female literacy is still worse.Chenchu – a primitive tribal group in the Nallamalai forest still depends on forest as their only saviour. To have a closer view of their life visit the gudem Mekallanbanda beside Srisailam temple a well-known Pilgrim spot and see the harsh reality of darkness.

Another illuminating example is except the native tribe Chenchus, all others are admitted in to the local Polytechnic College and when the first Chenchu was admitted here with assistance from Mr. Sharma other ST Tribals ragged him. The Chenchus are the original custodians of the Lord Mallikarjuna the presiding diety of Srisailam. Seva Bharathi’s efforts first started off as a residential School for Chenchu boys and then after over an year in 2001-02, Seva Bharathi has taken up the awareness camps in all the 34 gudems in which 177 Chenchus participated thanks to the efforts of Mr. Sharma (a retired Regional Joint director, technical education) and support given by CAPART.

The problems are numerous from ignorance of the Chenchus, their reluctance to change the bad roads, miles to walk with no facility to reach the habitations, the red-tapism in the Govt. and you can visualize the nature of the work. The activity includes a Residential Hostel for 50 Chenchu boys, 2 vocational training centers for the women, 4 Tribal schools run by tribal youth trained by Mr. Sharma in alphabets and small things like community health, hygiene etc., Medical awareness and aid center. Also Community volunteers and health workers armed with the knowledge and kit to them. They work all the way for the betterment of their community with 100% commitment.

Tribal Hostel for the Chenchus: A residential school was started in a rented structure for Chenchu boys who are shy to face the outside world back in 1998. But as is known the tribe is very rich in cultural arts. The boys made their own clay idol of Ganesha for Ganesha chaturdi. They are good at hunting / archery and have won laurels at the district level. (Bhakta Kannappa Gurukulam) in Gokavaram with 50 Tribal Boys, another for the Gonds and Kollhams of the Adilabad district are being run at Manchiryal (Ekalavya Awasam) with 57 children.The Tribal aid center has started a vocational training in different trades that can make the Chenchu boys self-reliant.Vocational training center: Now a dimension added to the center is the vocational training center with a research dimension into the life style and tribal economy. The Chenchu children who are above 6th class are trained in Vocational trades for their own self reliance.

Mobile Dispensary: Seva Bharathi is now providing medical aid to the Chenchu hamlets thanks to the govt of India funded Mobile Dispensary. It has been treating on an average 6,000 Chenchu patients in Kurnool districtTB Eradication: Since TB affects 3% of the population of Chenchus an Anti-TB Treatment drive has been taken up. Reggular TB check-ups, camps, as well as treatment initiatives from the Dsitrict TB control society as a result of pressure from Seva Bharathi efforts.

Distribution of nutritious food: Seva Bharathi has also taken up the campaign against malnutrition in Chenchus. As a result 3 kgs of Rice,1.5 kgs of jowar, 0.5 kgs of dal and 14 eggs per week has been taken up. The result is there for all to see, a drastic fall in TB cases after one year.Come forward to help us save a rich cultural life of these children of Mother Nature.

Location of the Project :
Somepally Somaiah Tribal Aid & Research Center

Sevabharathi Hospital,
Gokavaram (Post),
Kothapally Mandal,
Kurnool – 518422.
Ph No: 08517 – 242106


Mobile dispensary inaugurated

The Mobile dispensary Has been on wheels for quite sometime, but was formally inaugurated by the Nandyal Member of parliament Sri S P Y Reddy (Nandi Pipes) on 4th of March 2007 10:30 am at Nandyal.

This is a project supported by an US based NGO IDRF (India Development and Relief Fund) to take Medical Aid to the most needy people in the interior unattended areas of the Nallamalla forest the CHENCHUS.

Chenchus are a Primitive Tribal Group in the Nallamalla forest spread across 6 districts but predominantly the Kurnool, Prakasham, and the Mahaboobnagar Districts. The MOBILE DISPENSARY would in the first phase cater to the Chenchus in Kurnool District.
The Effort would be co-ordinated by Sanghamitra Seva Samithi a unit of Seva Bharathi but autonomous NGO working in the Kurnool district.