Community action, One Earth Foundation and special needs groups, SUPW Projects

Immigrant labor communities in Nilgiris

The School at Adderley

Over the past decade, there has been an influx of labor into the Nilgiris from states like Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa.  These landless laborers come to work on the tea plantations and settle in small colonies in and around the plantations.  One Earth Foundation has been involved with the children of these communities, largely to understand the educational, social and health challenges that they face and to work with small state aided schools to promote health and education.  It is interesting to note that none of the teachers that have been provided to teach in these schools has a spoken or written knowledge of  Hindi or any other language of the states from which these children originate.  There is a tremendous disconnect as many students are there for 1 or 2 years as their parents rarely stay longer and in these years they fail to pick up Tamil and hence these years are wasted.

Recently, we were pleased to have a school teacher Mrs Unnati Kumar from Chandigarh (UT) visit some of the schools attended by the children of immigrant labor.  She was keen to learn the Activity Based Learning method followed and assessed the overall educational standards achieved by these schools.  Some of her insights will be very useful to One Earth Foundation in its efforts to support these schools.  We thank Mrs Unnati for taking the time to participate in this educational survey.

The Civil Admn needs to recognize this challenge and urgent need.  Local teachers with knowledge of Hindi should be assigned to such schools to ensure that these children do not miss out on these crucial formative years.  We find that most HM’s and teachers of these schools are very focused and dedicated but due to this language barrier unable to complete their syllabus.

Visiting school teacher Mrs Unnati Kumar with the students and HM, Mrs Kirbanmani of the Muthere school The cook in the kitchen kitchen for mid day meals at Adderley school

The play swing in need of repair

A student


The Labor quarters


One Earth Foundation works towards the conservation and preservation of the immense natural and cultural wealth of the Nilgiris region in South India.  For additional information, please contact

Raminder Chowdhary

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