Bonda Community Health and Development

Bonda Community Health and Development:

Goal:
To empower the Bonda community in Orissa, India towards the holistic development, in the areas of health, education, food security through increased social organization and community participation.

The Bonda tribe is one of the most primitive tribes in India. They live on the hills called the Bonda Hills in Khairput district of Malkangiri District, Orissa. They are known among themselves as Remo (man). They are divided into Upper and Lower Bondas. The Upper Bondas live in 32 villages in the hills with a population of 5,565. They are hostile to outsiders and still retain their distinctive socio – cultural features. Their unusual appearance and dress, the notorious homicidal tendencies of the men, the unfamiliar language and the inaccessibility of their abode separate this tribe from the rest of Orissa. The Lower Bondas live at the foot of the Bonda hills. They maintain a symbiotic relationship with the surrounding peasant communities. The traditional and primary occupation of the Bonda tribe is shifting cultivation. Shifting cultivation is essentially a regulated sequence of procedures designed to open up and bring under cultivation patches of forest lands usually on hill slopes. They also engage in gleaning of forest products in season, hunting, fishing, animal husbandry and settled cultivation. The making and selling of soft brooms and liquor and the seasonal sale of vegetables largely through the barter system, are some of the ways of supplementing income. The income is meagre and cash in hand is a small amount. The expenditure is mainly on food, ritual, ceremonies, health and entertainment. Asha Kiran has participated in the tribal development of the Bonda community in various aspects of health, education, community and language development. Asha Kiran values the investment of resource and effort put into the tribal community development among the Bonda people in India. To that, Asha Kiran team has been living with them for the last 15 years and facilitating their development through:

  • Health
    • Clinic – a peripheral clinic is run in Dumripada village. There are 8 trained Health assistants who manage patients with support from Asha Kiran Hospital. A doctor from the base hospital visits monthly. Constant telephonic communication is maintained and more serious cases are transported either to the Govt. district hospital or Asha Kiran Hospital. Plans are being made to establish a direct video link to Asha Kiran Hospital in order to facilitate better service to sick patients.
    • 9 focus villages with a population have been chosen and each of these has a trained community health worker who dispenses primary health care. Each village is also visited once a week by the health assistant. The Community Health Workers (CHWs) meet monthly in the clinic to share information, for teaching and to collect mortality/morbidity statistics.
  • Education
    • Children: Asha Kiran runs 3 multi-lingual education schools (MLEs) in the Bonda Hills with a student population of around 200. The teachers are from the Bonda community (Upper and Lower) and the medium of instruction upto class 2 is Bonda. After this, Oriya is introduced into the syllabus and by class 5 the children have been bridged over to Oriya and English and are ready to take part in state school education. The teachers attend monthly sessions in Asha Kiran in order to strengthen teaching skills and improve their knowledge base.
    • Preschool
    • Helping in Government primary schools
  • Development
    • Developing Kitchen gardens
    • Formation of Grain banks
    • Documentation of natural resources
    • Facilitating NREGA work
  • Language Development
    • Production of a Bonda picture dictionary
    • Anthropological documentation of practices

Read on Soma's story