Gadaba & Desiya Literacy & Language Development:
Ongel is an interior village in the Malkangiri District of Orissa. It is geographically isolated and its residents cannot easily access their Block Headquarters Khairaput. The few young men and women were interested to learn Oriya and they send a request letter to Asha Kiran Literacy Unit. The Literacy workers visited and conducted a village meeting. The prospective learners were asked to visit another literacy center in a village for exposure purposes. Five learners visited a village in Kangrapada which was 40 kms away from Ongel. Followed by that a street play was arranged for the village. The learners paid for the expenses incurred for the drama team. Later, 22 learners enrolled for the literacy classes. The learners did ‘coolie jobs’ and arranged for kerosene lamps. Since there were no teachers, the supervisor invited a teacher from a nearby village to stay on and teach the learners. The learners contributed in kind, labour-building a mud wall with thatched roof, food for the teachers, kerosene etc. Overall the village contributed about Rs.3,956/- per year. As part of learning, 9 learners visited Vishakhapatnam for exposure, all of them traveling by train for the first time ever, and visited the beach and the zoo.Looking at their friends' progress, neighboring villages are now asking for literacy classes. They also would like it to be a contributory process. It is encouraging to note that the learners are willing to contribute to their learning. The Literacy & Language Unit of AKS hopes that the surrounding villages will soon be motivated in the days to come.
Gadaba & Desiya communities are predominantly agrarian and a majority of their produce is not sufficient for their subsistence. Globalization has wedged interior villages and created a desire to amass modern gadgets. In the last decade people have migrated for labour to places like Mumbai, Delhi and AP which has affected them positively and on the other hand left them gloomy about their future. This has jeopardized their language and ethnic identity.
The Literacy & Language Unit works in partnership with community members to facilitate adults learners to acquire reading and writing skills in order to fulfil their social responsibilities like marketing, official works, schooling & banking.
Different activates of the unit:
- Community health visits
- Adult literacy class
- Helping in Government primary schools
- Developing Kitchen gardens
- Formation of Grain banks
- Documentation of natural resources
- Facilitating NREGA work
- Language Development
- Production dictionary
- Anthropological Documentation and Practices