Showcasing tribal children’s talents

 Saritha S Balan THIRUVANANTHAPURAM-The latest issue of the magazine ‘Ponpulari’ has one more reason to cheer  with tribal students as its major contributors.

The major portion of the works in this edition of the magazine are by tribal students of ‘Mahila Shikshan Kendra’, which are centres for school dropout female children, run by Kerala Mahila Samakhya Society.

Though it started publication in 2009, this is for the first time that ‘Ponpulari’ has works by children from almost all tribal communities.

Sources said that the latest issue, brought out in the second week of October, has contributions from children belonging to Paniya, Kattunaykan, Cholanaikan, Malavettuva and Kurichyaa communities, whereas earlier only students from Hill Pulaya and Muthuvan tribal communities wrote for ‘Ponpulari’. KMSS views the development as an encouragement to its efforts to give education to more children of the marginalised groups.

“Writing by the children in the magazine   will help attract more children to the kendras as they realise that there are others like them and there is place to recognise and encourage their abilities. The children have not got formal training. But they write well. It is their life experiences which make the works heart-touching. In the case of tribal students, writing itself was a strange affair for them in earlier days since their method of communication over the years differed from that of the mainstream society,” said KMSS state project director P E Usha.

Many children in the kendras have gone through harsh conditions in life like being victims of abuse, being abandoned by the parents and the like.

The writings in the magazine are in the form of poetry, short story, drawings, experience sharing, history narration etc.  There are works about human-nature relationship, fading values in society, folklore art forms, brief history about tribal groups, gotra languages.

‘Ponpulari’ is the outcome of the realisation that these children are talented and they need a platform to express it,’’ said Seema Bhaskar, former state project director of KMSS.

The KMSS is planning to increase the number of issues of the magazine every year instead of the current two or three issues in a year as it would further improve the self-esteeem of students.

“The magazine helps in a great way to make the children more self-confident  which is not an easy task as these children have not yet been fully incorporated in  the mainstream society and have been denied the basic facilities while growing up,” said P E Usha.

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Author: madhubaganiar

Madhubaganiar loves to write on social issues especially for downtrodden segment of Indian society.

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