VANAYATHRA TO ACHAMPET
Sunday April 4th, 2010 was memorable for fifteen of us. We had a beautiful trip to a tribal school in Achampet, a small village 100kms from Hyderabad. The school had scheduled its Annual Day on that day and we wanted to attend the function. We were a group of software engineers from different IT companies who wanted to give a bit of our time to the society. In spite of our diverse backgrounds, we all have a common goal— to work for the society and we chose to help the most neglected people of the society …tribal children. We started in the early morning in a tempo and 5 member group in their own car and had great time during the journey too. We played quizzes, sang songs and played some innovative games that made our journey a lot of fun.
We first had Darshan at SriSailam before leaving for Achampet. When we reached the Achampet tribal school, we had a warm welcome. These men who welcomed us have dedicated their whole lives for the development and the upliftment of the tribal people. We were just amazed with the warm welcome. The School has 40 primary school children and 16 higher secondary school children who all are taught free and with free accommodation. In a meeting with the volunteers, Prof. Rawat from IIIT Hyderabad asked whether Government gives any aid to the school and the volunteers replied that Government aid is unreliable, so they prefer private donations and volunteer help.
The function started on time at 6.00PM evening and the little, innocent children started with a patriotic song. These little children performed some of the tribal traditional arts like kolata (the one shown in “radha kaise na jale song in Lagaan movie”) & chekkabajana that are getting obsolete for many reasons. We were fortunate enough to see two young archers aiming at the homemade archery target with great accuracy and strength. These two youngsters represented Andhra Pradesh in the State level competitions. Some of us tried our hand with the bow as well, but failed miserably
Later, the children did the pyramid type gymnastics and some of the difficult Yoga postures. It was dark in the evening at 7PM and there was a sudden power cut and it was pitch dark. The children neither feared nor got disturbed but continued the show with full confidence and the discipline during that time. We were amazed by their attitude. In the invitees list, there was a doctor who is in his mid 40s and we were told he was the 1st doctor from their tribe. We were surprised that our nation that has so many medical colleges generating lakhs of doctors was just able to get 1 doctor till today from this tribe. Some of the other factors were also shocking to many of us. Life expectancy of the tribe is just 23 years when the country claims the average Indian age is >65years. No surprise that this tribe’s population has dropped from 25 lakhs to 25,000. Now the school with the help of donations is providing medical facility too. Many school children have not seen a television or a train yet. That was really surprising and the school management asked us to make frequent visits and invite them to the city to bring awareness to the children.
Youth for Seva hopes to conduct more such trips, connect the youth of our society back to the roots and contribute in every possible way.