Journey of Nidhi Foundation to Kalvarayan Hills
Kalvarayan Hills are located in Villupuram district of Tamilnadu in India. The sprawling hills have dense green forests, as far as your eyes can see. Kalvarayan Hills are the home of more than 1,45,000 people and is house to the tribal community. Walking through the steep path through the thickly forested lanes, our team reached to a small community where houses are made of mud and bamboo. “People over here have higher rates of infant mortality, unemployment and poor health” one of the social workers told us.
Poverty rates among tribal community are quite high. People in every second house have a poor diet which results into inadequate vitamins and protein consumption. This situation is a reflection of hardship that the tribal population has faced over the years either due to inability to purchase any resources or because of the geographical nature of the place where they cannot access to essential nutrition services. Adding more to the injury, people don’t have a proper mode to commute and the lack of proper road facilities makes it even tougher for them to fulfill their day-to-day needs. Here, People have to walk more than 5kms until they get any means of transportation to the main city which is a hub of the things required for day-to-day living; the people who live in the secluded villages have to travel more than 14kms.
The livelihood of the people depends on the monsoon rains. There is no safe and wholesome water even for drinking. People use open well water. And during the peak periods of monsoon, the water gets muddy, polluted, and unfit for drinking purposes; they have no other option but to use this water only. Due to this, they come in contact with various life-threatening water-borne diseases.
The thought of moving them to a better place where they can easily access the resources and integrating them back into the society seems like a foregone conclusion as people possess ethnic, religious or linguistic traits that are quite different from the dominant groups in the societies where they would be moved to. They also tend to have a sense of cultural identity or social solidarity that many members attempt to maintain. And furthermore, it can also somewhere expose them to suffer the racial prejudice or poor treatment at the hands of others.
The population of Kalvarayan Hills is in the great danger of malnutrition and have ever-widening literacy gap because they have limited means of earning which results into poor diet and no education.
During our visit to the area, we went to various regional schools and conducted the workshops to educate the children and their parents about the impact of malnutrition and illiteracy on their lives and how we can work towards the better health, education, and future of these children. Nidhi Foundation has vowed to fight malnutrition under its Mission Nutrition programme and to bridge the literacy gap in the children of the tribal community of Kalvarayan Hills through Remedial Classes. In order to achieve our vision, we have ensured that every child gets a 200ml milk a day until he/she reaches the desired BMI and regain their concentration level.