KOCHI:As a safe place to learn, grow and develop, an alternative school called Gothrathalam for a tribal children is allowing children to make their presence felt in society.Situated 20 km from Thiruvananthapuram city in a small village called Chavady, the alternative school at Ravi Nagar Colony near Kanjiramkulam was founded by Mini Raman and her husband Sudhi Nammayan.
The school was started in a shed in 2012 and the main aim of the school was to build confidence by providing basic education to the students in their colony. Mini is from Wayanad and belongs to the Paniya tribe. She was a school dropout herself and later got enrolled into an alternate school called Kanavu (dream) started by K C Baby.
“My inspiration to start Gothrathalam was Kanavu. If not for Kanavu, I would have remained a dropout. I learned a lot from Kanavu and incorporated the same to Gothrathalam,” says Mini.The students of Gothrathalam came up with a play called ‘Branthu Kali’ which won the Kaataal State award for best play and director in 2017. But due to a lack of resources, they could organise only the debut performance. Now after a year, Gothrathalam will be put up a show at the Ganesham hall, Thycaud, on May 24 and 25. ‘Branthu Kali’ showcases the students’ skills and discusses conflict and communal clashes. The lyrics and music for the play is composed by Suni R S, who was the main lead of state award-winning movie Manhole.
“Initially, many of the tribal kids could not read or even write their own name, as here in the colony, they don’t speak Malayalam. So an alternate school was the best option to bring in a change. Today, it’s a different scenario; things are far better,” says serial and film actor Shyam Reji, who directed the play.
He noted a lack of funds meant they could put up only one performance so far. “This play is very special for us. It an of inspiration for the students of Gothrathalam as they get to showcase their creativity and skills,” says Shyam.
Apart from dabbling in theatre, the students here are also trained in martial arts, music and dance. They are taught tribal songs from around the country. Gothrathalam now plans to make the children aware of and tackle social issues in their surroundings.
Even without great infrastructure, Gothrathalam the alternative school is providing tribal children’s of Chavady a safe place to grow with the aim of ‘no more dropouts’.and the sufferings it caused to the multitudes of creatures. This became a focal point of his realisation that a change is needed in society’s outlook towards forest.