Determined Dantewada learns to beat illiteracy

Fifty-five-year-old tribal Samul Ram at Kasaoli village in Dantewada peers into the computer screen as his wrinkled fingers type out the alphabet on the keyboard.

Published: 10th September 2017 09:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th September 2017 09:03 AM   |  A+A-

A class in progress in a Dantewada school. | Express Photo Service

RAIPUR: Fifty-five-year-old tribal Samul Ram at Kasaoli village in Dantewada peers into the computer screen as his wrinkled fingers type out the alphabet on the keyboard. Samul is among the hundreds who have become literate through the use of the unique software Aakhar Jhanpi. Another tribal who now uses a computer is Rambati, who has never seen a classroom.

Aakhar Jhapi, designed in Hindi and in tribal dialects Halbi and Gondi, has helped bring exposure to this backward region. Recently, Dantewada got the National Literacy Award 2017-09-09 from Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on September 8, the International Literacy Day.

“In 110 gram panchayats of the district, over 200 motivators (teachers or preraks) have been appointed and trained to work on the literacy mission,” Dantewada Collector Saurabh Kumar said. The initiative has also turned Dantewada district jail, with around 800 inmates, as the first literate prison in Chhattisgarh. “Educated prisoners were trained as preraks. They conduct daily classes for two hours each in the morning and evening in every barrack. Now all the inmates are literate,” said jail superintendent G S Sori.

For former convict Sanjay Kumar, this was a turning point. “After I was released from jail, I could easily gather information about Antvyavsayi Yojana of the government. Being literate also helped me in securing a loan for my shop, which I named ‘Saksharta’ (literacy),” he said. Dantewada has one of the lowest literacy rates in the country. As per the 2011 Census, there were around 80,680 illiterate people in the district. “In the past six years, 78,226 people between the age group of 15-45 years have been made literate. They have passed the Mahapariksha Abhiyan examinations,” the Collector said.

Learning Curve
Hundreds of people have become literate through the software Aakhar Jhanpi, designed in Hindi and in tribal dialects Halbi and Gondi

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