200 tribal youths from five states get a slice of Kerala

“In our village, people don’t go for higher studies. After schooling, they join their family members in farming. So there is no need for colleges,” said Ranjan.

Published: 30th January 2023 05:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th January 2023 05:30 AM   |  A+A-

200 tribal youths

Youth representing different states in their traditional dress

Express News Service

KOCHI: Twenty-year-old Ranjan Kumar Ram, who came all the way from the Lohardaga district of Jharkhand, was stunned seeing a college lab for the first time in his life. He was in Kerala from January 23 as part of the 14th Tribal Youth Exchange Programme. In his lifetime, he has never got a chance to see a science lab in a college. 

“In our village, people don’t go for higher studies. After schooling, they join their family members in farming. So there is no need for colleges,” said Ranjan. He said that nobody is working for a company or in a government office in his village. “We lack proper guidance as well. So I was really happy to visit a college, its library, laboratory and other infrastructure in Kerala,” he replied while asked about his experience. Also, he said that the education system in Kerala is impressive. 

Not only Ranjan, but 200 youths from five different states who participated in the 14th Tribal Youth Exchange Programme had similar stories to share. The Tribal Youth Exchange Programme (TYEP) was organised by the Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, and Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Youths of five states Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana, participated in the seven-day programme being held in Kochi from January 23 to 29. 

Youth performing Odissi dance at the Tribal Youth Exchange Programme

Ankit Kajur, another youth from Jharkhand, also backed Ranjan’s point saying that compared to the health system in Jharkhand, Kerala’s health sector is far more advanced. “In our place, if we require medical treatment, we will have to travel a lot. Here in Kerala, health facilities are good. We saw many hospitals in the city,” Ankit said. 

The youths were impressed by the development and infrastructure in Kerala as well. Dileep Kumar, a boy from Rajnandgaon district of Chhattisgarh, said that he found Kerala, its people, geography and culture beautiful. “In Kerala, we got a chance to see a developed city. I am seeing a sea and shipyard for the first time,” said Dileep.  

The stories are not just about city infrastructure and education and health system here. These youth have stories of struggles to tell as well. They spoke about the struggles they go through in their native places, as many places are under Naxalite control. Savita Pungati, a 19-year-old girl from Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra, said that, of late, the government is providing facilities like education and health services.

But it is not effective as in Kerala. “Ours is a Naxal-affected area, the government is providing all facilities to improve the lives of people in the villages. But not in a proper way,” Savita said. During the seven-day programme, inaugurated by Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, the group visited colleges, and were involved in social and cultural activities.  


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