Lodha Community Project (Gangasagar Island) is being run in Sagar Block in South 24 Parganas to bring a change in the lives of children of Lodha community- a marginalized tribal community living in Bengal is considered untouchables. Education support is being given to 130 children in the Block, out of which 30 are from Lodha Community and programmes on health and hygiene is also being provided to poverty-stricken people of a village.
Since 2011 Loreto – KMWSC has supported this non-formal school for children of the extremely poor and marginalized Lodha ‘tribal’ community on Sagar Island at the mouth of the River Hooghly.
Their livelihood is principally casual work as crab hunters, fishers. The Lodhas were designated a ‘criminal tribe’ in the British time. Now ‘de-notified’ they still carry the social stigma of outcaste and untouchables.
The Education learning Center, has been managed with 3 local teachers trained by KMWSC in a ‘community hall’, aiming to place Lodha children, and other poor local children, into mainstream schools there, and help them to succeed by continued educational support and guidance to raise their self respect and self-confidence, along with their literacy and general academic status.
Medical camps are also held. 100 vulnerable children which includes 40 from the Lodha community are presently attending the center. Till date 100 children from the Lodha community and poor communities have been admitted to local government Schools. Alternative livelihood option as poultry farming/ ducklings and fish farming has been introduced for the community people to establish economic sustainability. It is a small effort of KMWSC to inculcate the habits of doing themselves for income generation as this community people are mobile in nature for livelihood. Lives are changing, things are going to be better. The teachers have assisted the elder ones to procure an identity from the local administration. They lived without any entitlement and identity from the beginning. The teachers are helping the younger ones to obtain the Adhar Cards (Unique identification Authority of India) from the local administration. The pregnant mothers are getting facilities of government schemes for pregnant mothers. The children of Lodha community are perusing studies gradually with follow up of our teachers. Thus the future of young generation will be changed.