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  Tribals Plead for School, Get One

Even after 55 years of independence, Basti village of bhil locality in Barmer district did not have educational facilities. Both the government and gram panchayat did not take any measures to open a school in the village, whose residents were illiterate and unaware.

During an analysis of community problems at village level lack of school came as the top problem. Although MMBA had organised various meetings with the community and made efforts to open a school, the panchayat did not take it seriously and sent the proposals of other villages to the block panchayat.

In this chain of events, a seminar was being organised at Gagaria Centre on the occasion of World Literacy Day. The district collector, development officer, other officers and sarpanch were invited to the seminar.

To take the benefit of the opportunity, MMBA called gram sabha meeting in the Basti village a day earlier and prepared Village Development Committee to put the proposal of opening up the school in their village before the officers in the seminar. Mariam Ben, a member of Village Development Committee agreed to put the proposal and 20 people from the village including 10 women came to the seminar.

At first Mariam Ben was laughed at by the people present in the seminar. But she took the mike and pulled the administration in such a way that everyone started listening to her very seriously. She said that at one end the government has not made any arrangements for education in the village and 50 children of bhil tribe were still illiterate, at the other end the government was spending unnecessarily on such occasions. The district collector got impressed with her and after getting report from the development officer on the status of education in the village, he assured the seminar of opening up of the school.

Though the assurance was given, the people from the village were continuously in touch with the administration from time to time. They made protests as well in front of development officer of Barmer district during capacity development and training programme organised at MMBA headquarters. Mariam Ben put her thoughts in the forum and put pressure on the administration to open up the school.

In this way through the efforts of Village Development Committee and especially Mariam Ben, permission to open Rajiv Gandhi Swarn Jayanti School in the village of bhils has been granted. MMBA has played a vital role in the whole issue.