Kanal’s drive to empower tribal girls – The New Indian Express


Through Express press service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In the context of alleged suicides of young victims of sexual abuse in backward communities in rural areas of the district, the Women and Child Development Department (WCD) and other authorities are taking action and carrying out an investigation into the matter. To understand the issues these communities face, Kanal Innovations, an NGO, is launching a campaign in five panchayats with tribal people – Peringamala, Palode, Kuttichal and Vithura.

Anson PD Alexander, President of Kanal, says, “We conducted a study on socio-political issues in Amboori in 2017-2018 where we identified many issues faced by women and children in tribal communities. One of the main issues was the prevalence of child marriage. Many studies and seminars have also been conducted by the WCD department in tribal communities. Recently, in a survey conducted on tribal settlements in the district, we also recorded the suicide of six tribal girls due to alleged sexual abuse and the report was handed over to the department.

The NGO recently organized a “Kaliyarang” children’s camp in Idinjar in a tribal school in Peringamala. The children’s camp was organized with the support of the District’s Child Protection Unit. “A total of 106 children from the tribal settlements have enrolled in the program. Even the parents of the children who accompanied them were made aware of the issues. We have already started the campaign in Peringamala and initially we will give advice to girls in the tribal settlements,” Anson said.

In addition to the socio-political issues, the NGO had also conducted a study on the impact of the pandemic on learning. He revealed that students from tribal areas could take less than an hour of online lessons at a stretch due to lack of mobile phone connectivity and other issues such as power outages. Nearly 30 students from the tribal settlements of Kottor, Amboori and other nearby settlements participated in the survey. While the investigation revealed that five children were forced to use a single phone to attend lessons, others had to miss the live stream due to the lack of proper internet connectivity in the area.

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