Crafting architects of a better India
Wada: Friends of Tribals Society (FTS) a non-governmental, voluntary organization has been committed towards the upliftment of the deprived underprivileged in rural India for the nearly three decades. Working for the last mile population for their betterment to face the trials and tribulations of life has been the motto for FTS for all these years. It is FTS’s belief that literacy is the key to progress and this is reiterated through their unyielding work at the very grassroots. With a nationwide network of 32 chapters all over India FTS has been serving the villagers through basic education for children, healthcare education (hygiene), developmental education and empowerment education.
FTS has been serving the society for 28 years in 30 cities. Currently FTS operates 53,242 schools and over the years it has educated 15,89,177 students (of which 7,70,913 were boys and 8,18,264 were girls). Today, FTS organized a journey to one of their schools about 150 kilometers from Mumbai to Barafpada, a small village/hamlet in Wada Taluka in Thane District of Maharashtra to experience the change being brought about.
Friends of Tribals Society was established on January 15, 1989, with a commitment to make way for a better India by spreading education among the underprivileged children who had no access to it. The Ekal Vidyalaya (One Teacher Schools) is a manifestation of this commitment. Through these schools FTS take education to the doorstep of the tribal populate.
Elaborating on the role of Ekal Vidyalayas and FTS in creating a better India, the representative of Friends of Tribals Society said, “Ekal Vidyalaya is a movement involved in integrated and holistic development of rural and tribal India. The main activity undertaken in this movement is to run one-teacher schools (known as Ekal Vidyalayas) all over India, in the remotest rural and tribal villages to take education to the reach of every child. Our teachers try to inculcate in the students social awareness, discipline and basic hygiene besides education. The Ekal movement aims to help eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India following the philosophy of rural development based on the criteria of equality and inclusiveness across all sections of the society.”
The single teacher schools provides the poor and needy children with much needed extra coaching which is not possible in Government run schools. In the process the value of education, love for books is inculcated to minimize the dropout rate.
Mr. Ravindra Thapad, Acharya of the School said, “I myself was a student of FTS and it helped me grow as a person and compete with the society. Today I am teaching in a school besides devoting time to students here and helping them to sustain their interest in books.”
Mr. Kashinath Kirkire who was a student of Ekal Vidyalaya in 2005 has dedicated his time and life to the benefit of humanity at large by working for Ekal at the Wada Centre.