Jatapara is a small village near Dumka, Jharkhand, India with 60+ families. Most of these families belong to a tribal community called Santals. The Santals are one of the largest tribal groups in Eastern India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Communities considered high cast in this area refer to the Santals as a low cast people group. They have been not only looked down upon but also exploited in many ways.
Though the government has been trying to bring development among them, they still live in extreme poverty. Their main source of income is agriculture. At the same time their agriculture is dependent on rain they receive during monsoon season. Due to the hilly area, irrigation is a challenge. As a result people either remain jobless or they go to cities to find jobs in factories and construction work. They bring their children to work alongside them, so the children do not get educated.
The government has started schools in almost all the villages but due to lack of teachers the education system is not functioning well. In addition, the parents have no taste of education (they are all illiterate). Therefore, even if children go to school because of mid-day food provided by government, they hardly learn anything. Most of these children don’t even go to school past the age of 12.
Looking at this situation, it is very important for us to do Transformational Community Development (TCD) in a village like this. So we decided to get involved in their lives. We already had the man of peace in this village. This was another reason why we thought of doing TCD in this village.
The initial plan for this village was to begin with a bore well to provide drinking water for the village. This is a seed project to see how committed the villagers are to the TCD process. The next steps would include increasing literacy through education programs, like after school study, and increasing opportunities for income generation such as raising goats and chickens.