ABOUT KORKU COMMUNITY
The Korku are an indigenous group inhabiting the region around the Vindhya hills in central India in the bordering states of Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Maharashtra. Previously, they lived inside forests, were engaged in hunting gathering and practiced shifting cultivation of coarse cereals. However, in the last eight decades, with a significant decrease in forests and diminishing rights over forest resources, they have adopted settled cultivation. Agriculture, agricultural labor, migratory casual labor and occasional hunting-gathering together constitute their livelihood. Their script-less language is also called Korku. The community is the home to a unique and distinct culture, possesses a rich heritage of age old traditional systems more pertinently in terms of indigenous knowledge, beliefs, customs and social system. Traditional representative body of the society known as ‘Korku Panchayat’ is found in many villages. Known for poverty, hunger, malnutrition, mass-scale exploitation by moneylenders and traders, the community confronts with numerous socio-economic challenges in the day-to-day life partly due to the poor natural resource bases. Agriculture though the primary source of livelihoods for most of the community members, many of them earn their livelihoods seasonally employed as agricultural labourers.
Dropout rates are way higher for tribal population especially at middle; secondary level. In many families, children above 10 years of age work as labourers and contribute to family’s income. Thus seasonal migration and child labour contribute in keeping children out of school.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Our interaction with the young people in the forest villages has revealed that they have internalized oppression and developed fear of speaking in front of people from outside whom they always believe to be more knowledgeable. They have regarded low self esteem and lack of information, resources and infrastructure and fear of people from outside and authorities as the reason for the lack their motivation to take leadership for their self-development and development of their communities.
The program aims to develop the capacities of Youth and children belonging to korku tribal communities of Harda district of Madhya Pradesh so that they can fulfil their needs and simulatneously work for the development of their villages and communities on the issues of tribal rights and entitlements as per Sustainable Development Goals (especially health and education, as well as land and livelihood).
Long term Objectives:
Improve tribal people's access to quality education and quality health services.
Promote gender equality in the community.
Encourage the community to revive and preserve their culture
Make people aware of their rights: human rights, tribal rights, forest rights, land rights, child rights and sexual and reproductive health
Ensure participatory governance in the community.
Currently, the program is operational in ten korku dominant villages of Harda district: Amba, Bothi, Khari, Javardha, Dong, Aamsagar, Keljhiri, Badwani, Jhallar, and Raisalpur.