The Socio-Economic Context
dollars or 63 Rupees is the average Per Capita Income per day in Sivagangai district
Our school is situated in Sivagangai district, Tamil Nadu; it is one of the least developed districts in India. Our students come from low-caste families that have engaged in subsistence agriculture and manual labour for many generations. The district is frequently affected by drought, which lead to reduced farm incomes and loss of livelihood.
A serious problem in the district is alcoholism amongst working age men, with alcohol consumption growing at 9% annually despite the poor economic climate. A significant number of men are either out of the workforce or spend the majority of their earnings on alcohol. The largest employer in this area is MNREGA, the government’s rural work scheme; 82% of the people it employs locally are women, according to government statistics.
Consequently, women in the community face multiple arduous burdens. They are often primary breadwinners, laboring under harsh and exploitative conditions for meager daily wages. They are solely responsible for all domestic work and childcare. And they suffer from lack of basic amenities like piped water and cooking gas; this forces them to walk long distances each day carrying heavy bundles of firewood for cooking and large pots of water for household consumption. Girls are also at high risk of being coerced into an early marriage with a close family member due to prevailing customs.
We take our students’ socio-economic context into careful consideration. Our ultimate aim is to create informed, assertive, critical thinkers who will work to improve village infrastructure, promote water conservation and environmentally friendly farming practices and question harmful gender norms. We strongly believe that educating the least privileged members of the local community and empowering them to drive change is the most sustainable and impactful solution to the problems that India’s most deprived districts face.
of villagers in Sivagangai District are unbanked
of villagers in Sivagangai District don’t have access to a safe source of drinking water
of our students’ mothers stated that they are married to their maternal uncle during school admission interviews
of women in Sivagangai District are illiterate
of women in Sivagangai district use firewood to cook
Sources: Census of India 2011; Tamil Nadu District Fact Book 2017