Tuting Adult Literacy Project
The Tuting region is located in the remote northern part of India’s north-eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. It is here where Tibetans from the Kham region of Tibet crossed the border and settled where they could, scraping a living from working on the land as subsistence farmers. The region is so extremely remote that the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in India only learned of the existence of the Tuting Tibetans in the early 1990s. The villages where most of them settled are not accessible by bus, which goes only as far as the small town of Tuting. To reach the villages entails walking on foot from the town for a few hours or, in the case of the farthest villages, for seven days.
Children from the villages are now in boarding schools near Dharamsala, thousands of miles away. Visits home to their families in Tuting villages occur once every three to five years, with the journey from Dharamsala taking at least a week. With no phones in the villages, writing is the only means of communication. So mothers in Tuting are determined to become literate in order to be able to correspond with their children.
TRAS started funding the Tuting Adult Literacy Project in 2010, with 45 women in one class twice a week. It was soon up to 91 women, with classes held in a few more villages. It has now grown again. This report recently arrived from the project coordinator:
This report was received early in 2012 from the project co-ordinator: “By the kind generous assistance of the Department of Education and TRAS, we commenced adult literacy program from July 2010 to July 2011 without stopping with the total attendance of 161 learners. A total number of 10 teachers was appointed to carry out the activities of adult education. The programs were organized for five different groups at 5 villages for a period of 3 hours every night. Many of the illiterate people are now able to read and write English and obviously Tibetan script too.
As such, some are now able to read and recite Tibetan religious books, but still they need further classes to become perfect in reading and writing. The people are taking an interest towards this program and intend to continue to attend the classes. They are very proud of themselves for being able to read and learn the script within this short span of time. Also 30 others are keen and eager to join. We are proud to confidently mention that we have received great benefit from this adult literacy program.”
Over the summer and fall many of the women were too busy in the fields to continue their lessons. The new settlement officer expects to get the lessons going again soon.