Ringing in Children’s Day with the Koya, Konda Reddy tribes

Students of ALIET camped in East Godavari hamlets to study challenges faced by the villagers

A group of 30 students of Andhra Loyola Institute of Engineering and Technology (ALIET) went into the forests of East Godavari Agency to spend two days with the Koya and Konda Reddy tribes, as part of a study tour.

The group stayed at the hamlets of Katukapalle, Chimili Vaagu and Venkatapuram, which are located along the inter-State borders with Telangana and Chhattisgarh, on November 13 and 14 and studied the lifestyles of the tribals and celebrated Children’s Day with the young ones of the tribes before returning home.

The students interacted closely with the tribals and enquired about their food, culture, clothing, housing and their daily way of life.

Students split up into teams and visited the huts at Katukapalle and Chimili Vaagu, which have a population of around 200 persons each, said ALIET director and secretary Fr. Francis Xavier, who accompanied the students during the study tour.

“We stayed at Katukapalle on November 13 and 14, and visited the houses of Koya, Konda Reddy and Gotti Koya tribes. A study was done on the tribal culture, livelihood and customs of the Adivasis in the Agency area,” said NSS Coordinator A. Rajesh.

“It was a different experience for us. We observed that there were no medical, education, drinking water, electricity, road and proper transport facilities to Katukapalle,” said a student named P. Charan, who visited the Agency area for the first time.

Many Koya and Konda Reddy tribes eke out a livelihood through fishing and agriculture, while some families still survive on hunting. The nearest towns for the tribals are Palvancha and Bhadrachalam in Telangana State, said students Shaik Ameer and N. Manoj.

Children of the Koya tribe are suffering from malnutrition and are underweight, and lack proper clothing and drinking water faciliites. Education is an alien concept for many of them, they said.

Dr. Francis Xavier said field and experiential learning will help students gain knowledge on the lifestyles of different sections of society.

“We gained a lot of exposure on the lifestyles of Adivasis. We celebrated Children’s Day with the Koya and Konda Reddy children. Singing and dance competitions were conducted and prizes were distributed to the children,” said another student K. Sai Venkata Suri.

“Women in the families go into the forests to collect honey and other produce. They cultivate chilli, jowar, paddy, maize and other crops and sell them in the local shandies,” Mr. Charan said.

The college officials said that the aim of the study tour was to make the students understand the challenges faced by the poorest of the poor in the State and inspire them to work towards their welfare.

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