The program of education for mica working children is underway for the third year of implementation in a remote tribal area in Tisri block of Giridih district of Jharkhand State. In Tisiri block, mica work is the main occupation for more than 30000 families. As per our survey in 1998, 3020 working children were engaged in mica work. It is a drought prone area with no other employment locally available. There are very less facilities such as road, transport and communication.
Mica working children’s life is confined to the mines and they don’t know any other outside world. Many children were victims of asthma, bronchitis and silicosis. To add insult to injury, the mica agents and sub-agents used to sell alcohol in the mines. The drinking habits made many families spent their hard-earned money in drinking, leaving the children and family in lurch. Despite these suffering the attention of authorities is yet to catch up with the reality of the mica mines and its children.
Education for the mica-working children is being carried out in 20 villages in Tisri block of Giridih district . At least 675 children working in the mica sector are now benefiting from the education centers established exclusively for them.
Small help transformed the life of 675 poor tribal mica-working families. Isolated and poor families were now united and connected with each other as well as with the local government. These small actions had great humanising effect on the life of many poor families. They were skilled and made capable to deal with their problems individually and collectively
Anita Hembrum is a Santhali women. She has two sons. Her husband was a migrant worker working in Calcutta. She is a mica-working woman. The formation of women group changed her life for good. Once her son was critically sick and promptly the women group came to her rescue. Not only giving money, but also they jointly arranged to transport her son to the hospital. This timely help saved the life of her son. Though number of women was reluctant earlier to join the women group, this incident has been an eye-opener for them.