Erky though it is nearer to the state capital Ranchi of Jharkhand State it is remote and most of its villages are inaccessible. Munda tribes predominantly occupy it and in this part of the district even Hindi language is a foreign language. In all its contrasts this particular block assumes historical importance being the birthplace of tribal patriot Birsa Munda. In spite of political and historical importance the social indicators of literacy and health are ranking the lowest in the state.
The primary schools are on the verge of collapse. Though right to education is stated as a policy of the government, here many schools in past few years were closed and no teacher turned up to school. Though 4 high schools are present it could not bring out students passing out successfully. As the primary schools are in verge of collapsing, the middle and high schools are languishing without students.
The primary health centers were in no better situation. For years together the health machinery remained rusted and unused for want of medical personnel.
Consequently, the life of the poor Munda tribes has to depend on their own system of medicines. Spending their money in sacrificing animals and conducting many rituals were the system here. Deaths were common and so were the issues of orphans and widows. What was needed here was intervention primarily to encourage and motivate the children to attend schools. Further local teachers knowing Mundari and Hindi language were essential to educate the children. Keeping these in view 30 education rejuvenation units were established within or in the vicinity of the existing government schools.
The Mundari tribals local panchayat is strong and they meet regularly every week to sort out various issues. Education or health or the development programs of the government, which were meant for them, was never an agenda on their meetings. But with the establishment of the education centers, the panchayats support and participation was roped in and education and functioning of the schools, functioning of health centers and to ensure the development programs reach them were made part of their regular agenda.
Hunt is a tribal school. Three years before only 12 children were in the school. The school functioned not even 100 days previously. Now the school is improved with 164 children studying in the school. With active participation of the village panchayat, the teachers are now regular to the schools. They also involved in enrolment drive and made decisions to send all the children. With the result the right to education was ensured to all children in this village. Previously, the children were forced to work in agriculture, forestry and domestic work. Now the children got full access and opportunity for primary education in this village. (CASE STUDY 1)
Gulpu Machva is a Munda tribal boy studying in Lupundi Education center. He is a bonded child locally called " dungar". His father is a chronic alcoholic. He gets Rs.100 per year from the owner of the cows. Gulpu has to feed the cow and take them from grazing. He works from 8 in the morning to 6 in the evening. He has to trek 10-12 kms everyday in this process. If the cattle grazes others crops, he will be taken to task and many a times he was beaten up . Even in pinching cold, his body is barely covered.
There was lot of resistance when he had intention of joining the education center. But with the intervention of the panchayat members, the owner was disuaded from discouraging Gulpu from joining the center.
He says , " I did not get opportunity to play and relax. This center is providing me sense of happiness and togetherness with my fellow classmates. I have learnt the letters of Hindi and now I know to count as well. It is fulfilling my dream of getting education." (CASE STUDY 2)