Orissa's Bonda tribals keen to integrate with mainstream society

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Malkangiri (Orissa), May 20 (ANI): The Bonda tribe in Orissa's Malkangiri District is gradually moving towards development, and the credit for this should go to the Central Government's Integrated Tribal Development Agency.

The Bonda tribe resides in several villages in the Khairput, Rasbeda, and Mudulipada Districts, and thanks to better roads and connectivity, constructions of schools and colleges, integration with the social mainstream is becoming a reality.

Over the next three years, the newly constructed educational complex is expected to produce 250 college graduates. Tribal lifestyles are also undergoing a change.

"Here, boys of our age are getting education, and in another two years, they will be done with their education. Our parents are still leading their old lifestyle, but we do not want to be like them after two years," said Bhola Sikka.

"Earlier, we used to eat cow meat, but now we don't. The government is providing training to the boys and girls, and, we hope to bring a change in our lives," he added.

Government officials are strongly focused on promoting education and have undertaken several training programmes.

"We have taken an economic estimate of the Bonda tribe, the educational development of children under the Bonda Development Agency (BDA), and, we have taken training programs like IEC - Information, education and communication," claimed Jagunath Soren, project leader of the Bonda Development Agency.

There are, however, some hiccups in the setting up of an educational system in the district, as some locals feel the government is not providing enough facilities to them.

"Children are going to school and appearing for the exams. The teachers are also coming to the school, but midday meals are not provided. So, children often don't go to schools because they are not getting food," claimed Dambru Sikka.

The Bonda tribe is said to be one of the most primitive of Orissa's 62 tribes. Development is not uniform, as some of the villages' benefit, while others do not.

According to anthropologists, the Bondas are descendents of the Austro-Asiatic tribes, the original inhabitants of Jeypore hills in Orissa. (ANI)

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