Digital India: Tribal women line up for second-hand slippers

Digital India: Tribal women line up for second-hand slippers

Asim Kumar Pramanik

KHAIRAGACHHI (Murshidabad), 10 DEC: A tribal woman stands barefoot in a queue with the hope of getting a pair of second-hand slippers while her daughter in the same line wants to have a shirt or some winter clothes disposed of by someone else. These were bits and pieces of a scenario around a charity fair with display of foot-wears, saris, sweaters, jackets, shirts and other garments –all second-hand –offered to needy people of Khairagachhi, a tribal village in Murshidabad district which is apparently struggling to catch up with the Digital India.

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Hundreds of residents including children, men and women belonging to the tribal hamlet were happy to get their coveted items. And there were many who were not lucky enough to get what they exactly needed.  

It was a concept fair organized by ELST (Ei Lovinu Sango Tabo) Foundation which is a voluntary organization working in Bengal since 2017. The organisers make door-to-door collection of old and used items like saris, shirts, foot-wears, blankets etc., display the items at a select location and invites the poor and needy people to come the fair and freely pick up what they require. “The things, though second-hand, are still in good condition”, said Prasun Biswas, president of ELST Foundation.

“People here (Khairagachhi) have requirements. There was rush of people who attended the fair spontaneously. We are indebted to the beneficiaries because they accepted our help”, Biswas said.

Sanchita Soren, a class-IX dropout, had to quit school due to poverty. She said, “I could not continue my study as my father died three years back.” Her mother, Suki Soren is a disable woman who cannot speak. “I have no slipper. So, I shall take slippers”, the dumb woman hinted with her body language.

Sandip Das is an 11 year-old boy of the locality. He drives a three-wheeler (Toto) to support his family. “I earn Rs. 300 to 400 daily. So, I don’t need help of this kind”, said Sandip who studies in class-V. It’s hard to guess if this self-employed child labour would be able to continue his study.

The charity fair was held at Khairagachhi Primary School at Nabagram block last Sunday. Established in 1962, the school’s roll-strength has come down to 63 this year. The students are required to sit on broken and caved-in floors of the crumbling and snake-infested buildings, said Debabrata Roy, the Headmaster of the school. “Repeated appeals for renovation of the buildings have fallen on deaf ears. The only financial grant that the tribal school received this year was Rs. 1650 for the purpose of sanitizing class-rooms and school premises”, the Headmaster alleged.

It was found during a visit to Khairagachhi that a plot of land soiled by open defecation is not a rare sight at this tribal village.

Tags: #Khairagachhi #Murshidabad #TribalWomanLineUpforSlippers #ELST 

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