A Special Initiative - Working with Mushar Community
The Musahars are a Hindu outcast (without any caste). For their growth and development they have been given Scheduled Caste status for political benefits as SCs have reservation in Indian 'reservation system'. The term ‘Musahar’ means ‘rat-eater’, which gives an idea of the people’s status. Widespread poverty amongst Musahars has led them to consume rats as a source of protein. They mostly reside in rural areas, in makeshift huts or in one-room mud houses on land they do not own. They work as agricultural and daily wage labourers or manual scavenging. Despite the Government of India’s introduction of programmes specifically to benefit the backward castes, Musahars continue to lag behind almost all other social groups in India and remain the poorest caste in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. For generations, the Musahars have been deprived of education, healthcare, adequate livelihoods. The Musahars are mainly landless agricultural labourers who are continuously subjected to discriminations and Marginalization.
In its intervention area, SSK Specially focused on this community right from the beginning. During our initial interaction and observation we found that none of the children from their families attain school, the reason is poverty and their status that act as a barrier and hinders their mixing with other community groups and to get mainstream education. The problem required immediate attention as education is always directly related to the socio – economic development of any community. SSK passionately felt for this vulnerable section in the area and decided to work toward education of the children belonging to the Musahars and finally started a special school called Balwadi within the community itself.
At present more than 200 children form Mushar Families are enrolled in this Balwadi centre and are successfully getting education. SSK take care of all the facilities right from the books to dress and other aspect like sport items. Apart from education they are also provided with information regarding WASH. It is a constructive effort to mainstream them and provide them with equal opportunity and their better future.