The Forest Way

Partner From

The organization’s vision, mission, and strategy

For this year, our vision was to start working directly with the government schools at the primary and middle levels collaborating with teachers, especially helping them with English, craft activities, educational aids, and games that we used in our learning groups—also making meaningful designs to support learning in their language used by Narikuravars, and collaborating with the Block Resource Centres to provide better transport facilities for the students. 

One strategy has been to motivate the parents of the Narikuravar children as co-partners in their learning and they get more opportunities to learn and to upgrade their learning. Identifying that the Kendriya Vidyalaya is more suitable for Narikuravar which has Hindi as a base. Breaking the complex concepts into very simple easily reachable outcomes using local materials which are accessible, has been documented and tried out.


Aims, methods and location

The location of this project is in Thiruvannamalai, a semi-rural place. The supportive classes are held inside a community of about 100 families belonging to a marginalized community (Narikuravars and Irulars).

Language enhancement, improving reading skills in a cultural context, making students take ownership of their learning by making materials themselves. Creating modules and themes according to methodologies after studying and documenting the ways that Narikuravar children work and the ways Irular children work according to their cultures. Trying out these methods in the government schools by introducing them to the teachers to see how it works. Creating spaces of continuous care through environmental education, physical education, and craft education both for the community and the children.

We have taken up this project to research and document strategies that will lead to better educational growth in academics and motivation, which is meaningful and can and will be constantly tried out in government schools. The feedback can result in changes in government schools’ approach to curriculum and implementation at the block, district as well as in policy levels. It can also be further replicated in other similar educational endeavors that work with marginalized communities.

We have approached this by first building a solid relationship and understanding of daily routine, needs, and goals in the cultural context of Narikuravars and Irulars.

To bridge the gaps in learning that exist in the present education system due to a lack of input in the way literacy is approached by providing supportive classes. Collaboratively working with the schools with ways of reducing dropouts. Including local Narikuravar and Irular adults as facilitators for formal learning and training. Training the teachers who are holding the supportive classes and designing curriculum based on action research, coordinating programs with both the government teachers and the facilitators, regular environmental education to build better community responsibility, and finding innovative methods of approach to learning in everyday classes to reduce the gaps.

Everyday interventions have been recorded in the last year which is the basis for deciding the curriculum for the next year.


  • With proper approach to language in both English and Tamil using simple aids has resulted in a better literary curve for children who had interventions continuously. 
  • Supplementary reading materials that aim at thematic learning such as e.g., colors, kitchen have helped in English language learning.
  • Educational games have been very vital in bringing both literary and numeracy skills. Narikuravars and Irular children learn better through educational games and songs.
  • Creating materials through workshops in maths, language, social science, and sciences have helped the facilitators.
  • We have realized that very detailed documentation leads to better implementation and planning contributing to research.
  • Strengthening community relationships is very important for educational goals in marginalized communities.
  • Regular (Weekly) dialogues with government teachers, HMs, and the Block Resource Centre team have helped.
  • Craft and physical education must be held compulsorily in schools to motivate children.
  • Using pedagogically sound workbooks with solid methodologies supplements learning.
  • Making children co-partners with teachers and including children in decision-making for their educational growth is very vital leading to better inclusiveness and responsibility.
  • We have had students who have improved to such an extent that the government teachers have acknowledged their growth in the classes and not only that they can motivate other students in their class spaces in government schools who are struggling.
  • The Regular Saturday environmental program has helped Irular children come in touch with their inherent knowledge of trees and shrubs and their approach towards care for the same.
  • The joy of learning can be seen on the children’s faces when they make their educational materials from the beginning till the end, being the co-partners in their educational process. 
  • It is important that the children make their kits and then use them rather than using ready-made kits.
  • Cultural and anthropological studies of Narikuravar communities have helped the project to strengthen their unique style of learning that is social and kinaesthetic. It has been important to acknowledge this for better integration in formal settings in schools.
  • Taking supportive classes for English and Social Sciences along with government teachers at the school has proven successful.
  • We learned about different collaborative possibilities with NGOs sharing similar objectives after attending the Wipro Partner Forum conference.


  • Getting permission to conduct workshops within government schools after COVID-19 has been difficult.
  • Acceptance from the community in areas where they will not get any monetary benefit, but only educational benefits was hard work.
  • Maintaining physical space that the community does not misuse took quite some time to establish.
  • A few Government teachers who are very responsive and open to our approach have not taken the initiative to understand the marginalized communities.
  • The Government teachers and HMs are controlled majorly by the DEOs and CEOs for constantly giving reports and have not had time or space to try these approaches continuously.
  • We have had difficulties organizing workshops outside the govt school space as teachers have to get permission from CEOs. We had to give letters directly to DEOs.
  • Multi-cultural, multi-level handling of students has required better planning and documentation and sometimes there has been a gap in rigorous documentation.
  • Even when teachers and facilitators see an experience that educational games and methods through activities are the only ways marginalized children can learn, they often fall back to making the children write in rote. This comes in the way of achieving our targets.
  • After teachers go through planning and training every week with the resource teachers and implement their learnings, they are not fully able to remember the steps.
  • Narikuravars being a trading community was giving more importance to money and child marriages.
  • Irregular communities being second-generation learners have not had enough exposure to better educational interventions that help them develop educational skills. Our project is their first experience in developing their skills.
  • Social integration in schools.

Plan for the next 1-3 years

  • We would like to strengthen our approach by explaining to the collector how important it is to be co-partners in creating a different Balwadi that approaches early childhood (Kindergarten and Preschool) literacy.
  • Sensitising and widening the relationship with the two government schools we work with and the DEOs and CEOs.
  • Only the collector can give orders for admission in Kendriya Vidyalaya for marginalized communities. Therefore, we need regular follow up with the Collector and HMs for better enrolment.
  • To create educational kits that can be handed over to the govt. teachers with proper training.
  • To conduct workshops for the govt teachers within their schools.
  • To take up English, craft, and social sciences as subjects to try our methodologies.
  • To regularly have exhibitions and presentations of the work done by the Narikuravars and Irulars in their schools.
  • To jointly share success stories of the initiatives taken by government teachers as well as facilitators of how gaps of learning have been reduced in educational magazines and articles submitting our work next year to the Joint Director of Tamil Nadu 
  • More time in providing educational training for facilitators, teachers from the community, and students.
  • Attending Wipro’s partner forum’s programs around language enhancement.
  • Hiring human resources for documentation separately and taking inputs from Wipro to improve documentation.