Vanabelaku, a light to future for tribal children

 Vanabelaku, a light to future for tribal children
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Yellapur, Dec 07, 2020: Bhavana an 8th standard students of Nandolli is all excited. While the absence of classroom atmosphere had made her sad all these days, the painting, drawing, handwriting, and singing class on Monday gave a new enthusiasm to her and 19 other children of the village.

The children along with the teacher Bhaskar Naik actively participated in the Vanabelaku program organized by environmentalist and activist Dinesh Holla.

Vanabelaku program with the tagline- Adavi Makkala Srijana Vikasana is a new initiative chalked out for the tribals and forest dwellers.

The bond between Uttara Kannada and Dinesh Holla is over 13 years. Every year Holla and his team come to these forests, organize a two-day camp. They also distribute writing materials to the children here to boost their interest in education.

“This year when I went to Yellapur few months ago, I noticed that many children who usually are very active were silent. It was visible that they were missing the school atmosphere and the activities there. So I decided to come up with a program for them,” Holla told The Canara Post.

It was then when he came up with the concept of ‘Vanabelaku-‘ a program to make children learn through entertainment.

But turning this into a reality was not an easy task as it needed money. Holla had to provide writing and painting materials, pay some honorarium to the resource persons and also some money for the travel and stay. While Holla, who participates in the International Kite festival contributes some money that he gets there to help the forest dwellers and tribal kids, this year due to COVID he could not participate in any events.

Holla’s friend Panambur Vasudeva Aithal, who hails from Dakshina Kannada and is now settled in the United States came to know about this and called Holla volunteering to bear the expenses of the entire program.

“He has a great love towards our place and the tribals and forest dwellers here. Once Vasudeva Aithal assured to help there was no looking back,” he said.
Holla spoke to his friends and experts who could provide their service as the resource persons for the program.

“It is a unique program. City Kids have online learning and such facilities. But what about the children of the tribals and forest dwellers. This program is for them. We make them learn through entertainment,” Holla says.

“It is not a classroom and we do not teach any lesson. It is usually held in the forest or under a tree. We concentrate on teaching these children, from 2nd standard to 9th standard, with those arts which will not only provide the entertainment and educate them but will also help them in their future. For example, we train them with painting, drawing, and handwriting skills. While these entertain them now, in the future they can take these as a profession. We are providing a foundation which they can develop based on their talent and interest,” he added.

Holla and his team provide training for one day in one place. But the training does not end here. He provides training in such a place where the local teacher takes interest in continuing it.

The team concentrates to provide training to Halakki, Siddi, Kudbi, Gonda, and Gauli tribals of the region.

As many as 16 resource persons will provide training in the one-month long program that was started on December 3 and continue till January 3.

Programs are held at Ankola (3 days), Yellapur (10), Mundgod (2), Haliyal (2), and the remaining days at Joida and Dandeli.

The program was a success in Ankola. Now the event is being held at Yellapur Taluk. On Monday it was held at Nandolli of Yellapur Taluk. While children were trained by Holla, their teacher Bhaskar Naik has taken the responsibility of continuing it.

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