November 2019.

For the Irular people in Tamil Nadu poverty is one of the main barriers to education, as due to economic necessity 46% of children drop out of school early to work and support their families, 73% of whom live below the poverty line.  

Assisi Aid Projects, supported by the Navitas Education Trust runs daily evening tuition classes for children aged  six to 15 in 15 tribal hamlets. The classes focus on teaching Tamil, English, maths, and life skills to support children’s progression and enable them to advance. In just two years the classes have significantly enhanced children’s school performance. Many students have shown improvement in their studies of Mathematics, Tamil and English with the average mark in their exams increasing from 35% in 2017 to 60% in 2019. This year 75% of children achieved higher marks than they did before attending the classes, which enabled them to progress to the next grade.

This project has supported Rajesh* from Papanullur Hamlet in Tamil Nadu. Rajesh is in grade four, and attends the tuition sessions to improve his understanding of maths, as he would like to progress to the next grade at the end of the year with his class-mates.

“I’m happy and proud of myself”


Laxmi* from Papanallur Hamlet attends classes in English, maths, and Tamil, which have developed her skills and confidence.  She can now read simple words in English and Tamil, saying that, “I’m happy and proud of myself.”  Supporting children to achieve the required standard to progress in their schooling develops their confidence and encourages them to remain in school, as well as providing a safe space for learning.

Many children are first generation learners, and 40% of adults are illiterate, so supporting children to remain in education breaks a cycle of intergenerational illiteracy, which will enable them to access better jobs and lift themselves out of poverty.

*names changed to protect Rajesh and Laxmi's identity