|The takars at a clean-up drive near Bagchung in Jorhat on the last day of the re-orientation meet. Telegraph picture
Jorhat, Sept. 16: Ninety Mising school dropouts-turned-takars (stars) will soon travel across Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to bring back those who have strayed.
The Institution for Culture and Rural Development (I-CARD) at Bagchung here has been training Mising dropouts for more than a decade to return to their villages and teaching them skills for self-employment. It seeks to ensure that children of their community do not become dropouts.
Fr K.A. Thomas said since January 2002, 205 school dropouts had been trained and I-CARD had made an entry into 380 Mising villages, bringing about attitudinal changes and preparing them for a better future. It also aims at keeping the villages clean and seeing to it that the people maintain hygiene.
“I-CARD turns waste into jewels. Youngsters whose lives were wasted in villages are picked up by I-CARD, polished over two years of training, and transformed into precious jewels. Through I-CARD, school dropouts become agents of social change who weave dreams in the hearts of the otherwise tepid village folk. Frustrated and discouraged young people from these villages have been instilled with pride and self-confidence to be social motivators,” he said.
In the recent six-day Lekop Sil Mel (meaning ‘together today and yesterday’ in Mising), a reunion and re-orientation of past and present takars at the Life Plus campus of I-CARD, the theme centred around “recap, refill, resolve” for the students of the empowerment centre named Karsang Takar (rising stars).
“The takars have planned a monthlong rally across Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to boost the spirits of some of their peers and to prod them to engage in community development activities,” Fr Thomas said.
In order to gain self-employment, girls are trained in weaving and tailoring while the boys are taught welding and other crafts.
“Many of them have become busy in their own lives, earning a good livelihood and are no longer bothered to come and attend the reorientation meets held twice a year. This will not do. We want them to be socially committed to uplift their community in every way possible. They can also discuss their problems with us and find solutions,” he added.
The rally will culminate on December 20, the next meeting of takars, to prepare for Jorhat’s own annual tourism festival, called Ethnique, organised by I-CARD, scheduled for January 3,4 and 5 next year.
“They will also have 11 regional Lekop Sil Mel meetings of TakarNet groups, after which each group will engage in social work in five schools of the neighbourhood. This will happen three times a year under the direction of Dam Payeng,” Fr Thomas said.
“We have accepted the fact that I-CARD is still in its infancy and the realisation is still a dream — but a realistic dream. Individuals are already beginning to make a mark on society as well in their own families and villages. All those I-CARD trainees are equipped with skills, knowledge and financial security,” he added.