The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gift of healthy living on R-Day
- DAV school students, teachers open first toilet for near-extinct Birhors

Dhanbad, Jan. 27: For the teachers and alumni of DAV Public School, Koylanagar, the 60th Republic Day on Monday was special: they paved the way for a new beginning for the near-extinct Birhor tribe of Topchanchi by providing them their first sanitary toilet.

The move is part of a programme initiated by Sam-vedna, a unit of the school created for the uplift of the Birhor tribe, and aims to prevent loss of life in the remote Chalkari village due to unhygienic living conditions that often lead to water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea.

Vector-borne diseases such as malaria are also common because of water-logging.

Warm clothes, stationery and sports items were also distributed among the residents of Chalkari. This apart, two transistor radios were provided to students so that they could connect with the outside world.

Principal K.C. Srivastava also promised to arrange for at least one solar lamp for the village that has no electricity.

He said students of his school would do their bit to help educate children of Birhors.

Manish Yadav, who is a member of Samvedna and is currently studying lin-guistics at Banaras Hindu University, said: “We constituted the group in 2006 with the aim of carry out a study project of the Birhor population. Later, we expanded our activities to other areas such as education and hygiene.”

The unit — a group of three teachers and five ex-students — has also made a 30-minute documentary on the life and culture of the Birhor community called Samvedna — a journey from idealism to tribalism.

The documentary was screened at several places including Birsa Institute of Technology, Sindri.

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