India is still home to several tribal people who are not introduced to the lifestyle of the modern world. Such a population lies in the North Dinajpur region of North Bengal. They are known as the ‘Adivasi’ community and belong to the section of the poorest in the country.
The economy is predominantly rural, with the members still dependent on nature to a great extent through agriculture, hunting, fishing etc. In the present-day context, they try to engage themselves in informal activities for their survival, since they face many problems to sustain their livelihood. There are generally industrially backward districts here, though North Dinajpur does have a few industries and many small-scale units.
The households within these tribes consist of five members on an average. The women are typically engaged in the small businesses their husbands run which include small tea shops, grocery stores, bidi making enterprises etc. The average household sees earnings not more than $88-$94 every month. Children go to school in nearby government schools for which they travel long distances. Due to financial constraints or the pressure of domestic chores, a lot of these students drop out. Erratic electricity supply is another problem, but several of these households have turned towards solar lanterns. The roads and other infrastructure remain under-developed. Women here still give birth at home. Regardless of all these problems, this community remains vibrant and has a strong sense of brotherhood.
Milaap, through its field partner SMGBK, has decided to help 100 women from these tribal achieve an improved position in the economy, by raising funds for them to develop their enterprise.