Being an Irula child { 20 images } Created 17 Sep 2018

How does childhood look like for a child born in an Irula family? The Irulas are indigenous tribe living in forests, with many settled in pockets across rural Tamilandu. Every Irula hamlet is unique and has its own culture. Some still depend on forests for their daily food and livelihood, while others have moved onto daily wage jobs in construction sites or farms. What is common across the Irulas is their extreme poverty and loss of foothold on their traditional livelihoods. Children growing up in this context learn the traditional Irula ways from their parents, whether it is foraging for edible plants and roots from the forests or catching rats, hunting for small animals or learning about their culture. On the other hand they also lead highly impoverished lives with very limited access to meagre resources. Most children do not even own toys. While many are enrolled in schools, the dropout rate is extremely high. Parents are unable to help their children in their learning as they themselves are not literate nor have the means to get their children tutored. With poor learning outcomes, most children end up in the same poverty cycle that their parents are trying break free from.
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