Krishna Rabha’s closely knit family of four resides in a village 40 km away from APPITI, Rowta. His father is a daily wage earner while his mother takes care of the household. Living in a small house and within meagre means, their parents had ensured that both Krishna and his elder brother went to school. Their own life experiences had taught them that without proper education, the fate of their children would most likely resemble their own. They never wanted that for Krishna and his brother.
Devika Bora talks about the Rungamuttee Ladies Craft Centre
UNICEF and ETP have come together to launch an initiative with the objective of increasing knowledge, skills and confidence of young people, particularly girls in tea communities; improving their ‘life skills’ and protection within their communities; thereby increasing the options open to them and enabling them to make informed decisions about their future. Namroop tea estate of Amalgamated Plantations was one such garden where this programme was conducted and an adolescent girls club, Muskaan Club, was formed.
Dipak Kalindi’s family migrated from Purulia district in West Bengal four generations ago. Born and brought up on the gardens, he thinks of himself as a ‘local’ in Assam. While Dipak works as an office clerk in Hattigor estate, his passion lies elsewhere. From childhood, he was drawn towards more creative pursuits but with several mouths to feed at home and being an only son, he had to push aside all such desires. Whenever he could spare some time, he would find himself sketching or doodling on a piece of paper.
At the prospect of a better means of livelihood, and consequently, a better life, Ranjit’s grandparents travelled from Orissa to the tea garden in Hatigarh, Assam. Here, they worked in the garden as pluckers, never returning to the place they once called home. His parents were born and raised here on the garden and followed in the same footsteps as the earlier generation. Soon after the children arrived, Ranjit’s mother, Suborno Tanti, retired as a tea-plucker to take care of the family while his father, Bistu Tanti, moved between different jobs on the garden for years.
Ms Rina Mondal, a permanent worker on the Chubwa tea estate, is in her early thirties. Her mother, a tea plucker, was also a permanent worker on the estate. As a young girl, Rina was taught to have fun with colours and design. Under the tutelage of the then Senior Manager, and his wife, Rina had learnt the art of making natural dyes from plants and vegetables to make coloured cloth. This had become her favourite way to pass time when she was not busy with school work.