Dropout to Dream Student
– Shakthivel and his family live in the Parumpair Kandikai tribal community and are part of the lowest caste in India known as ‘Untouchables.’ As part of this caste, Shakthivel and his family are shunned from society, looked down on by other castes and denied any form of welfare.
Because ‘Untouchables’ are denied any form of welfare, the water and sanitation coverage in Shakthivel’s community was virtually non-existent. Shakthivel and the rest of the community all practised open defecation. Shakthivel contracted diseases so frequently that he was often unable to go to school. When he was in sixth grade, he suffered so intensely from malaria and diarrhoea that he was forced to drop out of school completely and missed out on an entire year.
The only way out of the lowest caste in Indian society for Shakthivel and his family is through education. So, Shakthivel’s absence from school or an entire year presented a threat not only to his education but also his family’s social mobility.
Just a Drop installed public toilets and washing facilities in Shakthivel’s community, which aided him to recover fully, stay healthy and progress on to the tenth grade.
Shakthivel says, “I wasted one year. Now I am free from disease and go to school regularly. I finally have a chance to get a real education.”
Find out more about the project in Shakthivel’s community here.