Area- In the month of November 2002 Nirantar started exploring areas for intervene at the grassroots level. The belt has to be Dalit dominated was the prime concern. Another apprehension was that the region should have basic amenities and should not have been explored by the government and non-government organization. Organising workshops, taking suggestions, collecting information, meeting with people and officials were part of the process.
Lalitpur district of Bundelkhand was suggested by partner organization Vanangana. Nirantar initiated its work in Lalitpur building upon its learning from similar kind of work in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh. Lalitpur was counted among the most backward districts of India.It became critical in the context where women’s literacy rate was as low as 20% in SC/ST areas. The society was divided on the basis of caste. people of lower caste were looked down upon. Dalit women were not allowed to wear slippers in front of people of forward class. Many of them have to carry their slippers on the head.
After initial preparations, it was time to understand the geographical boundaries of Lalitpur. The region was inspected for the very first time in Jan 2001.It repeated in May June also. Gradually field visits became a routine process. To finalise the literacy centre PRA was done in 5 villages and intensive meetings were carried out in other villages.
A Proposal was written to obtain the financial support to draft the literacy and education framework. SSK needed funds to keep its movement viable. In 2002 May Sir Dorabjee Tata Trust supported the initiative and it got momentum.
In October November 2002 literacy centres opened up in 10 selected villages of Mehrauni district. Initially, both Mehrauni and Madawara block were selected but the absence of basic facilities in Madawara led to start the work in Mehrauni. Challenges were no less. Every objective had a journey of its own.