It is good news that some 150 children from the Dum and Musahar communities are now regularly attending primary level classes at Udayapur’s Ghaighat municipality. The programme has been especially designed for these kids from the Dalit community under the ‘special education programme’ and is run by the municipality with UNICEF support. After receiving the initial training of 10 months, the municipality has developed a system whereby the kids would be automatically enrolled in the nearby schools. This is a simple but truly workable initiative that would go a long way to empower the Dalits, currently reeling under poverty and deprivation. The effort of the locals and officials concerned towards this end is praiseworthy. Others could do well to draw a lesson from this experiment and launch similar projects to help the Dalit children.

There are around 3000 Dums and Musahars living in this municipality alone. Reportedly, not even one of them has a SLC certificate. In reality, the underprivileged populace has still not been able to break the shackles of socio-economic misery. A well-thou-ght-out and well-directed course of action is thus essential to meaningfully assist this group come out of the vicious circle of denial and haplessness. But it is futile to expect all the initiatives to emanate from the government alone. Successful implementation of any policy and programme aimed at supporting the minority groups should involve the locals, civil society and non-governmental sector as well. If efforts are well coordinated, there definitely will be no paucity of foreign aid for such a noble cause.