Climate change deprives Northeast kids of education
Climate Change Deprives Northeast Kids of Education. Thousands of families in North East India’s state of Assam are being forced to take their daughters out of school, and are asking them to take up jobs as daily wage labours or to work in the household to supplement the families income, as adverse impacts of climate change such as unpredictable flood and drought have destroyed thousands of hectars of agricultural land of once prosperous farmers.
Guwahati, India: Thousands of families in North East India’s state of Assam are being forced to take their daughters out of school, and are asking them to take up jobs as daily wage labours or to work in the household to supplement the families income, as adverse impacts of climate change such as unpredictable flood and drought have destroyed thousands of hectars of agricultural land of once prosperous farmers.
The families in the affected areas being part of a patriarchal society, have asked their daughters to drop out of school and to help supplement the families income.
A recent study by a Assam based research based organization, Centre for Environment, Social and Policy Research (CESPR) has found that marginalized households and those living in rural areas in the state are prone to the impacts of climate change and it was also seen that the effects of climate change have already stated gripping the marginalized women folk.
The findings from the research also points out that in some areas the adverse effects of climate change has also pushed many women belonging to once prosperous families to take up work as domestic help and daily wage labourers.
“In several areas in the state, the income of families who are solely dependent on agriculture for their livelihood has declined several folds as with climate change there has been a change in the rainfall pattern and also there has been a decrease in the average rainfall. There has been a rise in the frequency of drought like situation in the state which is also affecting the economic conditions of the farmers in the state,” said Sabita Devi, co-convenor and senior researcher of CESPR.
As a result of the decline in the income, the women folk who were basically home makers, now have started to work to supplement the families income and in many places they have even started working as daily wage labourers.
“In hundreds of households women are now compelled to take up weaving, daily wage labour and other related activities to make ends meet, and in many areas, women of the households are also taking up fishing to make up for lost agricultural produce,” added Devi.
The findings from the CESPR’s research work further brings out that this is affecting the education of the girl child to a great extent, as once the mother decides to go out in search of work, the responsibility of the house usually rests on the girl child and she is asked to leave school.
In Tami-herua village in the Morigaon district of the state, which is one of the severely affected districts, thousands of school going girls have been forced to drop out of school, and are now either working in the house doing household chorus, or have taken up work as daily wage labours.
Rupali Bordoloi, a 14 year old girl from the Tami-herua village in Morigaon has been among the victims, and since last year she has quit school and is working in her home doing the homemaking.
“Last year my parents asked me to quit school and to help in the household chorus, and since then I have not been to school. Now I do the household work while my mother goes out for work,” said the 14 year old Rupali.
Her 42 year old father, Dipti Bordoloi is however unmoved.
“There were no other options for us, and the unpredictable weather over the years has completely shattered us. We are basically a farmer family but due to the unpredictable climate we have been constantly into losses for several years, and now a days in the flood season the river water destroys our home and washes away everything,” said Bordoloi.
The shattered Bordoloi added that he might also consider sending his daughter to a nearby town to find some work in some household so that she will be able to earn money and look after herself.
The Bordoloi family is not the only one.
Sumir Manta (45), a farmer from the nearby Gabhura-tup village has also recently taken a decision to discontinue his daughter’s schooling, and has asked his 16 year old daughter, Purnima Manta to stop going to school.
“I have asked my daughter to stop going to school and to do the household chorus so that her mother can go out in search of work,” said Manta.
Sosinanda Bordoloi, a social activist and researcher associated with the non profit organization, Women Development Centre pointed out that such issues have become a regular phenomenon in the district, and also added that adverse impacts of climate change has shattered thousands of families who are basically farmers.
“During our study we came across hundreds of such instances in several other parts of the state, and in several flood affected areas the situation is far more serious,” said Devi.
The study also points out that disruption of communication for prolonged period of time as a result of excessive floods broods ill more for girls who are often forced to drop out of schools and colleges.
The author has received a travel support under the HICAP media grant.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of our organisation.