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Education Challenges

The cost-of-living crisis is biting hard in 2023 but you are still finding it in your hearts to help our efforts to give wild tigers a wild future, so thank you for your continuing amazing support. This year we introduced forest safety education into our project programme as we try to reduce the increasing number of deaths and injuries due to human-wildlife conflict. We also expanded our programme to include the provision of desks and seating in the remote schools thanks to granny=t and corporate funding we received earlier this year. Education packs for the poorest children living with wild tigers are still a priority but fundraising for education projects in the second half of 2023 has been a real challenge.

Our latest initiative, Forest Safety Education, is bringing together our projects to reduce human-wildlife conflict, our anti-poaching patrols and our education projects in an innovative way which we’ve not previously tried. The overall objective is to ensure that wild tigers have a wild future living harmoniously alongside the people whose ancestors have been guardians of the forest in the centuries which have gone by. Once, not so long ago, 100,000 wild tigers roamed the earth living alongside people with both giving the other space to thrive. Now there are only 4500 wild tigers but many more humans and far less space for the wildlife.

If humans and wild animals can’t live alongside each other in harmony, then the future for wild tigers will be very bleak. This is why we have continued to prioritise forest safety education since our last project update. We urgently need address the increase in human-wildlife conflict which is threatening to undermine the successes we have had to date in boosting wild tiger numbers!

We haven’t forgotten about the children living with wild tigers who have the potential to become the next generation of wild tiger protectors, and we plan to help them again in 2024. In the last year, we helped 820 children living with wild tigers to gain access to education, but with our latest initiative we will be helping them to ensure wildlife safety too. In the last four months, donations we have struggled to raise donations from our individual supporters, so we have recently increased our reliance on corporate donations for our education project. We know that times are hard for many people right now and we know that your generosity is truly amazing in our times of need too. I wouldn’t be able to achieve what we have done so far without your kind donations, so thank you for helping us to achieve our goals.

Educating the Villages

In our last report, we told you how we wanted to deliver our safety education messages and banners to the 105 villages around Bandhavgarh. A mammoth task in itself. We put out a call for volunteers based in or near to Bandhavgarh to help us spread the word, but unfortunately nobody came forward. We did have a few offers from our International Supporters but sadly there were logistical and language barriers which we were unable to overcome. As a result, delivering the safety education messages to 105 villages is taking some time as our small team in India distribute the safety information alongside our anti-poaching patrols. With local knowledge and expertise, they are able to overcome the literacy and language barriers they face. To date our safety education talks and banners have been successfully delivered in 45 villages. Sadly, it came too late for two villages where local farmers took their cattle into the forest to graze and lost their own lives when they challenged the wild tigers who attacked their herds.

Another 60 villages still need our safety education brief and banners, and this will be difficult to achieve before the end of this year. Difficult doesn’t mean impossible though, despite the remote nature of some of these villages our team is working flat out to deliver the brief. Our banners deliver the safety message in pictures so that those in the villages who are unable to read and write can still benefit from our help. We hope for these people our pictures speak louder than words, so fewer wild tigers will be captured and imprisoned in zoos when the angry villagers want retaliation for the killing of one of their own. In the last week two male tigers lost their freedom when the forest department captured them and transferred them to Van Vivar after they were implicated in the killing of 4 villagers earlier this year. Wild tigers never adapt well to life in a zoo so we will continue to fight against such action for other wild tigers which come into conflict with humans.

The biggest threats to life for wildlife and humans in Bandhavgarh still come from four main species: Tigers, Elephants, Snakes and Leopards. Although only killings by wild tigers seem to stimulate outrage on a global scale.

We hope to help in other areas too

Human-wildlife conflict is a growing problem in tiger territories all over India, so we hope that we can help in areas beyond Bandhavgarh too. Reproducing these forest safety education resources elsewhere shouldn’t be as difficult as doing it for the first time, however, funding the production and distribution of them will be a much bigger challenge! For now, we hope to reduce the loss of life both human and wildlife in Bandhavgarh by ensuring that everyone in the 105 villages has access to the forest safety education delivered by Tigers4ever.

Nonetheless if elephants, leopards, snakes and wild tigers, are to have long term futures in Bandhavgarh, it is essential that the human and wildlife communities can live together in harmony.

Traditional Educational Resources

As I mentioned above, we are not turning our backs on the poorest children living in the villages around Bandhavgarh. We will continue to raise funds to ensure that these children can go to school and become future protectors of wild tigers. We just feel that with more tigers and more elephants living in and around Bandhavgarh the risk of retaliatory attacks on wildlife is too high! By ensuring the people know how to protect themselves and keep wildlife safe, we hope that such attacks will reduce.

It would be wonderful to know that you have helped us to keep thousands of wild animals safe thanks to our latest education projects, would it not?

If you wish to help us provide banners for safety education training and issue a donation of £14 (US$18) will help us to provide them at one location.

The Record so Far

We have helped 3135 children living with wild tigers in 32 villages gain access to education, so we still have some way to go. Sadly, there are still thousands more children who desperately need your help! We want to deliver this valuable project across as many villages as possible and to help all the children who otherwise wouldn’t have chance to go to school. In order to do this, we need your help to raise funds for many more education packs and forest safety resources. If you’re able to help us do this, please donate now, even the smallest donation can have a big impact in the lives of these children and their families.

For every £1400 (US$1800) we raise, we aim to send 450 children living with wild tigers to school. We will continue to distribute all education packs in the hardest hit villages and will try to raise further funds so that we can also help the pop-up schools again when these resume.

If you are able to help us help more children to have an education and become tiger protectors rather than foragers, please consider a new monthly donation as it’s never too late to make a difference.

Long Term Impact – Help is Still Needed

Our experience has shown us over the last 13.5 years, that without education, the prospects for the poorest children will be limited to picking tendu leaves, mahua flowers, amla fruit, from the forest to sell. Others will chop down trees and clear precious forest habitat to create more land for agriculture. Children from the poorest families still have no access to online learning facilities, as they live without electricity or access to technology. Support our education project here.

Your support for our work is amazing. We definitely couldn’t keep wild tigers safe without it. As the world tries to rebuild its lives, we hope that we can provide a brighter future for some of Bandhavgarh’s poorest children. If you can help to support Bandhavgarh’s poorest rural children by starting a new monthly recurring donation from just £5 (US$8) per month, you will make a huge difference for at least 15 children in a year.

In Bandhavgarh, for the thousands of young children with no access to schooling, without computers or mobile phones, without electricity in their homes, a bleak future awaits. These are the children who Tigers4Ever has always tried to help with books and basic writing materials which give them hope. With your help we give them a chance which otherwise they may not have.

You Can Make a Difference Today

We want to ensure that the poorest children get a chance to complete their education. We want to do more but we need your help to provide education packs so children can go to school right now. Your donation of £25 (US$40) can make that happen for at least 5 children.

Remember: when we provide education packs and scholarships for children living with wild tigers we are reducing the risk of future tiger habitat destruction AND ensuring that these children have the opportunity to become future tiger protectors.

I would like to thank you for your generosity and support on behalf of the wild tigers, which we are keeping safe; on behalf of the children who we have helped to get an education (and their families who have food because of this help); and on behalf of the wider tiger community in Bandhavgarh, which benefits from providing books and writing materials for inclusion in the education packs which we distribute; and also the safety education training materials we will be using going forward. Stay Safe.

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