In a country with twenty-two different spoken languages, Hindi and English are the national languages of communication between India’s ethnically diverse populations. Speaking Hindi and English opens doors to educational and employment opportunities, with both government and private sectors paying premium wages to employees who are bilingual or trilingual speakers.
Although spoken Hindi is becoming pervasive with the advent of Bollywood and Hindi serials on television, Indian children who read and write in Hindi face fewer social barriers compared to those who do not.
IDS is providing hostel students access to Hindi tutoring and assessment exams conducted through Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, an organization with a vision to make Hindi India’s national language and to foster its growth in southern states. (For more information about Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, visit http://www.dbhpscentral.org.)
Our tribal hostel in rural Andhra Pradesh operates in an area where Telugu is generally the only spoken language. Nonetheless, our children were tutored in Hindi, successfully passed the Hindi exam, and were awarded certificates.
Our next goal for the hostel students is to achieve a command of the English language. To accomplish this, we are looking into ways to provide opportunities for the students to use English. One way is to set up communal living arrangements where board members and volunteers from IDS USA visit and live within the hostel community with the children who are learning to speak English. Additionally, IDS donors will develop pen pal relationships with some of the students.