Kuvi is a south-central Dravidian language. Most of the Kuvi people live in the Odisha State. These groups, living in their traditional homelands, are known as ‘Adivasis’. The Kuvi people depend on agriculture and daily wages for their livelihood. They spend a lot of time in the forests, collecting resources to sell in nearby towns and live in small houses made of wood or bamboo. After completing their household chores, the women work in the fields. Since education is not a high priority, the children are expected to help their parents in the fields. Very few of them go to the government school where midday meals are served. The family structure is not very close. The Kuvi people celebrate several festivals to signify different seasons with rituals, singing, dancing and feasting. During the festival, “Chaithi Parab’, people hunt for up to 15 days. The community faces many social issues.
The Kuvi people do not value education. A handful of Kuvi speakers have received training in linguistics and literacy-related subjects. This equipped them to work with linguistic consultants to develop their own orthography, based on the Odiya Script. They then went on to develop materials to teach their own people to read and write Kuvi. The interesting and culturally-relevant materials are based on everyday life in a Kuvi village, with illustrations drawn by Kuvi speakers. Through this approach, the booklets are their own, unique home-grown products. They can take pride in learning to read and write Kuvi through a community-driven and own project. Various primers, a story book, basic mathematics, a spelling guide and alphabet charts are ready for use in the programme. Once a literacy committee has been established, teachers can be trained.
As of January 2020
With literacy materials in hand that have been tested, revised and published, the next step is to equip the community to implement it themselves. The programme is expected to provide those with limited access to education the opportunity to become literate in their heritage language through relevant and engaging materials. This will help to provide a secure foundation for further education. Through this programme, it is expected that there will be multitudinous cognitive, social and economic benefits. The literacy committee will be trained in how to recruit and train mother tongue teachers to teach using emerging best practices, as well as how to monitor and report on the project. Much has been written by linguists and educationalists on the benefit and value of literacy in the mother tongue. When a person’s language is valued, he is valued. This is transformational.