Started in 1985, the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Narainpur, along with its 6 Service Centers inside Abujhmarh jungle villages of Chhattisgarh State, has been serving the tribal brothers and sisters of the area who had been the mute victims of several centuries of oppression and utter neglect.
Aujhmarh has a tribal population of about 34,000 inhabiting some 233 far-flung villages over a sprawling area of 4000 sq.km. It is described as a "tangled knot of hills" having an inaccessible terrain that remains absolutely cut off from the rest of the civilized world for about 6 months a year even to this day.
Narainpur is the gateway to Abujhmarh Hills in Chhattisgarh. A 'marh' (Highlands) which is 'abujh' (unknown) is Abujhmarh. True to its name, it still continues to be rather unknown and unsurveyed area. Surrounded on all sides by a chain of hills and dense forests, this vast tract of land stretching into some 4,000 Sq. Km. is home to perhaps the most primitive tribes still surviving, and is sparsely populated. The 'hill Marias' - the Marias living in the hills - happen to be the most predominant inhabitants of this vast area, backward and disadvantaged in may ways. The 'hill Marias' live in an inaccessible geographical terrain that remains cut-off from the rest of the world during the rainy season. Because of their extreme geographical isolation for long, the Hill Marias have very primitive economy, their mainstay being the slash- and-burn cultivation practiced on the steep hill slopes. They also collect forest produce like Chironji, Tamarind, Resin, Cocoons, Sinhadi leafs, Mahua, Salseeds, Tendu Patta, Lac etc.
They make brooms of Fulbahari grass, some bamboo articles, and rope from grass. Parts of their dietary needs are met from the crops they grow but they have to depend solely on the outside world for their meager necessities of existence like salt, chillies, tobacco, and clothes. Literacy is very low and ill-health stalks the land with malnutrition, anemia and diseases like malaria, lung infections including T.B, skin diseases. The rate of infant rtality is quite high. Apart from being disadvantaged by extremely poor communication and few sources of income, they are economically exploited by various agencies. The tribal areas are thus beset with problems; low productivity, dispersal habitations, shifting cultivation, wanton destruction of forests, isolation and inaccessibility, weak co-operative and marketing infrastructure, rampant and never-ending land grab by outsiders leading to dispossession and systematic exploitation by vested interest are some of the common features which characterize the tribal area.
No doubt it is an uphill task to uplift the tribal in India with proper care and education so as to unite them with the main stream of our national life; but it must be done, if India is to take her rightful place in the comity of nations. Swami Vivekananda called upon his countrymen to do something for the tribal and aborigines. He said with great feeling and pathos," I consider that the great national sin is the neglect of the masses… They have been compelled to be merely hewers of wood and drawers of water for centuries, so much so they are made to believe that they are born slaves" With a view to undoing the injustices our tribal brethren continue to be subjected to, consciously or unconsciously, the Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Narainpur, has undertaken “Tribal Welfare Services”. Ever since its inception in 1985 it has been serving the needy and backward tribal of the region (Primitive Tribal Group PTGs) in a spirit of Service of God in Man, without any distinctions of caste, creed, color, sex or religion. As Swamiji understood long ago, “All the wealth of the world cannot help one little Indian village if the people are not taught to help themselves”. We try to motivate the target group to develop their self-confidence, innate qualities in a natural way by providing them the required conditions to do so, strictly in accordance with the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, without disturbing their innate tribal culture, to fight against poverty, ignorance, ill-health, and economic exploitation. With the support of State/Central Government, Charitable trusts and well wishers we have been able to render the following services to the area during the last 24 years.