Friends of Tribals Society (FTS) was established on January 15, 1989. It is registered as a Society under West Bengal Registration of Societies Act, 1961. Its registration number is S/62039 dated 06.06.1989. FTS is a non-profit organisation having its headquarters at Kolkata and it is having 36 Chapters in 35 places. The Organisation is dedicated to the upliftment of tribals. FTS runs One Teacher School (OTS) or Ekal Vidyalaya, which imparts non- formal primary education to children between 6 and 14 years of age. An OTS typically comprises of 25 – 30 children of classes I to III. The duration of the classes is three hours. An Ekal Vidyalaya imparts five-fold educations; primary education, health care education, development education, awareness education and sanskar education. As on March 31, 2020, FTS was running 55301 Ekal Vidyalaya in 17 states. FTS along with other associates were running 100266 OTS in India. All donations to FTS are tax exempted under Section 80G of Income-Tax Act, 1961. FTS is also registered under FCRA and is eligible to receive foreign donations.
- Established on January 15, 1989 under the West Bengal Societies Registration Act of 1961, FTS is a Non – Governmental Organisation started its journey from Kolkata, West Bengal, India. The Organisation is dedicated to the upliftment of tribals.
- FTS runs One Teacher School (OTS) or Ekal Vidyalaya, which imparts non-formal primary education to children between 6 and 14 years of age. OTS is typically comprises of 25 – 30 children of classes I – III. The duration of the classes is about three hours.
- FTS runs more than 50,000 OTS in 34 states and along with other associates are running more than 95,000 OTS in India and Nepal.
- FTS is involved in five – fold education which includes Functional Literacy at Primary Level, Health – Care / Arogya, Rural Development / Gramothan, Empowerment Education / Jagran and Ethics & Value / Sanskar Education.
- A total amount of 20,07,37,191 INR was received as the foreign contribution in the year 2018-19.
- All donations to FTS are tax exempted under segment 80G of Income-Tax Act, 1961.
Friends of Tribals Society (FTS) was conceived out of the idea that the tribal population are much exploited due to their lack or no access to education. But there was difficulty in implementing the idea due to the location of the schools. Establishing schools in the towns would not have solved the problem. The tribal children, who mostly reside in remote villages, would not be able to access schools in distant towns. On the other hand, opening up schools in rural areas would have lead to different kind of challenges, like getting teachers with the right educational qualifications.
Inspired by Vivekananda’s enlightening philosophy that if a child cannot go to school, the school should go to the child, Ekal Vidyalaya took shape to embody one village – one school – one teacher concept. To resolve the issue of getting the right teaching staff in the rural areas, Ekal Vidyalaya also decided that a Class 10 pass–out youth of the village would be appointed as the teacher after undergoing through a vigorous training programme by FTS. Finally, on January 15, 1989, FTS was formed by some like-minded people. The Organisation started to raise assets for intensifying the work and with the endorsement of all, the name of our Organisation was christened as “Friends of Tribals Society.”In the underlying years, FTS has been instrumental to generate help for various ventures of Odisha, which included Medical Centres, Hostel Buildings, Mobile Medical Vans, Motor Cycles, Training focuses and a Hanuman Temple at Baliguda. As on date, Friends of Tribals Society has 34 chapters.