Saturday, January 24, 2009

Planting a "SEED" for the Developed Tomorrow

The SEED for Rural Transformation

IIT Roorkee has been the pilot for the implementation of SEED project sponsored PAN IIT alumni association. SEED stands for "Stimulating Education and Enhancing Development" . The main aims of the project are :

  • Providing better education for the underpreviliged and poor children.
  • Creating new jobs and providing a living by production of value based products.
  • Basic education for adults and children and Social Awareness.
As a part of the project NSS has adopted 3 villages near the campus namely Khanjarpur , Kaliyar and Teliwala.

Work at Khanjarpur:

Khanjarpur village is situated in the immediate surroundings of IIT Roorkee. Many of the class D workers and rickshaw pullers working in campus reside there. The general perception of the people here is that education is meant just to get job and people with shops and domestic business don’t lay stress over education.Our basic aim at Khanjarpur is to not only help the students to get a better education, but also to change their perception about education ,so that they can survive in the competitive world.
NSS volunteers visit the government primary school in Khanjarpur every Monday to Saturday in the evenings. This helps the students to have a better understanding of the subject and develop strong concepts.Many secondary and senior secondary school students of the village come to study in the “Prerna” classes held by NSS in campus itself daily from 6-7.
Some people in the village are employed in small posts but many do not have any regular source of income. NSS has taken an initiative to create employment opportunities in the rural households. Women and other non working members of the family are encouraged to help NSS in making paper bags out of newspapers collected from campus community.This gives employment to the people and also contributes to the mission of " Polythene-Free Campus"
An Anti-Smoking skit was held whose main aim was to aware the people about the harmful effects of smoking and the diseases which are associated with it. Door to door awareness programs are organized against alcohol and smoking.

Work at Teliwala:

The village is situated beside the Railway station a few kilometers away. It takes around half an hour to reach there from IIT Campus. The village is in a poor state in all respects with a majority of population illiterate. For the development of the village under SEED Project 3 basic field are under target namely Primary Education, Health and Employment.There is no government school in Telliwala. Children go to a primary govt. school in Padli Gujjar village which is adjacent to Telliwala village There is no intermediate college there. There are 3 functionally inactive anganvaris in Teliwala
A group of around 20 students visited the Telliwala & Padli Gujjar villages on weekends to study the condition of village and to spread literacy.More than 200 families were talked with and their problems were learned. Meetings are being held with the village pradhan,school principal and a private medical practitioner to bring up solutions for their problems with the help of NSS.
A health camp was organized by NSS in the Teliwala village in the starting of this semester. Three doctors were called upon to give consultation and free check up was given to all the people of the village attending the camp. General awareness about the various diseases was spread among the people and free soaps were distributed in order to encourage them to maintain their hygiene.
Planning is in progress in order to settle the problem of education in Telliwala & Padli Gujjar and to make them economically strong and sound in terms of health.

Work at Kaliyar:

Kaliyar, a small village near Roorkee, is famous for the Durgah of “Kaliyar Sharif”. People from all around the country come here to pay homage to the reverend “Baba Sharif”. Most of the families here earn their living by begging, their children are forced to beg, rather than attend a school. These people live in the slum areas located near the Mosque and the Durgah.
NSS volunteers went to the residential area and talked to the families and discussed their problems.One major problem that these families face is the lack of funds.Most of the population being Muslims, dont send their girl child to schools or madarsas.Our volunteers also had a survey to learn about the problems of villagers and the school there .
We arranged a volunteer with the help of Pratham, who teaches them daily from 4pm-6pm in the government primary school located in the same village.
Every weekend ,on Saturdays and Sundays, IIT-R students visit the village school to help the children study better.
Now, with the help of the NGO Pratham we are striving to pull out practical solutions possible to better the conditions of the village.

Basic Literacy:

  1. Teaching the needy students: We plan to carry on with the activities which are currently being conducted by NSS IIT Roorkee, viz. providing education to the children of the needy administrative staff who are unable to get quality education; teaching students of the villages on the weekends by visiting their places.
  2. Adoption of villages: We have already adopted two villages, Khanjarpur and Teliwala and we plan to adopt more in the future in order to uplift the status of people living there.
  3. Computer Lab: We plan to set up a Computer Lab at IIT Roorkee with the help of staff of the college in order to make the students coming to us during Prerna, computer literate.
  4. Multi-Skill Training: With the association of Vigyan Ashram directed by Mr. Ashok Kalbag, we studied ‘Work based’ education model for ‘In school’ and ‘Out of school’ youth to bring out radical changes in the existing methods of teaching and assessment. This is not vocational training but is more powerful than that. We plan to do more research in this concept and related concepts to evaluate its effectiveness in fostering education and development amongst both children & adults.
  5. Awareness: We plan to spread awareness among the village people about the importance of education in their lives in order to motivate them to send their children to schools.

Employment Generation:
  1. E-Choupal: We are coordinating with ITC to provide a better platform for farmers to sell their goods by bringing the e-Choupal project to Roorkee. Increasing the awareness of farmers and telling them about the e-Choupal and its benefits will be the primary aim of this project.
  2. Paper Bags: NSS has started making the use of wastepaper collected from the students of IIT Roorkee in making the paper bags.The paper bags are made by the women in the Khanjarpur village who earn about Rs. 40 per day.We also are working towards introducing this into the Roorkee markets also apart from the "Polythene-free campus" project so as to provide a means of living to the people.
Health and Social Awareness:
  1. Health Check-up Camp: We are planning to conduct a Health Check-up Camp in coordination with Himalayan Institute Hospital, Dehradun in which we would hire a community hall in the village Teliwala for one complete day and would provide free check-up and consultation to the people of all the nearby villages. We would also provide free medicines to the people who are in real need and are not able to afford them.
  2. Health Awareness: We plan to spread awareness about the various diseases and promote better hygiene among the people. This task would be achieved by conducting skits, plays and door-to-door talks with the people of the villages. We would conduct this activity with the help of students of NSS, IIT Roorkee and taking technical help from the Centre of Environmental Engineering, IIT Roorkee.

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